Suggestions for the Teaching of Classics (1959)

This pamphlet gave detailed advice on the teaching of Latin (mainly to grammar school boys). It was a revised version of that published by the Board of Education in 1939.

Note The term 'middle school' is used in this document to refer to the middle years of secondary school.

The complete document is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various sections.

I Questions of organisation (page 1)
II The Latin course below the sixth form (8)
III The teaching of Latin and Greek: more detailed considerations (18)
IV Sixth form work (60)

See also:

1921 The position of the Classics in the Educational System of the United Kingdom The Crewe Report

1977 Classics in Comprehensive Schools HMI Series: Matters for Discussion No. 2

1988 Classics from 5 to 16 HMI Series: Curriculum Matters No. 12

The text of Suggestions for the Teaching of Classics was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 28 April 2022.

Suggestions for the Teaching of Classics (1959)
Ministry of Education Pamphlet No. 37

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1959
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[cover]


[title page]



Suggestions for
the Teaching of Classics



Ministry of Education
Pamphlet No. 37






LONDON
HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
1959


[page iii]

Page
INTRODUCTIONv

PART I: QUESTIONS OF ORGANISATION
1
The age for beginning Latin1
Selection of pupils to begin Latin2
Further selection of pupils during the Latin course4
Length of courses in Latin4
Greek courses6
A note on the position in Wales6

PART II: THE LATIN COURSE BELOW THE SIXTH FORM
8
The content of the course8
The early stages: some general considerations9
The Latin reader as the basis of teaching: its choice10
The variety of work based upon the reader10
Some 'values' in elementary Latin11
The later stages: some general observations13
The possibility of alternative courses14
Oral and written work15
The problem of mastery16

PART III: THE TEACHING OF LATIN AND GREEK: MORE DETAILED CONSIDERATIONS
18
THE EARLIER STAGES OF LATIN18
The use of a syllabus18
Pronunciation19
Reading and translation20
Some suggestions on method in translation22
Vocabulary31


[page iv]

Learning by heart34
Grammar34
Composition36
Homework and preparation43
ROMAN CIVILISATION AND HISTORY45
GREEK COURSES55
The beginnings56
Hellenism and translations58
The Greek Testament59

PART IV: SIXTH-FORM WORK
60





[page v]

Introduction

This pamphlet is a revised form of that which was issued in 1939 and subsequently reprinted. Though there have been changes of outlook, and changes in social and educational conditions, since its first appearance, experience has amply confirmed the substance of what was then written. The present edition takes account of changes since 1939, both in the system of examinations and in the position of classical studies generally. The number of entries in Greek at the Advanced level of the examination for the General Certificate of Education was in 1957 almost twice as large as that for the roughly corresponding Higher Certificate in 1938, and in Latin the figure is two and a half times as great as it was then; at the Ordinary level the increase, though for various reasons less striking, is nevertheless considerable. These Suggestions are therefore again put forward in the hope that the greatly increased number of men and women now engaged in teaching classics will recognise them as valid still, and will find them helpful. They are based above all on experience gained in actual teaching; secondly, upon observation during the inspection of work in schools; thirdly, upon discussion of practical problems of teaching and organisation with teachers attending the Ministry's short courses or local conferences; and lastly upon much experience of working with examining bodies and much study of the scope and standards of work in the schools as revealed by the public examinations.

The contents of the pamphlet fall into four parts: Part I discusses matters of organisation - those problems which are primarily the responsibility of heads of schools; Part II indicates some lines of approach to the planning of work in Latin and Greek in the earlier years of the courses - the concern, in most cases, of the head of a department; and Part III deals more closely with the work of the classical teacher in the classroom at all stages. Part IV endeavours to suggest some of the aims and methods of sixth-form work.

The arguments in defence of Latin and Greek as a part of the curriculum for at least some pupils in grammar schools have often been stated, and in more than one quarter there have lately appeared restatements of the case in terms of the needs of the present day. In its revised form, therefore, as in its original state, this pamphlet assumes that there is a place for classical teaching and concerns itself with the means by which that teaching may be made as effective as possible.


[page 1]

PART I

Questions of Organisation

The age for beginning Latin

No age can be prescribed as the correct age at which Latin should be begun. In preparatory schools Latin is begun at 8 or 9 or 10 years, in grammar schools generally at 11 or 12 years.

Two main considerations must be taken into account before a pupil begins Latin.

(i) It is desirable that a pupil should show sufficient facility in English before undertaking Latin; he should be able to frame English sentences of a simple kind and express himself with tolerable ease and confidence. The study of Latin from its early stages involves simple analysis of the structure of sentences; whether a pupil should be introduced to such analysis through the medium of English or of Latin is a matter on which opinions have differed in the past. Some considerations bearing on this point are put forward later. But in any case it seems reasonable to introduce a pupil to the operation of taking a sentence to pieces and watching the functioning of its parts, whether in English or in any language, only if he is already able to put a sentence together and make words function in relation to one another in his own language. There is little doubt that many young pupils have been hurried on to a severely analytical study of a foreign language long before they had sufficient experience and control of their own language.

At all ages a satisfactory standard of English is of paramount importance, for reasons which need not be developed here; but it may be remarked that initial progress in Latin itself will generally be found to be more rapid if pupils bring to their work a suitable experience of English and proficiency in its use; in return, familiarity with Latin strengthens the sense of control with which English studies are pursued, whether at an elementary or at an advanced stage.

It is not possible to start a pupil in Latin without being compelled to assume or to teach some knowledge of the parts of speech and the simple relations of words to one another in sentences. Experience, however, shows that it is easier - apart from other considerations - to teach such matters by presenting to a pupil many concrete examples (e.g. of subject


[page 2]

and object) in a sentence or paragraph rather than by abstract definition. If this is true, then the introduction to the parts of speech and simple word-relations can best be made in English, since in English the pupil can be presented with multitudes of concrete examples which he can quickly understand. At the same time the knowledge of 'fundamental grammar' which a beginner in Latin should possess is very small - the principal parts of speech should be known, the analysis of the simple sentence and the division of the predicate into verb and object should be understood - but it is important that this knowledge should be thorough. If it is asked who should teach this grammar, the answer is that the school must decide. In fact, the practice of the schools varies. Some teachers of English attach little value to grammar at this stage, and the teachers of Latin and French therefore introduce elementary grammatical notions while they teach the languages. In other schools fundamental grammar is taught through English, so that French and Latin teachers can assume in their pupils a knowledge of certain elementary grammatical notions common to the three languages. But it cannot be stressed too strongly that elaborate analysis of English sentences should not be demanded by the teacher who is starting pupils of 11 or 12 years in Latin; still less, of course, when the pupils are younger.

(ii) The second point for consideration is whether any other foreign language is to be added to the curriculum at the same time as Latin. It was long felt that Latin and French should not be begun simultaneously, and in the Board of Education's Circular 574, in 1907, it was said that when, as is generally the case, French or some other modern language is taken before Latin, at least a full year should be allotted to it before Latin is taken up.

Though the risk of confusion in the pupil's mind has been exaggerated, some interval is probably desirable; but the length of the interval varies in different schools, and the desirability of an interval does not imply that French should necessarily be the first language and Latin the second language. In the majority of schools the interval is a year, though sometimes it is a term and sometimes two years. French is usually the first language, though in a few schools Latin is begun before French, an arrangement which is supported by some teachers of French.

Selection of pupils to begin Latin

In spite or tests and experiments carried out in this country and in America there seems to be no certain way of deciding in advance which pupils are likely to have an aptitude for the study of Latin. It is an exacting subject and only those pupils who make sufficient response to its demands derive benefit from it. Interest in words, an instinct for logical presen-


[page 3]

tation, language-sense, interest in literature and history, may be taken as indications of a probable aptitude for Latin.

In some quarters there is a belief that it is precisely the boy who has not a sense of language or a feeling for exactitude in thought or expression who is most in need of Latin and its values as an instrument of education. There is something to be said for this view if both time and will are forthcoming. But there comes a point at which the task, both for the teacher and for the pupil, ceases to bring its own reward. Mere exposure to Latin teaching can avail nothing; the cooperation of the pupil is essential, and it is because those pupils who show certain aptitudes are likely to have the power and the will to cooperate with the teacher in meeting the demands made by Latin that selection is justified.

The main reason why Latin is seldom taught as the first foreign language is probably not to be found in its special nature as a subject, but rather in the general acceptance of French for this purpose, on the ground that it will be taken by all pupils. For, as a general rule, whereas French is taken by most pupils in grammar schools up to the stage of the Ordinary level examination, Latin is taught only to selected pupils, who may amount to one-third, or perhaps two-thirds, of the year-group. The first year of the grammar school course, which normally includes French, thus offers a means of selecting those who seem suited to undertake the exacting study of Latin in addition.

To avoid undue postponement of the start of Latin, while still leaving an interval between the introduction of the first language and that of the second, some schools have given an initial term to a course in 'fundamental language', based mainly on English, introducing the elementary study of prefixes, suffixes and the like and stressing the relation between the forms of words and the history of human customs. (Such words as subjugate, candidate and dominion will illustrate this.) Then in January, if the teachers of Latin and of English have each taken a hand in this work, no change in the time-table is needed when the regular study of Latin is begun by those selected for it. Such a plan presents some difficulties, and it is more satisfactory to consider the structure of language in the course of studying a particular language than in vacuo. For the selection of pupils for a Latin course, too, it is generally found that ability as shown in all other subjects (by no means excluding mathematics) is a better criterion than performance in a basic language course alone. The main point is that selection, if it is to be made, should be made in sufficient time to allow proper length to the Latin course below the sixth form.

Some schools, chiefly the small schools with a two-form entry or less, start all their pupils in Latin either at 11 or at 12. Sometimes all, or nearly all, pupils carry Latin as far as the Ordinary level examination. This is


[page 4]

common in Roman Catholic schools. More often, after two years' work in Latin (for a course shorter than two years can seldom be justified), a selection is made and a proportion of the pupils continue the subject.

Further selection of pupils during the Latin course

It is unfortunately too frequent an occurrence that not more than a fraction of pupils who make a start in Latin carry it even as far as the fifth form. A selection is made after one, two or three years; and in some cases a class loses a few of its members at the end of each year. While clearly the individual pupil should be relieved of the subject at any point of the course if urgent and specific reasons arise, it is very desirable that those pupils who are not likely to complete at any rate four years of Latin should be withdrawn at one point, preferably at the end of the second year. The two year course, which will be all the Latin that some pupils will have, can be made to be self-contained and of value in itself; and not merely a preparation for a later stage which these pupils will not reach; while for those who continue for four or more years the first part will have been a suitable preparation for the second. The organisation which provides for the discontinuance of Latin at the end of two years can be justified only if a satisfactory answer can be given to the question 'What good have two years of Latin been to the pupils who will now give it up?'. Some of the values that can be realised in a short course are discussed in Part II of this pamphlet.

Length of courses in Latin

In grammar schools the course in Latin below the sixth form lasts for five, four or three years according to the point in the general course at which it begins. The most usual length is four years, with four or five periods a week. Any attempt to cover this ground in less than four years is of very doubtful value to pupils of average ability. Many schools give five or six periods a week, and there is little doubt that the range of the work widens and the confidence with which it may be undertaken gains very greatly from the increased time. It is true that three-year courses have achieved success, but the pupils have generally been very carefully selected, and the teaching, which has usually been in the hands of the same teacher throughout the course, has been of a high order. Except in the most favourable conditions, the work tends to be hurried and narrowly directed towards examination requirements. A three-year course of Latin is generally found in the comparatively few cases where boys reach the sixth form in four years and an interval of a year is considered necessary between a beginning in French and in Latin.


