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"Mind the Gap":
Session Summaries 2021

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Please note that this is our UK-based conference and all times listed are BST.

 

DAY ONE: Saturday 16th October


Session 1 (11:00-11:40)


1A. Learning Latin through Lexicogrammar

Henry Lee

This session considers how to create and deliver a Latin lesson or a course with lexicogrammar at its core. This methodology will focus on getting students to be more used to, or fluent in, sentence patterns that are associated with a particular grammar point, and has been more recently championed by Gianfranco Conti. During the session we will look at reasoning behind the methodology, a typical structure of a lesson and a course and activities associated with the methodology. We will also get a chance to try out some of the activities and to share our own experiences in introducing the methodology into our curriculum. As the methodology is designed for the teaching of modern languages, part of the session will consider how to adapt such methodology to a Latin syllabus with the Cambridge Latin Course at its heart.

 


1B. ‘From the Ground Up’: Reflections on Forming a New Classics Cohort

Danny Pucknell 

Classics is a chronically underrepresented subject in Wales. Apart from my own college, only Howells (a fee paying school), has Classics as a subject. Outside of that, Wrexham is one of the only places in Wales where a college teaches Classics. I will ask 'Why is this the case?' and, more importantly, 'How Can we Address this?' Does the idea of 'acorn postcodes' matter when it comes to a willingness to put Classics on as a subject.' I would like to reflect on the process of building Classics as a 'new' A level in the college in which I work. I would like to talk about the reality of students, particularly in my College, not having the opportunity to be exposed to Classics or Ancient History before. Part of the session would detail the process of getting Classics on the A level syllabus, the impact which Classics has made on both the students and the college as a whole, and the progress which has been made in making Classics a subject which the students now really want to study. My target audience for this talk are teachers who already teach Classics or Ancient History, or those who would like to do so in the future. My central aim is to get all of us thinking about the duty we have to widen participation in the Classical world. In some way, I would like to use the example of Classics as a new subject at my college to illustrate this.

 


Session 2 (13:30-14:10)


2A. nemo est in horto: why students abandon Latin … and how to encourage them to stay

Lisa Hay

It is a perennial problem: in a crowded curriculum, with many different pressures and considerations, how do we encourage students to view Latin as a subject they should be considering for themselves? Traditional strategies to encourage uptake may not simply be faltering in changing educational circumstances: how we present our subject sends clear messages about what Latin is, and who it is for. This session will summarise some of the challenges surrounding student retention across Key Stage 3 and into Key Stage 4 and will offer up potential strategies for increasing student participation, ranging from the essential to the downright sneaky.

 


2B. Culture shock – teaching the western Classical World in the East End 

Ayesha Als-Murchie

The aim of this session is to share the challenges and rewards of introducing Latin, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History into a school in London’s culturally diverse, but very locally focused, East End. For the past six years, I have been teaching Classics (in one, two or three of its various iterations) in Swanlea School in Whitechapel. I hope by sharing my and the students’ experiences, you will be able to reflect upon the relevance and importance of Classics within the curriculum today, and how it can be adapted to suit and be engaging to students from all backgrounds. 

 


Session 3 (14:30-15:10)


3A. Battling for Latin: bridging the Latin learning gap

Professor James Robson & Dr Mair Lloyd

Beginners’ Latin courses at UK universities play an important role in opening up the study of the ancient world to students with little or no previous exposure to ancient languages.  Yet data collected from university departments show that large numbers of students – roughly one in four – either fail or withdraw from their beginners’ module (23% in 2014; 24% in 2018). In this session, the presenters will discuss issues that might be expected to contribute to the seemingly consistent gap between the numbers of hopeful starters and successful completers and on mitigating measures that might reduce its extent. Our findings are based on recent research that involved statistical investigation of the relationship between student outcomes and a variety of factors relating to beginners’ modules such as textbook, teaching time and assessment methods, along with synthesis of student and tutor views and descriptions of their own experiences gathered in interviews. Results will be examined in the light of pedagogical research in the field of Modern Foreign Languages into such issues as perfectionism, error correction and teaching approaches.

The session will then invite participant reflection and comment on commonalities and gaps between university and school approaches to widening success. 

 


3B. Filling in the Racial Gaps

John Bracey

In this talk, John Bracey will speak on the topic of race and ancient history. He will explore the different ways in which people of color in the ancient Roman and Greek worlds have been obscured by modern scholarship, educational materials and popular media. It is through identifying these gaps that we can begin to fill them in.

 


Saturday Keynote (15:30-16:30)


The geographical gap: who has access to Classical subjects in schools?

Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson

In this plenary talk, Dr Holmes-Henderson will share data which reveal the geographical areas of the UK where Classical subjects are most, and least, available to learners in schools. Referring to her recent research, she will report which Classical subjects (Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History) are available in various types of schools across the UK (fee-paying, state-maintained selective and state-maintained non-selective) and will highlight recent interventions of policy and practice which seek to remedy these inequalities. How many schools teach Greek, north of Watford Gap? How much Latin is available to learners, north of Hadrian’s Wall? Are Classical Civilisation and Ancient History ‘more accessible’? Dr Holmes-Henderson will use new data analysis to tackle these important issues which underlie any future expansion of Classical subjects in schools.

 

 

DAY TWO: Sunday 17th October


Session 4 (11:00-11:40)


4A. Dyslexia-friendly Latin

Dr Charlotte Goddard 

The target audience is teachers of Latin at KS3 and KS4. This session explores why and how we should address the twin gaps of access and attainment in Latin between dyslexic students and their peers. These two problems are interconnected: if the attainment gap can be narrowed, a strong case may be made for extending to more children the chance to learn Latin. Access is a fundamental problem. Perhaps because of perceptions about its difficulty and utility, Latin is often offered only to a minority of a cohort. Consequently, many students with a mild learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, are denied the opportunity even to start learning a language from which all can derive at least some benefit, and in which some have achieved significant success. This approach does not sit well in an age which values inclusivity in education. I consider the question from four angles. First, I offer the rationale for a more inclusive Latin classroom, offering practical arguments which might find favor with Senior Leadership Teams. I review some of the recent literature on teaching the dyslexic learner, advice which would benefit all learners. I propose memory and translation techniques which have proved helpful in my own classroom. The third section considers how the teacher might involve parents, Teaching Assistants or Learning Support specialists in helping students learn Latin. Finally, I consider how Latin exams might be made more accessible to dyslexic candidates, both at GCSE and in formative assessment.

 


4B. A Class Act: how Classics can lead to achievement in the English and Drama A-Levels

Emma Williams 

This session is aimed at teachers of A-Level Classics, Drama and/or English in England and Wales. The central aim of the session is to highlight the importance of Classical knowledge in the study of other subjects in the Arts at A Level (specifically English and Drama). The session will highlight how a consistent approach to interlacing Classics education with teaching of the Arts at Key Stage 3,4 and 5 will ultimately benefit their students’ understanding of the texts they study within other subjects, and lead to higher attainment and retention. There will also be suggestions on how classroom practitioners can offer more opportunities for their students to learn about, and engage with, the conventions of classical story telling if they have a new, very small or non-existent Classics department. The session will last 30 minutes and will be split into 3-5 sections that focuses on a popular text studied on English and Drama syllabuses, e.g. Shakespeare, Medea/Antigone and various poetry anthologies. Ultimately, the session will aim to highlight how a collaboration between English, Drama and Classics teachers to identify common denominators between subject syllabuses will ultimately lead to a more interconnected and concurrent learner experience. Specific exam board specifications that will be discussed are OCR, WJEC and some Eduqas.

 


Session 5 (13:30-14:10)


 5A. EDUQAS 3A: Latin Literature (Narratives)

Lisa Hay

In this session we will be looking at some approaches to narrative literature. The focus will be on broader literary skills and especially the development of opportunities for deeper discussion around important topics including misogyny, stereotyping, and healthy relationships. Although this session is built around the EDUQAS 3A texts, the discussion will be relevant to anyone teaching literature at any level.

 


5B. ‘This was supposed to be about Percy Jackson, Caroline!’: when the ancient world meets the modern

Caroline Bristow

Classical Reception is an area of study which not only adds variety and intellectual challenge to the discipline as a whole, but is key in drawing students into our Classics classrooms; who among us hasn't leant into the 'Percy Jackson effect' to ensure healthy numbers and our course's survival? Classics in the Modern World is a relatively new course at the JSST Classical Civilisation and Ancient History Summer School and the curriculum that was taught this year, along with the views of students (and staff!), form the basis for this paper. This course addressed uses and abuses of the Classical tradition to explore issues of colonialism, white supremacy, trauma and misogyny. Inspired by the work of Caitlin Hinds at the University of Cincinnati, whose undergraduate Reception course is built around modern social issues, this paper looks at how sixth form students respond when Classical Reception focuses not on the world of Harry Potter, but instead on the world in which they live; warts and all.

 


Sunday Keynote (14:30-15:30)


In conversation with Natalie Haynes: Women in the Gaps of Greek Myth

Novelist, broadcaster and Classicist Natalie Haynes is no stranger to unearthing the lost and forgotten voices of Greek myth. Whether retelling ancient tales from an all-female perspective or uncovering how stories about mythological women have become distorted down the centuries, Natalie has helped bring ancient female voices to the forefront of the popular imagination. In this plenary session, Natalie will talk to CSCP Director, Caroline Bristow, about what made her want to retell these stories and how our understanding of Classics can be enriched by exploring a fuller range of ancient voices.