The state school Latin revival

Latin is making a comeback in British schools at the moment as hi-tech methods are used to re-introduce it to the classroom.

Latin has been phased out in the majority of UK state schools, tending to be taught mostly in private schools in the present day. However, with iPads being used more extensively in classrooms, Latin is suddenly becoming more accessible to educational establishments across the country.

There was an increase of around 15% in the number of children being entered for a Latin GCSE (or equivalent) last year – no mean feat when many language GCSEs are in decline.

iPads and other classroom technologies help get around the lack of teachers trained in the art of Latin and other extinct languages such as Ancient Greek – pupils can be taught via video link by experts in the languages, and sophisticated apps can assist them with their translation abilities.

Lectures are being streamed from Cambridge University Classics courses, so pupils can learn Latin even without a teacher being present to teach them.

Interestingly enough, Michael Gove’s compulsory primary languages initiative will allow ancient languages such as Latin to count as the compulsory language taught in schools from 2014 onwards. It remains to be seen how many schools will take advantage of this, but it is interesting that this is to be an option at all.

There has been a lot of support for the learning of Latin in recent governments, and it will be interesting to find out whether the increase in uptake of Latin will continue with increased funding and wider opportunities to learn the language even in state schools.

The Romance languages are derived from Latin, and it can provide a useful foundation for those wishing to learn French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese. Learning Latin can also help language learners understand the way languages work in general, and it is still used in areas such as science, botany and medicine.

Read more about the way technology is being used to aid Latin language learning>>

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