[page 5]

In some schools - chiefly those which inherit a tradition of classics - a five years' course of Latin is provided from the age of 10 or 11. Five years give time for the reading of more authors than can be attempted in a shorter course and for a more systematic treatment of subject-matter and of ancient life and history. But it is important that a higher standard of general achievement should be reached in a five years' course than in a four years' course; there is some danger that the longer course may aim at a point no higher than could be reached in four years, and this inevitably means that pace is diminished and the sense of progress weakened. But, if this temptation is resisted, there can be little doubt that a five years' course, well handled, widens a pupil's experience of Latin and enables him to read Latin authors with greater ease and success, both below the sixth form and, later, in it.

Though it is still common to speak as if the Latin course were planned in two sections, the point must be made that in at any rate some schools a single and unified course is practicable, and therefore desirable. There is no reason in the nature of the subject, and there is now no compelling reason in the structure of the examination system, for contemplating a break of any kind at the stage which used to be thought of as that of the first external examination. A number of pupils will give up Latin on entering the sixth form, and it is important that the work which they do should be of value in itself; but that is no reason for disintegrating the course of those who will go farther.

In a four years' course five lessons a week in the first year are highly desirable; it is most important that in the initial stages, in particular, there should be a feeling of progress and achievement; the daily lesson - even if short - contributes more to accuracy and pace than the less frequent lesson, even though this may be longer in time. This point should be borne in mind when some other subject, perhaps with different requirements, is an alternative to Latin on the time-table. It is quite unreasonable, for instance, to expect Latin to put up with two double-periods a week, because an alternative subject - a branch of science, for example, or a practical skill - needs that time-allocation. Sometimes, though rarely, an introductory year with two lessons or even one lesson a week prefaces the course proper; but more is lost than is gained, for after weeks of Latin the pupil is conscious of having achieved little and an undesirable attitude to the subject is often the result.

In the following years, most teachers would agree that five periods make a reasonable allowance of time, if the pupil is to reach the minimum standard desirable; that is to say, if he is to acquire the power to understand a prose and a verse author, to translate simple English sentences, or easy connected prose, into Latin, and to attack with some confidence a


[page 6]

simple piece of Latin 'unprepared', paying due attention to the subject-matter of the Latin read.

In some schools which have few teaching periods in the week the number of teaching periods in Latin suggested above will not be possible. Greater reliance will have to be placed upon preparation - at home or in preparation periods in school - and particular thought will be necessary to ensure that the teaching periods in school are used to full advantage and that preparation of a suitable nature is set.

The general question of the number and length of homework periods is reserved to a later page; for what is desirable in these matters depends upon the use to which periods in school are put.

The course of Latin which begins in a preparatory school and is continued in a public school is generally longer than four years. Beginning Latin at 9 or even earlier, a boy passes to a public school at 13 or 14 years of age, and he may sit for his first external examination at 15 or 16 or 17 years of age, having pursued a course of Latin lasting from five years to seven years or more. But many preparatory and public school masters are now doubting the wisdom of so early a start; and reasons have been given above for thinking it undesirable for most pupils.

Greek Courses

For reasons which will be examined later, Greek is usually begun by a still more select few, and at a later stage. The general feeling is that a sound basis of Latin, gained in two years or so of successful and progressive work, should underlie the beginnings of Greek. When this reasonable demand is satisfied (and unless it is, success is not very likely), rapid advance can be made, for numbers are generally small, intellectual quality is good, and a knowledge of one highly inflected language is a help to the learning of another. There is generally no reason at all why such a course in Greek should be influenced by the Ordinary level examination; starting, as it often does, in the fourth school-year, it can well be planned so as to lead straight on to advanced work.

A note on the position in Wales

In Wales, two languages are spoken and a basic bilingualism is the recommended and generally accepted policy. In addition, the proportion of the age-group admitted to grammar schools is substantially higher than in England. In such conditions the question of how many foreign languages are to be taught, and to whom, assumes a somewhat different complexion. In particular, special care is needed in the selection of pupils to


[page 7]

take Latin. Since French is already by convention started in the first year by all pupils, there is need of a vigorous application of the principle, stated above, that Latin 'is an exacting subject and only those pupils who make sufficient response to its demands derive benefit from it'. The neglect of this principle imposes upon certain pupils a linguistic burden which they are ill equipped to bear.





[page 8]

PART II

The Latin Course Below The Sixth Form

The content of the course

The problem which has been set by present conditions in most schools has been, briefly, how to reduce to four or five years a course which under former conditions often took seven years or more, without at the same time destroying its value. Besides the reduction in length, there has also taken place a marked curtailment in the number of periods available during the course, as the claims of other subjects have led to their admission, one after another, to the curriculum. More insistent demands have arisen from the challenge of branches of study more immediately and obviously related to present-day life; so that it has been necessary for classical studies not only to justify their continued existence but also to do so in more restricting conditions, and often with teachers academically less well qualified, than were formerly to be found. The attempts to solve these problems have led to interesting developments in the teaching of Latin. Teachers have been forced to think more closely about the content of the course, to pay greater attention to method, and to envisage more consciously than before the objectives which they must reach if the shortened course is to be justified. As has happened before, straitened circumstances have led to salutary reflection. Whereas many years ago all boys who learnt Latin were treated as potential scholars, to the detriment of many, the work at earlier stages does not now assume and prepare exclusively for an advanced stage of work which in fact may never come, though it must still offer a foundation on which advanced work may be built.

Briefly, the course contemplated is as follows: translation from Latin is practised throughout, 'made-up' Latin is used at first, and Latin authors, prose and verse, are read before the end of the course; grammar is confined very largely to regular and common forms; such other forms as may be required are added as they are found necessary for use; composition is practised at all stages, developing naturally into easy continuous prose composition, at any rate in the last year. Sometimes a place can be found for direct treatment of Roman life and history, but in most courses such treatment is indirect, arising from the Latin in process of being read.

These divisions of the subject are treated separately in what follows, partly because the divisions can logically be made when the subject is


[page 9]

examined formally, partly because these divisions are traditional. But the treatment of them as real in actual teaching has been responsible for much harm, and the point of view from which these suggestions are written is that Latin, being a language and the expression of an ethos, is an organic whole, and that no element in it can really be isolated, though for different practical purposes one element may be regarded with greater attention than another. But grammatical forms can be understood only in a context, i.e. in 'translation'; rules for composition are artificial if they have not first been seen in operation in a paragraph of Latin; the enlargement of vocabulary most naturally comes, not from words in lists, but from words in a passage; and words discovered in this way are the natural material which the pupil will put together again to make a new pattern in 'composition'. Further, the study of a language cannot be divorced from the understanding of the background which gives meaning and precision to it; the mere manipulation of words is vain if they are empty ciphers without a meaning in terms of life and thought.

The early stages: some general considerations

In what has been written so far consideration has been given to the first four or five years of the course; it has been suggested that, if the course is to be completed by some pupils only, a single horizontal line dividing this part of the course into two stages should be more clearly drawn than it has often been in the past, so that teachers, knowing that pupils are likely to be withdrawn, may make their work of value in itself up to that point. It has also been suggested that the vertical lines which so often divide a Latin course into translation, grammar and so on and make it artificial and formal, may well be abolished in practice.

The point of departure from which the argument will be developed further is that Latin is a language which was and is used for the expression of thought and feeling; in that case experience of the language itself is the surest way to the mastery of it. This is not the doctrine that, since the Roman boy learnt Latin by experience of it, the English boy must learn Latin by the same experience, for he cannot be exposed to the same number or kind of experiences as the Roman boy, nor has he the motive to express himself in Latin that the Roman boy had when learning to talk. All that is meant is that the Latin appropriate to any stage of the course must first have been seen as an expression of thought and feeling in language before the language is resolved into various elements for purposes of study.

The main motive with which anyone learns a language is to find out what it is saying; and, unless we are to accept the view that children learn all the time under compulsion, this should be true of the pupil beginning


[page 10]

Latin. This motive must be exploited at once; if it is recognised as a prime motive, and if it finds satisfaction from the earliest stages, it is likely to persist to the later stages. How a language says something is not the first consideration in a child's mind; and to concentrate on how a language says something not worth saying is to take away from the study of language a main motive in undertaking it, and with the removal of a main motive the study becomes unreasonable. This is not to deny that the study of the form of a language has its own very important place.

The Latin reader as the basis of teaching: its choice

These are some of the fundamental reasons - other reasons will become apparent later - why the Latin material, whether made-up Latin, or simplified text or unabridged author, is the basis on which the rest of the work is built up; composition, vocabulary, grammar will all be closely related to it. Hence the importance of the right 'reader' or author.

Here it will be convenient to treat the first two years of Latin separately. The justification for this is that in general a reader consisting of made-up Latin will be in use for this period.

The reader can consist of continuous matter from the very earliest lessons. The sentences will naturally be brief; but brief sentences which are related to one another to make a paragraph of continuous sense are better than brief sentences isolated as regards matter. The subject-matter should be Roman in character - descriptions of Roman life, public and private, historical episodes, stories of great characters and so on - even more than stories from Greek mythology; and certainly rather than modern anecdotes, often with a humour which does not appeal to a child, or fairy tales presented in Latin dress. A valuable background of Roman institutions and habits can be furnished in this way; moreover such matter introduces the very Latin words with which it is most desired that pupils should be familiar, the words which denote typically Roman ideas and have passed into our language. The reader is discussed further on page 20.

The variety of work based upon the reader

Experience of the Latin given in the reader will precede any elaborate analytical presentation of forms or usage, and will furnish the material for exercises or drill; after this experience may come any formal analysis or synthesis which may be necessary. Thus the Latin material may be put to a variety of uses, and a lesson will, as a rule, contain various types of work - which in itself is a good thing. Some of these uses may perhaps be indicated here, and discussed more fully later.

Pronunciation and quantity are best learnt from the teacher, who must clearly distinguish between long and short vowels and insist on a like clear


[page 11]

distinction on the part of his pupils. The passage is best read aloud by the teacher first, so that correct phrasing and intonation may be a help to apprehension of meaning. After a pupil has understood the passage, and that will generally be after translation, it is desirable that he should read it aloud intelligently; and a passage should be a reasonably long unit. Even in the elementary stages of translation there is room for choice in the rendering of words. A sentence or two will sum up the situation of summarise the argument; this may be done in English, but at all stages can be done in Latin, if the habit has been acquired in the first year. New grammatical forms will be related to known grammatical forms, analysis being used when it is a help, and will be placed in the schematic arrangements of their form - declension or conjugation - and repeated or rehearsed in 'chorus' as soon as the piece has been read. A set sentence or two in English may be turned back into Latin, whether orally or on paper. Phrases must be ready on the tip of the tongue and dependence on grammar book and printed or written vocabulary avoided. (See p. 33). Suitable English words derived from Latin words will be discussed, and word-groups formed; change of meaning or association can be noted and something of what is meant by the history of words can be shown. Subject-matter can be discussed and expanded, agreement or disagreement with the modern practice or point of view noted and familiar matter derived from the pupils' general experience or other lessons can be related to a classical background. Pictures can well be used for these purposes.

It is not always realised how much variety of method is possible in the early stages of a Latin course, and how many lines of interest may be opened up, provided that the Latin reader is made the basis of the work; resourcefulness has often been cramped by too exclusive attention to a 'firm foundation of grammar' and by an approach to the subject through the English-Latin sentence.

It is true that a 'firm foundation of grammar' is necessary, but while it is vital that it should be firm it should not be broader than is needed for building upon at the moment. The approach through the English-Latin sentence has long been tried and with the majority of pupils has been found to be ineffective and slow; it has left no room for the resourcefulness which can adopt a more natural approach to a language and in turn lay down tracks which will lead to matters of permanent interest and value.

