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Learning Latin at School

By Christopher, published on 15/10/2019 Blog > Languages > Latin > Latin Lessons in School

As Latin is a ‘dead’ language, a number of high schools across the country do not opt to have it within their curriculum.

Classical languages are not as commonly taught across Northern American educational establishments as languages such as Spanish, French, German and more so recently Mandarin are now being prioritized.

The options of languages at a students disposal is however reflective of the type of school (public/private), as well as the area of the country the school is based in. Some states may prioritize particular language learning in relation to the diversity of the area.

A number of private schools do offer Latin courses to their students as a basic understanding of the language will allow you to access Romanic literature and Roman history – a period of time celebrated for its developments in infrastructure.

The Romans are also praised for their literature as well as traditional art and the creation of the modern-day calendar which has been adopted by the West for over a thousand years. Be sure to check out what to expect when learning Latin and the basics: learning Latin to help gain further insight into discovering the language!

The main issues which High School’s across North America faced were the lack of teachers who were qualified and experienced in teaching Latin as well as other classical based languages.

Although there are various colleges and universities which offer higher education courses for aspiring academics/teachers to practice Latin, the fact that the lessons have been in and out of the curriculum for the past fifty years has made it an area that has at times been lacking for credible professionals.

Those who have opted to partake in such higher educational courses often work in private education or specialist institutions as it is now considered a niche within general education, prior to college and university.

So, if aspiring students or the parents of students wish for their children to gain a fundamental knowledge of Latin; they may well have to search externally to help achieve this.

Learning Latin in High School

A picture of an American high school. Although it is no longer mandatory, some high school’s across the States still offer Latin lessons to their students. (Source: Visualhunt)

Latin was a prominent figure within formal, educational curricular for over a thousand years.

Since the downfall of the Roman Empire (476AD), Latin had continued to be a commonly spoken language until historic academics believe that Latin’s dominance as a language began to fade around the 8th Century when Greek was the new officially stated language.

This did not, however, prevent Latin from being as influential as it is today, for its influence on present, romantic languages.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, it is said that more than 50% of public secondary schools in the United States were studying Latin. At the time, this put the enrolment of students within foreign languages higher than any other, and this includes most of the commonly used languages of today i.e. Spanish, French & German.

This is because an understanding of the Latin language used to be a necessary component in order for students to gain admission to some of the more respected colleges and universities across the country.

It wasn’t until around twenty years later when Spanish had overtaken Latin in popularity. Moving on from this, it was in the late 1950s in which a law was passed which omitted Latin from the curriculum completely.

Latin had crept back up within high school education for a recent emphasis on mythology and Roman history HAD therefore resulted in students studying archaic, Romanic literature.

So, the most effective way of establishing if a school offers such opportunities, it is best to contact student-faculty. Although a school may not offer courses specifically to do with Latin as a language, there may well be history, arts and literature-based courses which focus on the Romanic period, therefore exposing students to the studying of the Latin language.

 

Eventually, we want to reach 56% of American high schoolers, because mastery of Classical languages provides an important lens for understanding the lingua franca and navigating the modern world -US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (2012)

 

Specialist Latin Schools/Extracurricular Opportunities

Two students study on their laptop. Whether it’s 1:1 or groups-based tutoring, there are various opportunities out there! (Source: Visualhunt)

Specialist Language Schools

Although Latin as a language has fizzled out within school curriculums, there are still opportunities across the States, including New York, for those who are looking to learn the language.

If you are an interpersonal learneryou will gain more motivation when learning in a group with others! However, if you prefer working alone, there is also a range of online courses which you can take!

Aequora, part of the Paideia Institute, specializes in offering advice and opportunities for classical programs to schools and universities across the country.

Their mission is to introduce the Latin language to elementary and middle school students. Aequora has created a textbook that combines visual games and activities to help students learn new vocabulary as well as identifying grammatical differences between Latin and English, French and Spanish.

There are over forty Aequora sites across the United States and they work explicitly within public schools, universities, and colleges as well as offering after-school enrichment programs at various educational sites.

The company also works with Latin students who wish to make a difference in their communities by volunteering to teach in their communities.

Acoquera can be reached directly through The Paideia Institute homepage to see what opportunities may be available within your area.

Undergraduate/Collegiate Opportunities

A graduate collects her degree certificate. Students have the chance to study bachelor and postgraduate programs in Latin. (Source: Visualhunt)

There are a number of opportunities out there for students who wish to major in Latin studies at college or university. A number of establishments across the country offer courses in Latin studies and various colleges have maintained classical departments in which students can major in Latin or Greek language learning.

If your interest in learning Latin stems from a desire to study Romanic culture, rule or history, then there are postgraduate programs that are available that combine the learning of Latin in alignment with Roman history.

Take New York-based Columbia University as a prime example. They have maintained their classics department for many years and they offer a range of classical-based programs spanning across such areas as:

-Languages (Greek-Latin)

-Art History

-Archaeology

-Ancient History

-Philosophy

-Classical Programs

The department hosts seminars and various modules for students that major within the degree programs listed.

As well as offering various classical programs to undergraduates, postgraduates and post-baccalaureate students, it also hosts a variety of classical seminars, colloquia, and dramatic productions.

So, if enrolling in a program similar to Columbia, students have the chance to go above and beyond when it comes to extra-curricular opportunities.

Dramatic performances can be accessed on their main website as well as listings of upcoming events associated with the classical department.

Faculty members also regularly publish works based on Latin-academia. ‘The Latin Dossier of Anastasius the Persian: Hagiographic Translations and Transformations’ was a published piece from Carmela Vircillo Franklin, a lecturer at the university.

The Society for Classical Studies, founded in 1889 by the American Philological Association, is an incredibly helpful website that identifies the various colleges and universities across the country which offer classical-based programs.

A quick search on their website will help to identify the various colleges, from Boston, Harvard, New York, Alberta, and Arizona University, which all have classical departments and therefore offer degree programs associated with Latin.

What helps to save time is that on their website is a list that highlights which universities offer Postgraduate programs, M.A. degrees, P.h.D. programs as well as certified teaching credentials for those who have aspirations to teach classical subjects.

Although the learning of the Latin language has for some time been omitted from most curricula across the United States, there is still a wide selection of higher educational establishments that offer such courses across the country.

So, if you are looking to study full-time and make a career out of your understanding of the Latin language, there is a good chance that you may not have to travel too far for this to be a possibility.

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