ArLT founder WHD Rouse on the current controversy

As a work of pietas towards ArLT founder WHD Rouse, I began today to scan his 1925 book, Latin on the Direct Method, for inclusion in the ArLT website.

I found to my great surprise that he speaks powerfully to the present newspaper controversy about standards in Latin teaching.

Do read the first chapter here.

Let me juxtapose just two extracts. The first is from the Financial Times comment piece by Matthew Engel:

I had to learn the fifth declension (and forgot it well before the exam) so why shouldn’t this generation suffer?

And here is Rouse, writing of the direct method which puts idiom, speaking and reading first, and grammar later:

This is what strikes a visitor first and most strongly, that each boy is obviously full of keen attention, ready and eager to take his part. “The labour we delight in physics pain”: it does not cease to be labour, if it becomes a delight, but work willingly done is well done. No less work is done in a morris dance than on the treadmill, but it has a different effect on the human spirit. I suggest to those who urge the moral benefit which a boy is supposed to receive, by doing what he hates to do, whether they are not really covering up the secret, that they are unable to make his work interesting. I wonder whether they apply this gloomy doctrine to themselves.

More revelations from Rouse to come, I have no doubt.


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