Some 'values' in elementary Latin

Even in two years of Latin, much that is of permanent interest and value should be introduced, since a large part of the tradition of English life, character and, especially, language is based upon Roman and Latin origins. Immediate contact with these classical elements, gained by means


[page 12]

of even a little knowledge of the Latin language, should impart reality and depth to much of the pupils' experience in other work - in English literature, for example, in French or in history.

To indicate very briefly what is meant: pupils of 11 to 14 when learning 'English' may well be encouraged to relate to one root various English compound words which contain it - object, project, projectile, abject, and so on -, but to relate them to a common element which is known as a common element only in the English words themselves is not very illuminating. Again, the first and simpler meaning is apparent in an English word if its Latin origin is known; and, if this word has been encountered in a Latin context, the English word gains in associations which enrich its meaning. To a pupil of 12 or so who has not learnt Latin, 'republic' means 'a state not ruled by a king'; but it means very much more to a pupil who has seen the word in its Latin form used in a story which illustrates its essential meaning. This is not the place in which to enlarge upon the importance of a rich content in words, if thought is to be clear and vigorous and if language is to be correctly interpreted; but at any rate the kind of experience indicated above undoubtedly helps to create an attitude of critical detachment towards words and gives the feeling that words have an individuality and history of their own and can be and must be studied if thought is to be apprehended and expressed. Again, a pupil of the age in mind is often required in history lessons to give time to the civilisations of the ancient world, and, when English history is begun, some attention, varying in thoroughness and range, is given to Romano-British civilisation. If, however, a few people from that vast procession can be made, as it were, to pause and to talk to a modern child about matters which are still alive in current thought and institutions, using a language which he can realise is in part the parent of his own and, still more, of the other foreign language he is learning - then the gain to 'reality' in the several subjects is very great; and in such a reality is to be found some mitigation of the 'departmentalism' which too easily breaks up the coherence of the middle-school course.

In the early stages of Latin it is the by-products which are valuable, and the by-products are many and varied. In so far as some of them can be realised, two years of elementary Latin are justified for those who then abandon it; for those who continue it, a good start has been made, and the value of the course is enhanced out of all proportion to the value of the first two years. That pupils should end their Latin course after two years is not the ideal state of affairs; but it is preferable to the retaining of pupils who cannot benefit by the later years, and can be justified by due care in making the content of the initial course valuable. If it is asked what is the ideal state of affairs, the answer can only be that each school must decide


[page 13]

what is best according to its conditions. If it can decide in advance which pupils will benefit by the study of Latin for four or five years, then the shedding of pupils (apart perhaps from exceptional cases) will be unnecessary. On the other hand, if during the progress of the course it is discovered that there are pupils who are not deriving benefit from it, they should be transferred elsewhere not at many points but at one, namely the point at which the study begins to make its most exacting demands, the transition from simplified Latin to a real author; the course up to that point should be conceived and planned so as to realise its values from day to day. These values should be the same in kind as those realised by other pupils who complete a longer course; but naturally they will be achieved to a lesser extent and in slighter depth.

Nothing in what has been said above should be taken as advocating, as a desirable aim, a two-year course in Latin for a large proportion of unselected pupils, most of whom it is not intended to keep on into the later years of the course. If however the circumstances of a school make such a short course necessary, it must in fairness to the pupils be made as valuable as it is possible to make it, and the transfer of pupils to other work when it is finished should be effected with as little as possible of the implication of failure.

The later stages: some general observations

A course of Latin which has been so designed as to be of value in itself should put pupils into a position to begin the Latin of the next stage with confidence and with pleasurable anticipation. The stress hitherto has been on Latin-English, and progress has been by a series of carefully graded steps. In the later stages the stress will still be on Latin-English, but the problems are more complicated, and in practice the third year proves the most difficult. Some conditions may be briefly reviewed.

At this stage pupils are often more rigorously selected, and this in itself may make for greater pace and accuracy. In some bigger schools, especially where Latin is alternative to some other subject, division into graded sets may also make for homogeneous teaching groups. A class may now have acquired a good knowledge of the regular accidence and may have learnt some Latin by heart. It may be possessed also of certain attitudes of mind, bringing to its work, for example, a belief that Latin talks sense, a confidence in tackling translation, or an understanding of what is meant by mastery and an ideal of accuracy. On the other hand there are formidable new tasks. Hitherto the Latin reading matter has been specially written or adapted. Real authors are now to be undertaken; prose sentences become more complex and their structure further removed from the English idiom; translation therefore makes greater


[page 14]

demands; verse with its new vocabulary and different order and idiom presents new difficulties; accidence now takes in irregular forms, and composition involves a wider range of construction. And perhaps it may be added that at this stage the guidance of the inclusive 'course-book' properly comes to an end, and an inexperienced and unresourceful teacher feels the loss of it and is uncertain how to proceed.

On this it may be remarked:

(i) that pupils who have been given in the early stages as large as possible an experience of Latin, as opposed to English-Latin exercises, find the difficulties of the stage under consideration less formidable than do other pupils. They have a power of attack which helps them forward, and their greater familiarity with Latin words as expressing thought enables them to tackle more difficult translation with greater confidence.

(ii) that the temptation to allow the teaching of Latin to break up into the teaching of different elements of Latin becomes greatest here and is particularly to be withstood. In particular, unity is broken when, as sometimes unfortunately happens, different sections of the work are in the hands of different teachers. Books may multiply; the manual of composition may now take an independent place and so composition be divorced from the Latin being read. The practice of 'unseens', again with a separate manual, is in danger of creating a further department; while the desire to introduce pupils to verse authors and to give variety to reading (without undue expenditure on books) may lead to the use of a volume of excerpts bearing no relation to one another in content. All of these practices may be justified individually, but at the same time the unity of the work must be preserved. The overriding consideration is that all effort expended on Latin should be devoted to carrying forward a common stock of knowledge, each type of work drawing upon that stock and adding to it, and again employing it for different purposes and in different ways, so making it a whole. There is danger in following parallel paths which may never meet within the area likely to be covered by, at any rate, the majority of pupils.

The possibility of alternative courses

Hitherto it has been suggested that, if Latin is to be dropped by some pupils, it should not be dropped before the end of the second year. But in schools with a five-year Latin course or in public schools, which presuppose a course of Latin in preparatory schools, the question arises (perhaps it should arise more often) whether there should not be an opportunity of giving up Latin later, but still before the end of the middle school. Undoubtedly many boys have suffered from continued study of a


[page 15]

language they could not understand; it is to their interest, and to the interest of classical studies, that they should not pursue it further - certainly not on the same lines as their more successful companions. On the other hand there are many boys to whom composition is the sole obstacle. They would continue with interest and profit the reading of texts with special emphasis on subject-matter, and less on minutiae of language, together with a complementary study of Roman civilisation - sometimes, perhaps, if local circumstances were favourable, with reference to Roman Britain. It would be essential to the sincerity of the work that such study of aspects of Roman civilisation should spring from the Latin chosen for reading and should not be dependent upon the use of brief manuals. Some of these pupils would perhaps go on to various types of modern studies in the sixth form, and after such a treatment of Latin in the upper forms of the middle school Latin might well be retained on similar lines as a sixth form subject in combination with modern subjects, whether with or without an examination in view. Encouragement has been given to such courses by examination syllabuses in, for instance, History with Foreign Texts, for which classical and mediaeval Latin may be offered. (See further p. 62).

Oral and written work

It is astonishing that in the teaching of a language so little attention should have been given to the hearing and utterance of it as a necessary part in learning it. The appeal has been too much to the eye, too little to the ear; and this has been due to a belief that the learning of Latin is largely a matter of the visual memory. Memory, of course, plays an important part in the learning of any language; but the undue emphasis laid upon the printed book and the written exercise has led to a neglect of aural memory and to a lack of resource in treatment. The experience of Latin should come to the pupil partly through the eye, partly through the ear, though individual pupils will vary in their response to each appeal. At present both teacher and pupil generally utter too little Latin in the classroom and certainly the pupil utters too little Latin with his eyes off the book. It is fair to say that in every Latin lesson some connected Latin words and phrases should be spoken and heard.

Frequent reading aloud of the Latin reader or author by the teacher and frequent oral use of this material by teacher and pupil are essential if the pupil is to gain correct ideas on pronunciation and quantity, or to acquire the power to 'get his tongue round the words'. Only so can he gain facility in uttering them to himself mentally, or learn to phrase Latin intelligently, or to carry in the head a group of words expressing a thought, or to become supple in putting words together to express a thought, or


[page 16]

even to believe that Latin was and is a means of oral communication. In all this training, the example of clear and correct speech, with accurate quantities, must be set by the teacher.

The marked inability of many boys to take in by ear a few easy Latin words which when seen written are well within their power suggests that teaching has often denied to itself advantages which come from a combination of oral and written work. Excessive written work leads to many ills. It is a frequent cause of too great reliance on books and their aids and too little on memory; exercises done before it is sufficiently proved that new matter has been understood; mistakes lying uncorrected for some time; uneconomic use of time and effort; wasteful and unsure methods of correction; slow pace, monotony, and consequent distaste for the subject. But this is not to deny that there is a place for written work.

It should perhaps be said here, to guard against misunderstanding, that teaching which employs oral methods freely does not necessarily employ the 'direct method'; while the term 'direct' implies 'oral', 'oral' does not necessarily imply 'direct'. The work of pioneers in reviving this direct method (for it was the method normally in use among the early humanists) has served a very valuable purpose in emphasising the vital importance of oral work. In its extreme form, however, it demands a combination of scholarship, histrionic powers and energy which only exceptional teachers can hope to possess. In the hands of a few such teachers, it has produced striking results; but for most people it will probably be better not to spend long on the rather un-typical vocabulary and sometimes unduly youthful dramatisations which the full doctrine seems to demand, but to insist that good typical Latin is read aloud, spoken and manipulated in class.

The problem of mastery

In the foregoing paragraphs it has been suggested that there is not one body of Latin which must be appropriated in its entirety by all pupils learning Latin; the values of learning Latin may be capitalised from stage to stage and in their progressive realisation may be made to be worth the time and effort given to the subject. It has been suggested, too, that only so much matter need be learnt as is necessary for use at the moment.

This kind of adjustment of content to immediate needs has sometimes given rise to the fear that Latin is somehow to be diluted, that it has given up insistence on accuracy and care and so has lost its 'disciplinary value'.

If 'disciplinary value' means storing away in the memory forms which are not related to any stage of work which the majority of pupils will reach, then there may well be less of it. But the adjustment of content to real needs does not mean that the content has not to be mastered; indeed it might be maintained that the possibility of mastery is thereby increased.


[page 17]

Latin must exact at all stages a good standard of accuracy if it is to be successful; it cannot be satisfied with approximation or 'atmosphere'. If - given the required ability and industry in a class - the content of a course or a syllabus or a homework cannot be mastered, the content needs to be reduced.

Clearly 'mastery' cannot bear the same meaning in every element of Latin teaching - every page of a reader will not demand the same kind of mastery as a page of a grammar - but in the parts of Latin which, as it were, correspond with the multiplication table, half-knowledge and hesitation are as useless as in the multiplication table itself. The strength of Latin teaching in some quarters has been its 'thoroughness', but thoroughness has too often been combined with unreality. The giving of reality need not lead to less thoroughness. In fact, it is reasonable to hope that a background of reality, by stimulating interest, will lead pupils the more surely to habits of accuracy.




[page 18]

PART III

The Teaching of Latin and Greek: More Detailed Considerations

THE EARLIER STAGES OF LATIN

The foregoing pages may have contained matter of interest to others besides classical teachers; what follows is directed primarily to those engaged in the teaching of classics in the classroom. It must, however, be stated at the outset that the following pages do not claim to cover the whole field of classical teaching nor to raise the many problems of detail with which every teacher is familiar and which in the last resort only he can solve; still less is it their aim to replace the independence of the teacher by any cut and dried scheme of teaching. The intention is rather to indicate lines of thought upon selected topics, in the hope that reflection upon them may increase the resourcefulness of the teacher and so help him in the solution of his own problems.

