The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 4: May 2003

Dear Classical Friend,

This is a long newsletter, because there's a lot to share. Thank you for feedback on the last newsletter; I welcome comments on this one, as well as your teaching resources (see last item).


Since the last ARLT newsletter I've been to the Classical Association centenary meeting in Warwick University, where Chris Stray lectured on the history of CA (he wrote the life of ARLT founder Rouse) and Peter Jones, ARLT honorary Vice-President, gave the Presidential Lecture; and I've taken part in the filming of dramas and docudramas to back up Cambridge Latin Course Book 2. In addition my computer has mouse trouble, so I'm not sure how and when this newsletter will get sent to you. Anyhow, first, a nice 'give-away' map.


Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain

I chanced on the May edition of Living History on the newsstands, and found that it was giving away the OS Roman Britain map. Living History costs £3.25, which means you get the map at about half normal price, with a popular level, nicely produced, magazine thrown in.


Latin Readings online

Tim Hill at the Classical Association meeting described a project designed to put existing and new commentaries on line, making use of the computer's hypertext facility to make it quick and easy to look up vocab and access notes at whatever level the user chooses. It sounds a good idea. Try . The examples there are from Ovid, Catullus, Pliny and Cicero. Would you welcome set texts in a similar format to help your own pupils?


Phoenix at Bristol

I met John Betts at the CA meeting in Warwick, and he told me about his latest venture, Bristol Phoenix Press. You may remember John's previous brainchild, the Bristol Classical Press. After much useful republishing of out-of-print Greek and Latin editions and other books, it was taken over by Duckworth, and continued to publish welcome Classical books, but there was a change in Duckworth management, and just recently reports of real financial trouble at the press.

John's brochure says the new Bristol Phoenix Press 'is prepared to consider new and reprint volumes at any level ... Most of its editions will be in affordable paperback. It will aim to keep all its publications available in print even when the demand is relatively small. Its watchword will be, first and foremost, to serve the subject's needs.

You can contact with your queries or suggestions. I reckon this new effort deserves our support.


And now that filming

The government - yes the government, even with Charles Clarke in charge of education - has been shelling out taxpayers' cash to promote Latin teaching. A cd rom to accompany Book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course has already been produced (but see below), and I was lucky enough to get involved in the filming for the Book 2 cd rom a couple of weeks ago. London weekend TV got the contract, so it was all done professionally. We didn't dare adjust our own togas - someone from Costumes had to do that; and periodically someone from Makeup came with a powder puff to dab my shining forehead. I blame the lights, but suspect it was really nerves. Have a look at pictures via the web site, or go straight to where the pictures are actually stored.

I contacted the Cambridge Classics Project about rumours that all schools were going to get a free cd rom, and asking what we should all do to support this amazing initiative, and got this reply:

"The DfES has yet to decide quite how and when the materials will be distributed and what sort of support network it wishes to see in place. We have the plans in place to deal with every eventuality but until various decisions are made by government, none will be effected." Now I find this frustrating. Here is a government department that has already commissioned two cd roms involving a lot of money and many people's time and expertise, and it 'has yet to decide' what to do with them. The Cambridge Classics Project no doubt has plans for every eventuality, as they say, but what if the whole distribution is done at the last minute to beat some government budget deadline, and as a result school heads get a splendid resource for Latin teaching, without local teachers or 'Grannies' being prepared to offer help? In the Church of England I have seen too many bright ideas come out from 'the centre' and fall flat for lack of local enthusiasm and involvement.


Genuine Greek masks?

One of the hundreds of presentations given at the CA meeting in Warwick was about a Glasgow University project to map model theatre masks onto computer, and from the computer models to make exact replicas, in the original size, or, more interestingly, enlarged to full size. Two full-size masks were there for people to try on. Those ancient small models must have been very accurately made, because the full-size versions fitted the face well and worked excellently.

I asked if I could take photos for you, but was directed instead to the web site: . It's under reconstruction at present, but should be a good resource when ready.


ARLT Summer School

Both at the Classical Association and during the filming I met people who were really interested when they were told about the Summer School at Lord Wandsworth College. I hope you have booked your place. If not, visit and get hold of the details and booking form. I've been able to add photos of a couple more speakers, having met and snapped them in Warwick.


And, coming up even sooner ...


The AGM is on Saturday 17th May at King Edward V! School, Kellett Road, Southampton, and lasts from 10.15 to 4.15. Speakers are JACT President Prof Brian Sparkes on Bedroom Farce: Divine Sex, Dr Andy Russell on Roman Southampton, and Russell Shone of Chloe Productions on Reconstructing the Masks of the Greek Theatre. Three option groups are by Mrs Jo Hartley on using computers to create comprehension exercises, Stephen Anderson on 6th form Classical Literature in the original, and our own Roger Davies on teaching the OCR A level prescription of Aristophanes. It's probably not too late to book with the JACT office, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. The day costs £18.


Shall we share resources online?

All over the country around this time of year Classics teachers have been devising revision tests. Often they share what they've done at Summer School option groups. Just imagine how many teacher-hours would be saved if we had a bank of such tests, and all sorts of other home made teaching resources, on the ARLT site, ready for download. There's plenty of space on the web site for text items. Would you be willing to email me anything that you have, so that it can be shared? Obviously students could access the site, too, so it wouldn't be a good idea to put tests with simple answers, let alone mock exam papers; but sets of comprehension questions on set texts, for example, would be wonderful. You could even direct students to the comprehension test on the site, and let them benefit from it. Over to you. If ten teachers contributed, each one would get a ten-fold return for their own offering.

Best wishes,