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The Association for Latin Teaching

Newsletter 22: January 2005


Dear Classical Friend,


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2005: The US Year of Languages. 2006 the UK Year?

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A very happy new year to you.


A good idea from over the pond is to designate this as a year for languages. In the UK the press reports that all language teaching is in difficulties, and an initiative like that of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is worth imitating, perhaps in 2006. I give links in my Blog piece: http://arlt.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2005/1/10/236546.html


My friend Brian Bishop, who imitates Socrates in acting like a gadfly, asks why the Classical organisations should not take a stall at next year's London Language Show at Olympia:


"Was Latin represented at the annual London Language Show at Olympia, 5-7 November last? Schools, publishers, computer program vendors, subject associations and many other aspects in which Latin is an issue, were represented by stands and talks small and large.


"In our efforts to encourage Latin, this seems a good venue to attract attention and to see how other organizations promote their languages.


"Perhaps November 2005 will see an A.R.L.T. stand."


I am taking this suggestion seriously - for 2006 rather than 2005 - and shall welcome your thoughts. We shall need to apply for grants, because even the smallest stand costs several hundred pounds, and we shall need high quality stand design and printed materials. I hope that the committees and councils of the various Classical organisations will consider a combined effort, helped perhaps by publishers of Latin and Greek courses.


I do believe that working alongside modern language teachers and organisations would be an advantage, particularly now that we all feel we have our backs to the wall.


>From a US radio programme: What do you call someone who speaks only one language? Answer: An American. (I had thought the answer might well be A Brit.)


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Someone out there must like us

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Our ARLT website proudly states that more than 5,500 visitors came to the site in December. There were in fact 5,572 visits, and 65889 hits. Statistics for the Blog are calculated by page views rather than visitors, and the number for December was 17,539. Top of the pops were the OCR GCSE set texts, followed by making Latin Christmas Cards and then The Ten Most Beautiful Words and pieces on the new Secretary of State for Education.


I don't know whether you were among the Blog visitors, but if you weren't, may I recommend a visit? http://arlt.blogware.com/blog I think I mentioned last time that articles are grouped by topic, so that by clicking on the topic on the left you get everything relevant. A recent discovery of mine is the set of posters for the classroom: http://arlt.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2005/1/10/236725.html. If you have access to a decent colour printer you can download and use excellent posters, free.


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This is Your Life

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I've remarked before about the variety of news and requests that come my way via the website. Here are some that I have been delighted to receive recently:


>From a Brighton school, just the message we always hope for: We are keen to bring Latin into our school and are thinking of a 2 year course at KS4. As numbers are likely to be limited we are wondering if there are any on-line or video conferenced courses out there. We have heard about the Cambridge e-learning project. Would this answer our needs? The ideal would be a self learning course with teacher overview, but we would be interested in any information.


>From a grammar school in Kent: Yes, I am the Head of Department and fighting the usual battles. A level Latin is healthy with currently 9 at AS and 4 at A2; I have to teach them as one group. AS level Class Civ was dropped in 2003-4 but this year my numbers were sufficient to run the course and I have 18 doing their Homer module this afternoon. GCSE has suffered from a variety of things. We intake at year 9 and in the past all year 9 have done Latin either experienced or beginners. Due to staffing problems and fiddling around with languages in general, I now only have beginners (selected by the head) this year totalling 45 students so my customer base has been reduced and the numbers may well fall even further. Those with experience are welcome to join in at GCSE in Year 10 so that may produce some interest. Interested experienced students have a short session every Tuesday lunchtime to keep their Latin ticking over.


>From a prep school French teacher: I am head of French at Saint Francis. It is prep school and Latin is taught in Year 7 and Year 8 to children who express an interest. This year, there are 7 children in Year 7 who started Latin in Year 7. To cut a long story short, I am taking over the Latin teaching from January 2005. And I am started to panic a bit! I did Latin at school... but in French (I am French and came to this country 11 years ago) I started at the age of 13 and took it for my Baccalaureat at the age of 18... more than 13 years ago. The knowledge is all here but so rusty! I have agreed with my headmaster to prepare the children for level 1 of Common Entrance... any help is welcome!


>From a recently arrived teacher: The [school] website is currently having work done on it and I made lots of suggestions about making the Classics pages interactive and lively last September when I arrived at the school. However the school is not as yet ready for my vast ideas about making the website better. My Head of Department is now realising the benefits of ICT and I am working at getting more equipment for our department. Latin and Greek seem to be having a burst this year. I have 10 girls doing Greek GCSE and we have 7 girls doing AS Latin.


>From the USA: I am happy to state that Latin was reintroduced to Leominster in 1987 when I assumed the position of sole Latin teacher. It is currently a four year program and I was very happy to have been allowed to select the text series. We use Cambridge Latin and I am very curious to hear more about the new CLC DVDs. It sounds as though it would do very well in US schools, so I do hope that Cambridge introduces it over here also. Since using Cambridge I've become interested in Fishbourne Palace and King Cogidubnus/Togidubnus.


Also from the USA, with a great kick at the end: C.H.O.F. is a very small parochial school in St. Paul, Minnesota. We are known for our basketball teams, the only true sport we participate in other than Track and Cross Country Running. We also do very well in the Fine Arts. All of the students participate in Speech, Choir, Band. Our Latin program is not the strongest right now, but I am aiming to fix that.


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Peroratio

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Have a wonderful term. Do put in your diary the Refresher Day, Saturday 5th March in St Peter's School, York. Peter Jones is lecturing, as is Emma Stafford, and David West is leading an option group on Horace. There's lots for primary teachers, too, including Barbara Bell. Just check out the riches on offer at /home/arltcouk/public_html/refresher2005.php - and admire the automated count-down. At the moment of writing, the Refresher Day/INSET is 52 days, 10 hours, 41 minutes and 6 seconds away!


Best wishes,


David