The use of a syllabus

It is usual for the content of a course to be included in a syllabus; sometimes the syllabus is carried in the head, sometimes it is committed to a single sheet or to many sheets. The main purpose of a syllabus is to give guidance to one or several teachers so that instruction may be systematically planned and cooperatively carried out; and some such statement of aim and method may be considered necessary where several teachers are engaged.

Sometimes a syllabus is of little use to those who work to it because some essentials are missing from it. A syllabus is a hope for the future based upon a philosophy of teaching which is revised in the light of experience; it can be of no value if it is a pious aspiration bearing no relation to facts or a neat document kept in a drawer for state occasions. It must start from a definite conception of the end in view at each stage, of the aims and of the order of priority among them; and after taking into account the data - the quality of the pupils, the capacities and virtues of the teachers involved and so on - should define clearly the means to attain those aims. It should be conceived, first, not in terms of pages of a book, and still less as a restatement of the syllabus of an external examination;


[page 19]

but in terms of skill in Latin suitable to a given stage; after that, reference to pages of a textbook can be made, but still the syllabus will include many Latin words. However self-sufficient a course-book is adopted, it is not enough to divide a year's work as follows: 1st term pp. 1-69; 2nd term pp. 70-140; 3rd term pp. 141-218. Other questions must be raised and answered - 'What new processes must be introduced?' 'What old process should be kept in play?' 'What can be omitted from the book?' 'What is not adequately dealt with?' 'What needs alteration?' 'In view of the nature of the later work or textbooks, ought more stress to be laid on such and such a point or should we adopt in this matter a different terminology or explanation?' 'What words or principal parts must be known by heart and used in composition?' 'Which words is it enough to "recognise" only?' To answer such questions the syllabus will have to enter into detail, and may even contain supplementary notes on terminology or the treatment of, say, gerund and gerundive, so that there may be uniformity or simplicity of treatment. And the syllabus will be a minimum syllabus. 'Whatever else is known, this at least must be known and may be assumed by those responsible for the succeeding stages'. And all the time the syllabus will be revised in the light of experience; indeed some teachers turn the syllabus into a record of actual achievement, keeping in a parallel column a log or diary of work done.

Pronunciation

The great majority of schools now use the 'restored' pronunciation of Latin, which was put forward by the Cambridge Philological Society in 1887, adopted in 1906 by the Classical Association and recommended in 1907 (Circular 555, re-issued as Circular 707 in 1909) by the Board of Education. The Council of the Classical Association appealed 'to all classical teachers in the United Kingdom to adopt the method of pronunciation here set forth and by so doing to remove the diversities and ambiguities of practice which have long been a serious obstacle at every stage and especially at the early stages of classical study in this country'. Attention is again drawn to the desirability of a single system of pronunciation throughout the country, and, still more urgently, of consistency within each school.

The teaching of accent and quantity depends less upon formal rule or drill than upon correct pronunciation by the teacher and imitation by the pupil. The important points are that the teacher's example should leave the pupil in no doubt about the quantities of the vowels or the place of the accent; and that in turn the pupil should not be allowed to pronounce Latin as though these matters were immaterial. Reading aloud and oral methods of composition will help to fix correct pronunciation in the minds


[page 20]

of a class. But a warning may be given here against the practice of permitting pupils to stress the last syllable of words when they are learning and reciting 'grammar'. The tendency is intelligible enough, but steps should be taken to counteract it. The importance of correct quantity and stress for the appreciation or rhythm in prose and metre in verse is clear.

As regards 'hidden quantities' (that is to say, the intrinsic length of vowels preceding two or more consonants), it is suggested that a teacher who wishes to observe them should have made some study of the matter and should not in an arbitrary fashion choose some for observance and neglect others. Correctness in revealed quantities is of prior importance and at present it will still provide enough concern to the majority of teachers. Whether hidden or revealed, correct quantities, like correct pronunciation, will best be taught by example and learnt by unconscious imitation.

Reading and translation

The position to be occupied by a study of a reader or author, and by translation into English, is necessarily central; chiefly on such grounds as these:

(i) The first motive in studying a language is to acquire power to take in thoughts expressed in that language, to understand what the author has to say. The purpose of the teaching is not primarily to produce facility in using the language but to study an ethos through its language. Therefore the thoughts expressed, the historical events described, the social, political and moral situations presented, must be so selected as to be valuable in themselves. The author must say something worth saying.

(ii) The second main motive is to discover the particular ways in which the language expresses thought and to compare the language in this respect with languages already spoken or being learned. By means of such study and comparison the particular ways in which another language, and particularly the mother tongue, expresses thought may be understood and appraised; hence they will be used with a gradually increased awareness of their exact meaning, their implications, associations and, possibly, shortcomings. The transferring of thought with exactness from one language to another as a formal study is of fundamental importance as a means of enriching and clarifying thought and giving life and meaning to forms of expression.

(iii) To these points may be added others of a more technical nature; range of vocabulary is best acquired through meeting words in a context; the significance of word-endings and the usage of syntactical constructions are most easily grasped when these are constantly displayed in a


[page 21]

setting of Latin. One of the main tasks which confront the learner of a highly inflected language is the association of the form of a word with its function; much progress has been made and the way prepared for more when it is instantaneously recognised that a particular ending denotes that the word fulfils a particular function in a sentence - or at least one of a limited number of possible functions. Familiarity with the idea of the relation between form and function and automatic association of one with the other will come most naturally from seeing words functioning in a context; hence sufficient experience of Latin is indispensable at any stage, and is a logical preliminary to composition.

The importance of the reader or author needs emphasis at the present moment, for it has perhaps been allowed to be obscured by other considerations. In the first place the claims of grammar and of composition have in some quarters overridden the primary and obvious claims of the reader. Taking advantage of the very real power of pupils of 10 years or so to learn material by heart, teachers have often unduly neglected the Latin reader or author, forgetting that it alone can give sense or reason to the grammatical forms they are teaching. Or again, others have found that definite achievement in Latin can be brought about and measured in pupils by teaching Latin through the medium of English-Latin composition; if a boy can translate four or five English words into correct Latin that at any rate is something that represents a positive achievement, whereas to attack an easy Latin passage and translate it into English demands, it is felt, a less vigorous effort and success in it is less easy to assess. So the reader lies in the desk unused or is not even ordered from the bookshop. It is true that by teaching Latin through the English-Latin sentence very definite achievement can be and has been brought about; but this is by no means always so. At best the method is slow, too often it has been satisfied with a low percentage of accuracy, and it is often dangerously dull for all but the few boys who have an unusual interest in the logico-grammatical approach to a language. Above all, to the pupil the study does not carry its own justification from day to day; there is nothing very desirable in an ability to gather together some Latin words from a printed vocabulary and to put them together correctly according to rules given in a manual of composition. As a handmaid to the study of Latin, composition has its own valuable place, but to exalt it to first rank, particularly in the early stages, is to put second things first.

Not only the importance of the use of the reader, but also the importance of translating it into English, needs emphasis, because in some quarters reaction against methods of teaching Latin which give first place to grammar and composition has induced the belief that, so long as the thought of a passage has been understood, translation is unnecessary. Now


[page 22]

it may be admitted that 'construe' has often been an unintelligent process, a rendering of words without consideration of meaning; that pupils must be trained to master the thought of a passage and that skilful questioning will often reveal whether they are attending, to the thought behind the words; that a real and legitimate aim is a training in power so to comprehend Latin that translation becomes superfluous and possibly indeed an obstruction to just appreciation. But to translate and to construe are not synonymous terms, nor should comprehension be attained at the expense of translation; the actual process of translation is in itself of value for exact comprehension of thought, and the varied lines of reflection which the process opens up add something which can be gained in no other way.

At the same time there is little doubt that the process of transferring thought from one language to another has not always been undertaken with the care which gives to it its own unique value. Pupils have often reached the state of mind which regards 'deviation into sense' as a rare phenomenon in Latin; 'translationese' has been coined as a new word and has become a by-word; oral translation has been so often interrupted by correction and question that the translator seldom if ever utters a complete English sentence and so certainly loses interest in the sequence of thought. Yet it is certain that, if Latin is to be justified by values which are not confined to gaining facility in Latin, the utmost care must be expended upon the process of translation and the quality of the result. If translation from Latin is to be of benefit to 'English' in its broadest sense - and it may be of supreme value - the effort must be expended to make it so.

Some suggestions on method in translation

Though the large problem of translation cannot be fully discussed here, the following suggestions may be made in outline:

(i) Continuous passages of Latin should be used as early in the course as possible, and experience shows that they can be used in the first few weeks of Latin.

(ii) Clearly not all teachers will look for the same qualities in a reader; but the following are points to consider. Continuous matter is better than isolated sentences; there is no reason why even in elementary stages simple subordinate clauses involving the indicative should not be employed; they cause no trouble to the beginner and by their aid the reader can gain in resourcefulness and liveliness. The gradient of difficulty should not be too steep; revision of vocabulary, form or construction should be automatic, a given word or usage recurring a number of times at not too long intervals; words should in the main be selected which are


[page 23]

likely to be of value in Latin reading; the number of new words introduced into a new lesson should not be too great, and the total number to be employed in a year's work should be carefully assessed in relation to actual practice. A progressive scheme of accidence and syntax should be envisaged as the framework of the reader. The print should be good, the lay-out clear and emphatic, but not such as to lend aid where aid is not desirable (e.g. in vocabularies at the head of a piece), maps clear and illustrations authentic and well-produced, long quantities marked; the vocabularies printed at the end should show genitives and principal parts in intelligible form; the price should be reasonable and the weight not too great for the daily journey to and from school.

(iii) The choice of reader and author for the various stages of a course of Latin, and the appropriate moment for the change from reader to author, will naturally be determined by the school. As a general working rule it may be said that, given five or more periods in the first two years with pupils of reasonable ability, the reader of made-up Latin should have served its purpose by the end of two years. The third year may be begun with a few simplified passages of a prose author, if desired, but, a change should quickly be made to the whole text. At some point in this year, continuous passages of verse, generally in the form of a selection, will probably be undertaken; a line or two may have been learnt by heart almost from the beginning so as to make transition from prose to verse appear less formidable and to give a progressive experience of the rhythm. There is much to be said for selections from prose authors too, but only if the pieces are of substantial length. In the fourth year, it will be natural to read whole books or, if more variety is wanted, selections of passages of considerable length, chosen from not too wide a field. When unseens are taken for examination, it is a mistake to concentrate on the reading of short passages by way of preparation. If a fifth year is available, it is highly important that the longer course should cover more ground than the four years' course. The extra time so afforded will be given to further reading of authors; the wider experience of Latin, as regards both language and thought, will result in maturer work, particularly in the lower sixth form.

(iv) In all stages of the course, and particularly in the early stages, Latin should be read aloud. A passage which it is proposed to translate in form or set for preparation, when pupils can profit from such a task, should first be read, sometimes for than once, by the teacher; the greatest care should be given to phrasing and emphasis - which may even be exaggerated, if necessary - and to intonation and quantity. Reading aloud by the pupil will best come when the passage has been understood in translation; correct phrasing and intelligent expression may then


[page 24]

reasonably be expected and insisted on. Little but harm can come from the halting and meaningless reading of a passage by a pupil who does not understand it. Time given to correct reading aloud by master and pupil is not wasted. The pupil will thus gain the attitude of mind which regards Latin as something to be treated as an intelligent expression of thought rather than a meaningless agglomeration of words; pronunciation, including quantity, will be learned almost unconsciously, and considerable help to understanding will be given by tone and emphasis.

