Garstang Courier on the joys of Latin

Garstang Courier – transcript below
Garstang Courier

LATIN has been studied in British schools for centuries,but has not featured as a staple of the national curriculum for more than 40 years.
Nowadays,the study of Latin often splits opinion – some say it is key to understanding the modern English language,yet others believe it to be useless and obsolete.
This year,my school, St Aidan’s,has introduced Latin for the first time.
The school has never taught the subject as part of the curriculum in the past. Although not compulsory,several students across different year groups have been given the opportunity to study the subject as an extra-curricular lesson.
I am one such pupil, and have been learning the ancient language for nearly a year now, following a Cambridge University-devised course.
To some the subject might appear boring and antiquated – or the preserve of private school students.
Obviously the language is no use in ordering a meal or asking for directions in modern-day Italy, but what many people fail to understand is the potential benefits it can have when coupled with the study of English.
For example,words such as ‘canis’, the Latin for dog, is obviously where our word canine originates from. Latin is also an advantageous language for students studying the sciences.In Biology,animal and plant names have Latin equivalents,and in Chemistry some elements have Latin
Nationally, the Cambridge Online Latin Project, the course that I have
been following, was unveiled in September after being tested by 2,000
high-school students.
“We’re looking to make Latin available to everyone who wants to study
it,” said director of the Cambridge School Classics Project, Will Griffiths.
“It shouldn’t be for certain types of pupils in certain types of schools.
We would like other children to have access to this education which private
schools have long recognised is important.”
So far, I have found the course both interesting and useful. Delivered in
the form of a textbook and DVD, the course is split into several different
sections concerning the Roman home,market, and theatre, for example.
The DVD follows the textbook, but includes a variety of video clips and
activities to accompany the text.
In addition, the majority of the Latin students will be going on a school
trip to Rome next February.
Mrs Sue Marland, an English teacher at St Aidan’s,was responsible for bringing in Latin for extra-curricular study.
She explained: “I wanted to offer a subject that is really challenging and
that has had a huge impact on languages, especially English.
“I loved learning Latin and find the historical aspect fascinating.
“I think the course is excellent. It offers a balance of social and historical content along with the learning of the language.”
Students at St Aidan’s are generally enthusiastic about the course and are
enjoying their first experience of Latin.
Year nine student Megan Kelsall commented: “I enjoy Latin. It really
gives you an insight into Roman history and where many English words originate from.”
Fellow year nine student Lynette Parkinson added: “I didn’t expect Latin to be so interesting.
It’s amazing how it makes up part of so many modern languages. It really
helps me to understand other languages.”
“I think Latin is a superb extra-curricular activity.The course is really interesting and I thoroughly enjoy it. I think it’s great introducing it as an extra-curricular activity as it helps me tremendously with other languages” commented Alison Brough, another Year 9 student, adding: “It is also a good way to challenge more able students.”
The introduction of Latin as an extra-curricular subject for those students who desire to study it, was an excellent idea.
In my opinion, the way it is taught in an informal, laid-back way after-
school is one of the main factors as to why it has been so well received at St Aidan’s,and I’m looking forward to the rest of the course… and of course
the school trip to Rome next year!

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