The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 8: October 2003

Dear Classical Friend,

High time for another dollop of Classical this and that.


Shock! Direct Method works!


I've had an email from Israel, from someone who was looking up Rouse, and who teaches Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek by the Direct Method. He wrote:

"I ran across your website following up on the remarkable Rouse. Truly a small world. Great article on Latin. We are doing the kinds of things that the Rouse article mentions for Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek. We have a lot of fun in class. Students do learn and retain more, and those interested proceed into modern Hebrew without a hiccup.

Please let me know what you are doing and developing with Greek.


Randall Buth

(this has class and student descriptions)"

I had to write back rather shamefacedly to say that I didn't know of any Greek teaching by the Direct Method in the UK. Can you help? Randall's site is worth a look. What took my fancy particularly were:

a chapter on pronunciation of koine Greek, which told me much I didn't know (click on courses, then on Greek materials, and scroll to foot of page)

demo lessons in Greek and Hebrew, (navigate to courses, then choose Greek demo lesson or Hebrew demo lesson) and

a photo of a class reading Ruth chapter 4 in a city gate. (scroll to foot of home page. If the appropriateness of the city gate is not immediately obvious, refresh your memory of the chapter.)


The new Password Section


I've made a small and tentative start with the ARLT web site password-protected section. Thanks to those who have contributed notes and tests. I shall look forward to more. As I said last newsletter, such a lot of effort goes into devising tests and exams that it makes good sense to share the results. At the moment of writing, I have just put a series of Livy unseens into the section, which Hilary has contributed, with suitable headings, introductions and vocabulary lists. Several more bits and pieces are in the pipeline.

To get to this section of the web site, click on 'tests and notes' at the bottom of the menu, and use the following username and password in the form that will come up:

Username: (available to registered members only)



Pompeii on Radio 4


Robert Harris' novel, "Pompeii", was Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. I didn't catch it all, but enjoyed the last episode particularly. Pliny the Elder made a good end, and the hero and heroine made it to .... but I mustn't spoil the plot, for those who want to read it. "Pompeii" is published by Hutchinson at £17.99. (342 pages)


How did Sybil get her fix?


In response to the question last time about Delphi, and how the Sybil could get high on natural gases when the temple floor looks so solid, you'll be glad to know that one of our number is going to investigate for us. (Sorry, I've mislaid your email, or I'd quote it.)


Help write an on-line Latin course


Have you discovered Wikipedia? It's a free encyclopedia made up of contributions from anyone on the web. The unique feature of Wiki is that anyone can edit what's there, and anything you contribute can be edited by anyone else.

Well, someone has begun to contribute a Latin course. It started appearing in September, I think, and you might find it interesting. I found myself correcting spelling mistakes - a teacher's habits die hard, and I couldn't bear to leave 'accussative' uncorrected!

Writing a Latin course is not as easy as it looks. Do you think this one has a future?


A Latin course for a blind man


A request was passed on by the daughter of a retired professional musician who has recently lost his sight completely and wishes to learn a bit of Latin. I visited the gentleman, who is charming, and have been struggling to make the first of a series of tapes (he doesn't read Braille) that will give him a start in Latin. I've begun with bits of the Vulgate, which I introduce, read, and try to explain grammatically, but I'm not satisfied with what I've done so far. How would you go about the task?


Could my new hobby help Classics teaching?


I've recently found how to edit films on computer using Pinnacle, and last night showed a five minute film to our local Civic Society ( about a project some of the members are involved in. It seemed to go down well, and to make the necessary points. For that event I borrowed a data projector from a school, but for a small group an ordinary computer works very well. The film is stored on CD rom, and I use RealOne Player to show it, though I guess that Windows Media Player would work just as well.

The point is, can you think of occasions when a short home-made film would be useful in teaching? My own experience with ordinary video is that it makes little impact on pupils because they are so used to TV images, and showing a video may mean moving the class to another room, whereas a lap-top is handy and can be used for a five minute burst of film without taking over the lesson. So, if you can think of any short films that I could make for you, let me know!

Every good wish for the (not so new now) school year.