(v) The training of pupils to approach translation by analysis of the Latin and by rules such as 'first find the verb' seems to have been carried too far. If careful reading of a substantial piece of Latin (which in itself will train pupils to read the Latin carefully for themselves at a more advanced stage) regularly precedes translation, considerable success will be achieved in training them to take in the thought in the order in which it is presented in the Latin; it will be found that the Latin order Is not only the order of ideas but very often the order of the English translation; in any case very slight adaptation (as, for example, turning active into passive) will give satisfactory English. Translation of matter taken in by ear alone is a valuable exercise in this connection. The importance of such training cannot be overestimated; the pupil so trained regards Latin as a reasonable language and not as an arbitrarily complicated puzzle; he becomes familiar with the run of a Latin sentence and gains speed and confidence in attack upon a passage of Latin. He utters the words with correct accent and quantity. Various stages of training will no doubt suggest themselves; e.g. reading aloud by the teacher with less and less exaggerated emphasis, the omission of a difficult phrase or clause on a first reading so that the general hang of the main thought may be grasped; at a later stage experiment in making pupils read aloud a new passage may be encouraged; and at all stages, whether teacher or pupil is reading, the class follows the reading - sometimes with books open, sometimes with books covered, as seems appropriate to circumstances. The repetition of phrases and sentences already read may be asked for; in fact every method of training pupils to grasp and to utter thought units - whether phrase or sentence - will amply repay the time and trouble given to it.

But to adopt every means to make this approach to translation successful does not preclude the use of some kind of analytical method when necessary, and there are occasions when this is essential in a language which often forms complex constructions. But in actual fact, if pupils are trained to tackle a Latin passage in the order of the Latin words, not much more than a hint or two as to the grammatical structure will be found to be necessary, unless the structure is obviously too hard for them. Many phrases will be apprehended as units even though their relation to


[page 25]

one another may not at once be grasped, and the explanation of their relation will be all the simpler, since it will deal with phrases already apprehended as units rather than with words treated individually,

Again, there comes the point at which the long periodic sentence is encountered for the first time and some kind of analytical process may be considered advisable or essential. A little preparation may then save much time and trouble and lead to a more confident attack than a severe analysis word by word. It is suggested that the long sentence may first be experimented with in English; pupils may build a series of simple English sentences into a natural complex sentence or may break down a complicated English period into its component simple sentences and re-build it. A teacher foreseeing a long sentence in the translation book might prepare for it by writing on the board its component parts as a series of simple sentences; these would be linked up, some of the sentences becoming subordinate clauses, till the Latin period were reconstructed; subordinate clauses would then be rubbed off till only the main sentence were left, and the subordinate clauses again added. All this would be done orally with the cooperation of the class. Consistent practice in approaching the reader in the order of the Latin words, together with exercises of this kind at the stage of transition to Caesar, would train pupils to attack the Latin of an author in its own word-order and at the same time render them capable of calling in the help of an analytical method where necessary.

(vi) It may be suggested here that particularly at certain stages - as in the transition to real Latin or to a difficult author or to verse from prose - it is very important that before a passage is set for preparation something should have been done in class to break it up for the pupil, for nothing is more depressing to him than to attempt a passage and to be unable for lack of a hint or two to make anything of it. Clearly self-reliance and a real attempt to wrestle with the difficulties must be encouraged; but sometimes a sentence or clause is too difficult for a class and judicious help given in class before the 'preparation' of a passage is demanded may let in daylight without destroying enterprise and self-help.

(vii) A habit which can be encouraged even at the early stages, is the use of alternative English words as translations of Latin words; pupils should associate a Latin word with an idea, not with a particular English word, so that the process of translation may gain in suppleness. Naturally in the earliest stages a Latin word will be represented by an English word, but there should be a progressive expansion of the meaning of the word and so a tendency to substitute an idea for a word; in other words, training in the use of 'equivalents' is to be avoided. At the same time there is need of


[page 26]

discretion. Equus is undoubtedly 'a horse' and to ask for the translation of it to be varied with 'steed; or 'mount' would be the worst training, even though it is true that the English language prefers greater variety than Latin. But there is no reason why praeclarus should always be 'famous' or petere be 'to seek', or imperare 'to order', or proficisci 'to set out'. Much of the trouble encountered at a later stage in securing reasonably fluent and natural translation is due to acquiescence in 'equivalents'. It may be added that often the equivalents are by no means the best or the most natural to a boy or girl (as 'zeal' for studium), and that 'by' or 'with' or 'from' will not translate every ablative or 'of' every genitive or an English nominative absolute a Latin ablative absolute. Resourcefulness must be encouraged as soon as possible.

(viii) The transferring of thought from Latin into English is clearly an exercise in English as much as in Latin; words must be selected and arranged to make sentences and paragraphs, emphasis and balance must be observed, and clarity of expression achieved. Sometimes the close relation between the two subjects is ignored; the Latin teacher is unaware of what instruction is being given in formal 'English' lessons, and the English teacher regards as a matter of indifference to him the training in English which translation from Latin affords. Yet the aims of both teachers are much the same; and the intimate connection between the two subjects is recognised and valued so much in some schools that at some points in the course they are taught by the same teacher. In any case, nothing but good can come for teachers and pupils if close cooperation between the two teachers is maintained.

(ix) Perhaps the greatest obstacle to fluent translation is the liability to interruption which a pupil experiences at the hands of a keen teacher anxious to prevent mistakes of to secure satisfactory renderings. Yet, if he is to gain a just standard of translation and if translation is to be of value to him as an exercise in English composition and style, it is vital that he should be in a position to estimate his own efforts. It is better to let roughness of translation or inadequate renderings pass for the moment; the silence of the teacher will often make a pupil more conscious of his own inadequacy than much correction, which is often discounted by the pupil as fussiness, unnecessary but to be tolerated. Above all, while translation as such is in progress, interruptions to test knowledge of principal parts or ability to explain a construction or attach a label to a case-usage should be avoided; there is a place for such exercises or tests but not as an interruption to translation. After a pupil has himself translated a sentence or a passage, it may then be revised with his own and the class's cooperation; roughnesses may be smoothed away and more suitable renderings pro-


[page 27]

posed; and the same or another pupil may run over it again. Much 'translationese' would disappear if pupils were given the opportunity to become conscious of their own renderings, and to see their inadequacy not as expressions of the thought of the original but simply as English sentences correct in form or satisfactory in sense. The habit of interrupted translation is in part responsible for the too common attitude of mind which is satisfied with nonsensical renderings or indeed is so concerned with the rendering of word for word as not to realise that the rendering of the passage as a whole makes nonsense.

It is an excellent practice to ask for a summary of the thought of a few lines or of a passage from time to time when the thought suggests a natural pause. The progress of a narrative or the development of the argument may be summarised in English or Latin; the pupils are then not allowed to lose the thought through preoccupation with the language, and the practice is obviously a useful exercise in selecting the important points and in expressing them.

(x) The writing out of translation at home to make sure that new work has been prepared is generally more productive of ill than good. If it is done, clearly the scripts must be most carefully corrected and returned, and except very occasionally the exercise is not worth all the trouble which it must involve to be of any value. On the other hand there is something to be said for occasionally asking a form to translate on paper in school a short passage already dealt with, and still more for working out a translation on the blackboard by cooperative effort, pupils suggesting renderings and criticising and accepting or rejecting them. Or pupils may be asked each to undertake a finished translation of a separate passage as a literary exercise.

(xi) It is the practice in some schools to permit or to encourage or to wink at the writing out by the pupils themselves of a translation of a book - especially a verse book - specially prepared for examination. Sometimes the translation is dictated by the teacher, before or after pupils have worked on a passage, a method which, while securing accuracy, involves much expenditure of time. Sometimes pupils are permitted to jot down a translation during the lesson; or sometimes a rough written version of the passage set for the following day is made at home and corrected in the course of the lesson. But the objections to all forms of this practice are in the main the same: self-reliance is discouraged, for the prop of the translation will always be relied upon; all passages in the book are thus assumed to be equally difficult and equally beyond the power of the pupil; the attention of the class cannot be given to the lesson as a whole, and, unless the version is dictated by the teacher, the pupils take down a rough, often


[page 28]

ungrammatical, translation which they read and re-read when the time for revision comes; what they presume to be a model becomes in fact a main cause of their unintelligent and often un-English translations.

If a translation is to be made available to pupils during revision, a printed translation of real merit is clearly the best. Good translations of many classical authors are now readily obtainable at modest prices and in a form far removed from the one-time furtive 'crib'. If the teacher is to dictate a version, he should confine it to a few really difficult passages, and it should have been worked out with the class on the first reading of the book. At all costs the jotting down of translation during a lesson is to be discouraged.

(xii) When set books are prepared for examination, some teachers feel it necessary to begin them in the year preceding that of the examination. A preparation of three terms should usually be enough. The class begins the study of a new author with some feeling of interest, and it is important that this interest should be maintained and indeed increased as the strangeness of style and vocabulary wears off. The set book, too, should be tackled with greater confidence if previous reading has been fairly extensive. But the reading of the books should not be hurried, and there should be some time for the revision of certain passages; the knowledge that there is time for this gives confidence to the teacher and the class.

The successful treatment of set books depends to a great extent upon the teacher's preparation of them. It is not enough to be able to construe the book, to have ready to hand details of the author's life and times, and to be up in literary or historical allusions. Nor is the best preparation of set books or authors necessarily that which includes the making of notes to be dictated to a class. Indeed it is broadly possible to say that in the best kind of preparation few notes are made and certainly none dictated. The first aim of the teacher's preparation is to understand and appreciate the book as a piece of literature - as great poetry or as a fine historical document, as a work of art taking its place among works of its own kind. This involves reading on the teacher's part beyond the covers of the 'book'; but this reading is undertaken not that it may be unloaded upon a class quite unready for it, but that it may affect the teacher's attitude to the book and his treatment of it. From his wider knowledge will come a new zest and a new sense of control; his pupils will feel that he has reserves of strength, whether of knowledge or feeling, on which he and they can draw at odd moments, in answer to odd questions, and this will make all the difference between a live and a dead-alive handling of the book. His preparation will be seen not in sets of notes, but in the quality of his, comment and so indirectly in the quality of the questions put to him by his pupils.

He will not be satisfied, for example, with the school edition of a book


[page 29]

of the Aeneid but must read a scholarly work of interpretation; he cannot be satisfied with one book of the poem but must know the whole. This will take him to Homer, read in translation if need be. One translation of his book of Virgil will not be enough; he should taste the distinctive flavours of several. The epic as a literary type will interest him and he must read something of what English literature can offer him in this field. At the beginning of the term he may ask himself what has been the value of his reading; if, when the term came to an end, he asked his pupils the same question, probably they could not tell him, but they could at least assure him that they had enjoyed their set book. Or with a book of Caesar: the campaign as a whole, the geography, the problems confronting Caesar, the character of the Gauls, the modern towns and communications, the Roman civilisation of the provinces - such topics followed up will reveal as a graphic narrative a book which is too often treated merely as a tissue of grammatical examples.

In the classroom, it is suggested, less haste may make for more speed. On the whole, the author himself does not interest pupils greatly at the beginning of the book, though they may gain interest in him as they read. It is the story that matters, and it is a good thing to make certain that this is known. It is not enough that the reading of Book II of the Aeneid should be prefaced by a ten-line summary of Book I: parts should be read in translation; and if an English 'Story of the Aeneid' can be made available for the class, so much the better. Before the Latin text is approached, two or three hundred lines of the author could be read aloud in translation to give some feeling for the book; the first hundred lines of the actual set book might be read in class to give some insight into the language and a standard of translation. If two set books are taken, there is much to be said for spending some few weeks on the translation of a book, and omitting composition, and even grammar, for the time being, so that pace may be acquired. In the earliest stages the procedure might be somewhat as follows:- the master or a pupil reads the Latin of the last lesson and translates it; a brief summary is given by a pupil; the master or a pupil reads the Latin; the class 'gets up' the passage so prepared. Later, the class must prepare some new lines, provided no difficult piece follows. If the whole lesson cannot be revised next day, the last few lines should be revised, for they may be less familiar to the slower pupils. When a suitable break occurs, details of language may be discussed and a good translation read aloud.

(xiii) The branch of work known as 'unseen translation' is often treated too much as a special exercise to be given to a class when they have reached the stage of preparation for an external examination. It is sug-


[page 30]

gested here that the success of a class in 'unseens' depends very largely upon the kind of outlook and habits encouraged in earlier years. If from the beginning the distinction between 'prepared' and 'unprepared' translation were less clearly drawn when a carefully graduated reader were in use, a greater power of attack on Latin would be developed not only at that stage but also later. Many readers are now so compiled that much of the subject-matter is carried over from one passage to the next, and to ask pupils in class to continue translation into the following passage, without further explanation, is not to make undue demands on them. The practice of halting when the end of the passage is reached and requiring 'vocabulary' and 'notes' to be consulted before the next few lines can be undertaken is to destroy the power of direct assault upon Latin which should be a prime objective of training. The training of pupils in class to attempt new ground in a graduated reader, employing preferably the 'word-order' method, will create an attitude of mind which will be proof against the fright which is often the cause of difficulty in formal 'unseen translations'.

When the stage for practice in translating isolated pieces of Latin is reached, the following suggestions may perhaps be of use:

(a) The selected piece should be within the powers of the class; it is better that the piece should be too easy than too hard; the better pupils may be expected to spend the time which they gain over their slower fellows in more careful and idiomatic translation. Infinite harm has been done by setting pieces out of reach of most pupils and accepting a low standard of performance. The passage must be sufficiently within the powers of the class to rule out the possibility of the pupils' speaking or writing sheer nonsense, or leaving long blanks in their written version.

(b) There is in disconnected unseens no 'carry-over' from previously translated passages as regards content or special vocabulary. Many teachers therefore select as first exercises in unseen translation pieces similar in nature to the book which is being taken or has been read. (It is scarcely necessary to add that a verse author should have been read before verse unseens are set.) Again, a word or two in advance about the situation immediately preceding that of the selected piece is a valuable help which may be given till practice is gained.

(c) Practice could well be given in oral 'unseens' (or, even better, in rapid continuous reading) till the pupils have acquired some facility. On the other hand if the distinction between 'prepared' and 'unseen' translation is less clearly drawn in early years, the process


[page 31]

of attacking a new piece of Latin without aids will not be strange. But oral work must later give way to written work. At first a passage may be read aloud by' the teacher with perhaps exaggerated emphasis before the pupils are left alone; later the pupil must be relied upon to read the passage to himself.

(d) It is a good thing that occasionally the pupils and teacher should cooperatively go through the process of arguing from the known to the unknown. The teacher's superior knowledge must not at once be brought in to solve all problems; he must show how judgment must be suspended, possible alternatives kept in mind till the right choice becomes apparent from the context, or previous knowledge of fact or legend applied to meet new situations. His mind should be seen at work.

(e) 'Unseens' are often regarded as an isolated exercise, and it is supposed that, when the exercise has had the desired effect, the value of an unseen is exhausted. It may be suggested that a passage of unseen translation, if wisely chosen, is worth exploiting to the full so that it may contribute something positive to the general stock-in-trade which is being carried forward. The less the opportunity for any detailed instruction in Roman life, antiquities or history, the more important it is that the passages selected for unseen translation should give a variety of matter which invites comment. The utmost use may be made of such opportunities, and, as regards language also, new vocabulary or constructions may be taken up into the general stock and used in composition. It is also found useful to set as homework the general revision of a passage set some time before as an unseen.

(xiv) There is plenty of room for experiment in the quick reading of a relatively easy author in class, without previous preparation, as training in fluency and in the ability to understand Latin directly and not only by way of explicit translation. But even in such an exercise as this, it will probably be well to translate at any rate some passages, if only as a test of understanding.

Vocabulary

The problem of vocabulary is one which must engage the attention of all teachers of Latin. Of recent years compilers of 'readers' have paid regard to the number and type of words which it is desirable should be the basis of a pupil's Latin vocabulary, and by repeated use of them in the reading matter have endeavoured to make them familiar.

Vocabulary is acquired and made secure in the mind by constant repeti-


[page 32]

tion, by the grouping together of related words and by the associations or pictures which words carry. New words should be met first in a context of Latin and not in word-lists. In the early stages of learning Latin the meanings of some words must be given outright, for the pupils have not yet material to provide them with analogies as a means of deducing meaning. None the less even in the elementary stages every encouragement should be given to deduce meaning from context. A word is more surely remembered if it can be attached in some way to a pupil's experience; it gains in colour or individuality and ceases to be a mere 'equivalent'; association takes away something of its arbitrariness. The means employed to give individual quality to words will vary as teachers, pupils and words vary. The following list is made not as being exhaustive but as representative.

(a) Association of Latin words with French and English; this work can be of great service to English and Latin without any elaborate treatment of the history of words.

(b) The reference of new words to known words by isolation and comparison of the roots.

(c) The collection and study of prefixes and suffixes, e.g. noun endings and their different meanings, adjectival endings, compounds, etc.

(d) At a later stage the working out of the historical development of meaning. Even though pupils may not have dictionaries of their own, valuable work may be done in gathering together the uses of a given word and arranging them to show the process of their development.

(e) Care in bringing out the picture contained in Latin words or their English derivatives. Use is not often enough made of this means of giving both English and Latin words real meaning in the minds of pupils through the picture of ancient custom which is called up by, e.g., trivial, provincial, peculiar, abominable. At the same time care must be taken not to carry such words too far from pupils' experience so that the new idea ceases to attach itself to previous knowledge; unfamiliar English words do not make Latin words more significant, nor can new Latin words be taught to any extent out of a context by referring English words to them.

(f) Gathering together words under headings of subjects - house, war, politics, etc. This should be confined to grouping words already encountered, rather than amassing new words; but the introduction of a new word to fill a gap would clearly be legitimate.


[page 33]

If a pupil's vocabulary is to be built up of words seen in a context, the importance of the reader again becomes evident. But in the best of readers not all words are of the same importance, and the teacher then has to decide what words he wishes pupils to 'know' and how he wishes them to be known, whether he wishes certain Latin words to be 'recognised' only when encountered, or whether he wishes them to be available when the English is given. The 'recognition' vocabulary will of course be the larger.

Drill is essential to the building up of vocabulary. After words have been met in a context and related to previous experience in one of the ways given above, subsequent lessons should include rapid questioning on selected words of previous lessons. As regards the words which are required to be known 'actively', drill is equally valuable, but - more important - these words should be the material out of which composition is made; the words which are encountered in a context, related to previous knowledge and used in composition, are the words which are likely to be permanently retained. The building up of two separate vocabularies - one Latin-English, gathered from the manual of composition - is to be avoided at all costs in the interests of all branches of the subject.

A stage is sometimes reached at which new vocabulary appears overwhelmingly large. Transition to a verse author - Virgil, for example - offers many problems and not the least the profusion of new words. The best treatment of this stage is that the master should break the ground in class, himself doing most of the translation at first and explaining words as they come; preparation for the next lesson consists in the revision of the passage and especially of the vocabulary. There should then be a gradual enlargement of the pupil's part in the work. To begin with, the master clearly must do the major part, at the end the pupil must do it. This preliminary class work, which in time will become unnecessary, should reduce the pupils' temptation to spend their time on the merely mechanical work of looking out words, often with no reference to the context, and on the compilation of word lists. If word lists are sanctioned, clearly they must not be open on the desk during a lesson; nor are they necessarily evidence of genuine effort. The chief dangers in their use are (1) unintelligent writing down of words and one of their meanings without effort to relate the chosen meaning to the context; (2) the entry of the particular form which occurs in the text instead of the key-form, e.g. the infinitive of a verb; (3) reliance on the list and too little effort of memory, so that the same word may be entered again and again; the same lack of reliance may be encouraged by the uncontrolled use of the vocabulary, whether a word list is compiled or not. On the other hand, if in the early lessons on a new author passages are broken up in advance in class, and a


[page 34]

brief word-list is virtually dictated by the teacher and its use is controlled, these dangers can be avoided.

Learning by heart

It is sometimes forgotten that learning passages of Latin by heart should find a regular place all through the course. What is learnt by heart should be reasonable in compass and the amount of it will vary with the individual pupil's facility in memorising. It should be worth remembering, accurately learnt and intelligently said, and from time to time revised. Regular reciting from memory helps pupils to 'get their tongues round' Latin words and phrases, and the exact observation of quantity is assisted. At a later stage one reward at least is reaped in the greater ease with which pupils understand the nature of Latin verse and can read or say it by heart with accuracy and a sense of rhythm. While short pieces of verse will no doubt make first appeal, the occasional passage of prose should find a place. A very useful small anthology can be compiled by pupils as they pass through the school, and can be a real possession to them when they leave.

Grammar

There seem to be two well-defined attitudes towards the teaching of grammar; one exalts grammar till it becomes an end in itself, the other seems to regard it as so inherently unpalatable that it must be administered in the smallest of doses with many apologies. From one point of view the aim is to teach as much grammar as possible as early as possible, on the ground that at the age of 10, 11 or 12 the memory is retentive, that boys like learning grammar by heart, and that without a good foundation of grammar nothing can be built up. This clearly contains truth; the memory is good at this age, grammatical forms are most easily mastered then and learning can often be made a game. From the other point of view grammar is best taught as it is needed; instalments, as for example the third person singular and plural of a tense, may be given for immediate use, and later filled in with more instalments to form a whole; the teaching of grammar in advance of its use kills interest; it lies unused as an unintelligible mass; it is often no longer available when it is needed, and the method destroys all treatment of Latin as a language. There is truth here also. The aim of much grammar teaching seems to have been to defeat the grammar paper; useless forms have been stored away and never used, and Latin has often meant little more than learning by heart forms and rules which were not related to the practical needs of reading or even writing Latin.

Between these extremes a middle course lies: grammar may be limited to plain, everyday types together with such 'irregular' forms as are


[page 35]

necessary for immediate use; of these thorough knowledge can be demanded. On the other hand small detached instalments frequently presented may not easily coalesce to make a whole, and, though, in the main, grammatical forms will first have been met in a context, some anticipation is permissible when the new forms can be closely related to a principle already understood; the nature of grammar is to be schematic, and units must be large enough to preserve and reveal the scheme. Thus, the grammar which is taught from time to time would be in general the grammar necessary for immediate use. On the other hand anticipation may sometimes slightly outstrip the needs of the moment when there is positive gain in presenting as a unit matter which can be readily grasped as an extension of previous knowledge. The middle course, then, would differ from the first plan in laying stress on the teaching of grammar for the practical needs of the moment and so reducing the content of the grammar syllabus in the early stages; it would differ from the second plan in permitting some anticipation when necessary in the interest of clarity and a synoptic view.

The problems of the teaching of English grammar cannot be raised here; all that can be said is that there is much gain in training pupils to recognise and understand the functions of the parts of speech and of subject, verb and object through the medium of English before they begin Latin. Simple functional grammar of this kind is best taught by means of English rather than Latin, partly because the attention is not distracted by the strangeness of the language and the issue is narrowed, but chiefly because such teaching does not rely upon definition but rather upon practice in recognition, and practice can most easily and rapidly be gained in a familiar language.

The exact methods used in the teaching of grammar must always be left to the discretion and capacities of the individual teacher; the following paragraphs limit themselves to general matters.

The importance of a sure and ready knowledge of essential Latin grammar cannot be overstressed; if the content of the grammar syllabus is relieved of unusual and unwanted forms, what remains should be known with all the greater certainty. To be able to recite a tense is not enough; flexibility is also wanted, and pupils should be trained to produce at once a required number, person and tense.

There is sometimes a danger that an 'inclusive course' textbook may carry on class and teacher too easily till later it is discovered that apparent facility has been won too lightly. It is suggested that repeated revision or stocktaking of grammatical forms should be undertaken. Often such books contain appendices giving grammar in schematic form; pupils should be made thoroughly familiar with these pages and should form the


[page 36]

habit of referring to them rather than to the page in text in which an instalment of grammar was given.

Some teachers feel that the desirability of using a single grammar book throughout the course, so that visual memory may be trained steadily, outweighs the convenience of an inclusive course-book; but the two plans are not mutually exclusive, and a good grammar book can be introduced side by side with the comprehensive course.

Measures should be taken to remove whenever possible the pupils' impression that grammar is quite arbitrary; analogies should be pointed out before new work is learnt, and principles which explain changes of form, e.g. euphony, should not be neglected. For example, possum can be taken very early if one or two simple explanations of its forms are given; or the four conjugations can be taught together instead of one after the other, if the resemblances are stressed.

It is seldom wise to devote a whole period to grammar. Explanation of as much new material as can be assimilated at one time should not make a period's demand upon a class and a few minutes of exercising or testing three or four times a week are likely to be more effective than a weekly period. Again, if grammar is learnt from a book other than a 'course' textbook, it should be brought into relation with the translation book. For example, words taken from the translation book should sometimes be substituted for the type-words given in the grammar. Any means of breaking down the traditional divisions between translation, composition and grammar are to be welcomed.

The current practice of restricting the number of technical terms employed in the teaching of grammar is all to the good: it might, however, be taken further and include the abolition of labels which convey nothing to pupils. A common terminology in the grammar of English, French and Latin, so far as it is possible, will help to guard against mental confusion.

Composition

The point of view from which the following section is written may be briefly defined as follows. At some stage in the learning of a foreign language it is natural to wish to compose in it; 'knowledge which is not active in the mind is not really appropriated'. To compose in Latin is therefore a sign of progress in the understanding of Latin, as well as perhaps the greatest help towards the appreciation and the deeper understanding of what is written in Latin. Composition is the putting together of Latin elements with which the pupil has become familiar through the reading of Latin, that is, through the process of translation from Latin into English. The experience which Latin-English work gives is logically prior to composition; and therefore the work of composing in Latin will


[page 37]

be less advanced at any given moment than the work of translating into English. Pupils will first meet new usages and constructions in a Latin context, that is to say in their reader; after they come upon examples of a construction in a context the next step would be its formulation and finally an attempt to employ it. In all stages, therefore, the composition should bear a close relation to the reader or author, and this relation is most easily and shortly described by saying that composition will involve an element of 'retranslation', and that in the early stages this element will be greater than in the later stages. By retranslation is meant turning into Latin English sentences (or continuous narrative) so framed that they will call forth the recollection and use of selected words, phrases and constructions recently encountered in the reader or author. This conclusion - namely, the value of retranslation as an essential part in teaching composition - necessarily follows from reflection upon the real nature of composition, and is only an extension of what is done in learning to speak a modern language.

It is important at this point to guard against misapprehension. The approach to new constructions through seeing them first in a context is sometimes condemned as slow, as leading to jumping to conclusions or guessing and as minimising the importance of the 'rule'. But the most natural approach is through the language itself as expressing thought and not through an arbitrarily expressed rule, important though the rule may be; a motive is at least provided for the study of syntax, namely, the desire or the necessity of finding out what the new construction is driving at. Again, the teaching of the rule is made easier if the principle is already partly grasped through experience of the construction; the formulation of the principle is a statement of something seen in practice, and after that the most exact knowledge of the rule may be demanded. To make English-Latin work bear the brunt of the teaching of Latin, to study the rules governing a usage before meeting the usage, to announce to a class that it is now going to 'do' ablatives absolute in order that it may compose sentences containing them or may translate a Latin passage in which one occurs - this is a complete reversal of the natural order of learning a language, and it is a reversal which has done the study of Latin infinite harm. Secondly, it was suggested above that after examples of the construction about to be studied had been met in translation, the next step was the formulation of the rule. But this does not mean that the rule can be induced by a class from the very limited examples it has seen. The class may contribute, but by themselves clearly would arrive at little in some constructions; in others they may be more successful. Thorough-going induction is not contemplated here, nor can it be attempted in the classroom without much loss of time and effort, but the method of procedure


[page 38]

suggested is in itself more successful in presenting syntax to pupils as a profitable and intelligible study with a purpose of its own than the procedure which presents it as a set of arbitrary rules to be mastered before translation and composition can be begun.

No attempt is made in the following pages to cover the whole field of this subject, or to present the case for Latin prose composition. All that is attempted is to make some few suggestions as to method, and these are put forward from the point of view indicated above.

(i) Retranslation gives the teacher greater control over the conditions under which composition is done, and enables him to adapt means and matter to suit circumstances. Short sentences can be made up by the teacher on the basis of the reader; they can be written on the board and worked by pupils under controlled conditions, that is to say, with or without the use of vocabulary, grammar, etc. The sentences can be made of the desired standard of difficulty; the vocabulary and phrases of the reader are employed and, since these are familiar, there is no waste of time in referring to the printed vocabulary; important words are acquired ('Latin-English') in translation and used again ('English-Latin') in composition; memory must be relied upon. Since the Latin material is known, attention is now focussed upon the art of using and arranging it, the field of error is lessened, and revision of some point imperfectly mastered can be provided. If the sentences are taken orally, or one by one on paper and then orally, the work should be more rapidly done - for the materials are ready to hand - and the proportion of correct work should be greater.

(ii) It is important that sentences set should be of such a nature and standard that a high percentage of accuracy may properly be expected. If they are done badly, either the preliminary preparation for them has been inadequate or they are too hard. High marks in an exercise should be the normal expectation. High marks, however, are not likely to be obtained from the average pupil if sentences are set which include many traps. A technique of teaching which openly treats Latin composition as successful negotiation of a series of traps or 'snags' or tricks, and the testing which encourages or waits upon such teaching, have been responsible for much bad and spiritless work. Quite able pupils, of a type to derive profit from Latin, may fail in translating into Latin a sentence tightly packed with idiom, and yet may surmount successfully the same difficulties presented singly. Sentences to be turned into Latin should not contain more idiom than the normal Latin sentence encountered in a reader, and clearly there are good reasons why they should contain less.

(iii) The oral translation of English sentences into Latin should play a much greater part than is usual. Oral work encourages boys to carry


[page 39]

phrases in their heads and to manipulate them quickly in order to express ideas without first writing them or seeing them written. Sometimes too many exercises are written, with too little oral work leading up to them.

Written composition should be done in school rather than in preparation or at home. The teacher can then see mistakes as they are being made and can often understand why they are being made. Mistakes can be corrected at one instead of remaining for a night or more. The speed, too, at which individual pupils work can be observed and adjustments made accordingly. But, more important, the use of vocabularies, grammar, etc., can be controlled; and pupils can be made to rely on memory and to find it quicker to do so in the end than to look up the same word many times in successive exercises. Finally, the burden of correcting written exercises is reduced.

(iv) It cannot be stated too vigorously that the perpetual writing of English-Latin sentences in homework or preparation is a mistake productive of much ill. Ten written sentences a week are probably enough in any middle-school form, while in the early stages six are enough. In actual practice far more sentences are often done, and it may be suggested that there are three main reasons for excessive writing of sentences with too low a proportion of correct Latin:

(a) It is easy to set an exercise and to gather in next day what is written; the writing is regarded as at any rate some evidence of industry. The important point, however, is not the writing, but the quality of what is written. On the other hand, to set suitable work to be prepared and to test it adequately next day is less easy.

(b) A technique of classroom teaching has been developed which relies on homework and is at a loss if homework has not been done. It is felt that the written exercise gives a good starting point for the next day's work.

(c) There is often confusion between the nature and function of an exercise and of a test. The exercise is to give practice in doing things correctly; the test is an assessment of the efficacy of the exercises in training the pupil to do things correctly by his own unaided efforts. Clearly the exercise will cease to give practice in doing things correctly if the percentage of accuracy falls below a certain standard; it will become practice in doing things incorrectly. Equally clearly the test should be of much rarer occurrence than the exercise.

Now the set of sentences prescribed for homework or preparation can be regarded only as an exercise and not as a test, for it is essential to a test that conditions should be rigidly controlled. If


[page 40]

then the set of sentences is to give practice in writing Latin correctly, a very high standard of accuracy must be looked for and demanded. This means that the preparatory work must be carefully done, the risk of mistake minimised and help given when necessary. But such insurance against excessive mistakes is often neglected because at the back of the teacher's mind the set of sentences is regarded also as a test. It is suggested that the drawing of this distinction between exercise and test would be helpful to many teachers.
(v) The line between the translation lesson and the composition lesson need be drawn fare less clearly than is often the practice, and retranslation helps much in this direction. After a class has translated and discussed a passage, books may be closed, and phrases and words asked for. (By the same method, a short passage may be got by heart.) A short summary in Latin of the current passage, or of last time's lesson, may be given by a pupil. At first two or three sentences will be enough, later more will be forthcoming as practice gives resourcefulness. Or, with books open pupils may be asked to substitute constructions; if Caesar had used impero in this sentence when he actually uses iubeo, how would the sentence run? How might he have expressed otherwise the thought contained in this ablative absolute? If he had wished to prepare you for this ut, what words could he have inserted in the main sentence? In some such ways as these, comment and question, coming after a passage has been dealt with from other points of view and not as interruptions to translation, will do much to make composition less artificial and more flexible. Or it may be convenient towards the end of a lesson to set a sentence or two based on the Latin material of the lesson and involving some construction which recently has engaged attention; the words and their formations are fresh in the mind, and effort can be concentrated on the framing of the sentence and not in that case upon the gathering of the Latin material.

At the same time a lesson must have some unity of purpose; and it is a mistake to give variety to a lesson at the expense of unity.

(vi) The occasional written exercise done at home or in preparation has its value, provided that the way has been prepared to its successful accomplishment. Nothing can be more discouraging to the pupil or more damaging to the claim that composition is a training in accuracy, among other things, than the writing of many exercises under controlled conditions and with little hope of a good percentage of correctness.

(vii) In the later years of the course greater use will no doubt be made of the manual of composition. But the principle of retranslation need not be lost sight of; each method contributes useful aid to the other. In oral


[page 41]

practice in school the sentences given by the manual offer a means of quick revision. If, as often happens, mistakes are liable to be made in a part of the sentence which does not contain the particular construction under study, the teacher may guard against them in order to focus attention upon the desired point, later, of course, requiring the sentence as a whole to be spoken or written by the class. The manual gives room for more varied treatment than is often supposed, and at later stages is clearly important for the purpose of reference, revision, continuity, and, if many masters are involved, uniformity of presentation in the interest of the pupils.

(viii) There is no reason why from time to time a piece of continuous Latin should not be composed by a class by collective oral effort, the teacher acting as scribe and coordinator at the blackboard. A passage of the reader already dealt with can be reconstructed on the blackboard; perhaps a variation in the plot can be introduced and the narrative adjusted accordingly. The teacher, as he wrote up suggestions made by the class, would aim at encouraging resourcefulness and readiness to provide variant words or phrases, and the composition would take whatever lines it might, rather than conform to any preconceived model in the mind of the teacher. This kind of exercise is preferable to the writing of 'free' composition in the early years of Latin, and be profitable at a surprisingly early stage.

(ix) The transition from sentences (or easy proses which are virtually sentences in sequence) to Latin prose which involves 'turning' should be a more gradual process than it often is. To give a new sixth-former a piece of difficult English and afterwards to dictate to him a fair copy by some scholar of distinction is to set him a task beyond his powers and to hold up to him a model beyond his reach. Many boys have at this point given up the unequal struggle. The training which should effect the transition from sentences to prose is undertaken in some schools in the lower sixth form, but in others in the upper fifth or, in easy stages, much earlier; it is not then out of place to indicate here the type of exercise appropriate to this stage.

Two preliminaries need much care: pupils must be clear what it is they are asked to do, and they must have the straw with which to make the bricks. Time must be given to the study of the difference between Latin and English idiom - often this essential study is missed. It is suggested that pupils should study pages of a Latin author from the point of view of Latin prose writing; that they should then make a close but tolerable translation of a page of Latin and later a more idiomatic version, that they should compare the versions and watch the changes which take place and


[page 42]

should see for themselves the various principles given to them by the teacher actively in operation; how, for example, English will often throw the weight of meaning into the nouns, Latin into the verbs. A week or two later the pupils may be asked to turn into Latin passages from both of the translations.

It is often advisable to set for Latin prose a literal or free translation of a passage taken from the prose book which is being read at the moment. The style and vocabulary may be familiar, the English version can be made as easy or difficult as is wished, but at this stage it is more convincing for the pupil to see how Caesar or Livy did it rather than how a modern scholar, however distinguished, would do it.

A useful preliminary exercise to illustrate the building up of the period is as follows: the teacher breaks up a periodic sentence of Caesar or Livy into main sentences which are then written on the board in order; the original main sentence will perhaps be written about the middle of the board, and, as the idea is filled out, main sentences will be written before and after it. Some will then be 'subordinated' and all joined together till the original period is built up; the time-order of events and the order, and the subordination, of the sentences can be studied in relation to each other. Variations of this kind of exercise will readily occur to the resourceful teacher; but it is important that such exercise should find a place at this critical stage.

At a later stage it should be remembered that the process of arriving at a version in cooperative effort by teacher and class is more important than the version itself. The dictation of a finished version, packed with more idiom than most normal Latin, can be of limited use compared with the process of suggestion, rejection and selection which the working out of even a moderately good version on the blackboard will give. The mind of the teacher should be seen at work wrestling with the difficulties of thought, and, as pupils understand the nature of the task, so they will be able to take an increasing share in it.

The writing of verse is undertaken in some preparatory schools, and in some secondary schools below the sixth form. There seem to be two essentials necessary to give success or value to verse writing at this stage: first, that the boys should have had considerable experience of a Latin verse author; secondly, that the teaching of the metre should be made to depend more upon ear and a sense of time-values than upon the eye and a set of rules mechanically applied on paper. Very much time is wasted in the attempt to make boys put together selected words to form a verse before they have either the experience of Latin, and particularly of Latin verse vocabulary, or the sense of rhythm which are necessary preliminaries. The writing of verse should follow, not precede, the confident


[page 43]

and musical reading aloud of a Latin verse author; the rhythm of the metre in which the pupil is required to compose - say, elegiacs - should be so much his own that without words it will run in his head, that he could play, as it were, different types of elegiacs on an electric bell or buzzer. But he will not do that till he has heard many lines read and has himself read many lines aloud, In the same way, at a later stage, the composition of simple Latin lyrics, when it is undertaken, will undoubtedly follow much careful reading of Horace. This preliminary training saves much dull and pointless chopping up of lines on paper, and an earlier approach to composition may be expected. In time the pupil writes his own verses and finds that 'as people learn to walk with more grace and ease by learning to dance, so a man may return to his own language with his perceptions of beauty and fineness in style sharpened and chastened by the necessity of attending to the niceties of a foreign tongue in which all composition must be a work of art'.

Homework and preparation

The terms 'homework' and 'preparation' are here taken to mean independent work done by the pupil outside the Latin class, whether at home or in supervised or unsupervised preparation periods in school or in boarding house.

The aim of homework is briefly twofold: the consolidation of matter already dealt with in class and the application of known principles to new problems, examples or material. Clearly there will be much connection or interaction between these aims. Homework or preparation should not be used for breaking completely new ground or for providing a set of marks for the purposes of school records; and if no suitable task is forthcoming on a given night, it is better to set no homework than to devise unsuitable work.

The nature and place of homework will clearly depend on the general principles governing the teaching of Latin. The following observations assume acceptance of the general point of view suggested in the above pages.

When a pupil begins Latin, the two great assets on which the teacher can rely are, first, the satisfaction of the pupil in definite achievement, however limited, and, secondly, the desire of the pupil to understand what Latin has to say. The teacher then has to arouse a sense of the need to understand the way in which Latin expresses what it has to say. This view was found to involve from the earliest stages the use of an elementary reader as the basis of the work and the acquisition of a sound and ready knowledge of accidence, secured largely by oral methods. Such written work as is necessary for the visual recognition of accurate form would be more properly done under the eye of the teacher. Homework therefore


[page 44]

will be almost entirely learning, and will include such work as revision of the passage of the reader already translated in class, learning of vocabulary occurring in the reader, learning of accidence already explained in class, the learning by heart of Latin sentences and similar tasks of which consolidation is the principle. Such exercises are more effective if they are short and frequent, and in the first year of Latin two or three 15-minute homeworks can be more profitably employed than one 45-minute homework. Most experienced teachers would hold that, at this stage, it is better to have no homework than to have too much and so to be obliged to prescribe work that is unprofitable.

In the second year the same principles would govern the setting of homework, but the application of old knowledge to new material can be begun. Thus, the revision of a passage of the reader may be supplemented by the preparation of a fresh passage, and the quantity of the new preparation would be increased. Homework would rarely be devoted to the English-Latin exercise because conditions of work cannot be controlled; and this is true also of preparation in 'houses'.

In the following two or three years accidence will still need to be enlarged and revised; therefore one short period of grammar would find a place with some advantage in the homework time-table. Translation can now be prepared more independently, and recapitulatory English-Latin exercises may be done for homework. They may have been wholly or partly prepared orally in class beforehand, or be done without previous preparation, or prepared in homework and written, in whole or in part, next day in class.

Certain types of work do not seem to be suitable for homework. In particular may be mentioned (i) the writing out of Latin-English exercises, or the English translation of the passage of the reader; (ii) the writing out of the whole Latin sentences in 'completion' exercises, or (iii) the writing of the Latin question as well as the answer in books which rely on the method of question and answer - clearly these are types of work in which the pace given by oral work is essential; (iv) the writing out of translations of translations of the whole or part of set books; (v) the compilation of word lists, for such a labour is useless regarded as preparation and is probably a waste of time in itself; (vi) the writing of English-Latin exercises, unless this be done only occasionally and after preparation in class.

The testing and correction of Latin homework raises interesting questions. With regard to written work, it is suggested that mistakes in written exercises should not be marked by the pupils; in general they are not capable of doing this properly even under the guidance of the teacher. If exercises are so corrected, probably the best method is that the exercise should be gone through in class, with the correct form given on the black-


[page 45]

board, and that boys should mark their errors from the board. It is further suggested that mistakes should be underlined, but the right version should not be written in by the teacher. In the early stages however a code denoting the nature of error might be used. If the point of view suggested above were accepted, the extensive and often unrewarding task of correcting exercises would be much reduced. As to corrections, there are two extreme views. One is that corrections are better explained in class, but not written out in the pupil's manuscript; comprehension is tested and ensured by question or by a similar exercise. The other is that it is best to write out the complete Latin sentence whenever an error occurs in it. Between these extremes there are various practices which compromise. However, there are two practices which seem undesirable; the writing of isolated words as corrections - at least a clause should be written - and writing of corrections while explanations are being given. The explanation should be given, the blackboard cleaned, and then the corrections should be made. If corrections are written, they should be checked by the teacher. In any case a teacher should pay due regard to the economy of own and his pupils' time in this matter.

The testing of grammar should be regularly and consistently done; varieties of method - oral or written - are desirable, but the standard of marking should be simple and objective. The whole class, not only individuals, should be tested, and short and frequent tests - ten minutes - are better than prolonged tests, for success is partly dependent on pace. Team methods are often found useful and one-word tests can often be set by the pupils themselves. All marking must be strict and consistent, and the marking by pupils of one another's work is not always so.

ROMAN CIVILISATION AND HISTORY

It must be regarded as an essential part of any course of Latin that the pupils should gain a reasonably full and definite conception of the character and achievement of the Romans. The pupil who is taking Latin is one of those selected to learn something at first hand about the Roman and Latin elements which have helped to make up the environment of institutions and thought in which he lives; and, though much of the value of such learning comes from the fact of its being at first hand, the quantity and nature of the information and the degree of insight which he obtains are not to be regarded as matters of minor importance. Unfortunately many courses of Latin in schools take little account of background and subject-matter; many of them could take more account, but in others the time is short and it is claimed that the learning of the Latin language takes all the time available.

Yet, however urgent the demand of the language, a great deal can be


[page 46]

done to give reality to the study and to give some of the 'background' necessary by incidental reference and by regard to certain practical helps. The reason why more is not done is that background and civilisation are often regarded as something to be added to a course of Latin. This is a fundamental mistake. In fact, a prime reason for learning Latin is that it gives a first-hand approach to Roman civilisation; study of background should be inherent in the study of Latin at all ages and stages.

It cannot be taken for granted that children beginning Latin at 11 or 12 will bring with them much in the way of classical mythology or ancient history. Myths and stories of heroes are less well known than formerly by children of this age. Sometimes the English syllabus of a secondary school provides for the reading of well-known myths, sometimes it does not. Often a course of world history is taken by forms of 11 or 12 year old pupils under the charge of a history specialist, and pupils review the rise and fall of nations from Assyria to Rome or the Frankish Empire; some teachers feel that this review would come better after the Latin course was under way. But, whatever is done, the important point is that the pupil is one person, and that English (both formal and in the broader sense of 'reading'), a sketch of world history and elementary Latin are three studies which can reinforce one another if dealt with by three teachers sympathetically and cooperatively, and can be seen by the pupil to be linked together; indeed some schools are so alive to the essential unity of these studies that two or all of them are taught by the same teacher. For in all these studies there may be a danger of unreality; in world history unreality may come through covering a vast area without real contact with any one point; in English there may be a danger of an unreality coming from a too self-conscious study of the mother language and literary texts; in Latin there may be aridity and dreariness through excessive attention to the dry bones of the language. But a synoptic treatment of these subjects, or a treatment of each which was aware of and sympathetic to the others, would make all the difference to all.

It is suggested therefore that some knowledge of mythology for the interpretation of English and Latin literature should be required and that some reading of this kind, including perhaps the reading of stories based on historical incidents, should find some place in or out of school hours; that, when the sketch of classical civilisation occurs in the world history, regard should be paid by the teacher to what is being, or will be, read in Latin lessons; that teachers of English should be aware of the standard of Latin reached by their classes in order that derivation may be called into help in interpretation; and that teachers of Latin should in turn be aware of what is taking place in English and history lessons and should make the many cross-references which-will suggest themselves. Further suggestion


[page 47]

is unnecessary once the gain to the child from cooperative treatment of such subjects is realised.

At later stages the contact between other studies and Roman civilisation will be obvious, and perhaps especially in Scripture, history and English. There is no need to elaborate here the points that the teaching and learning of Scripture demand some knowledge of the Roman power in the East and of the world of the New Testament, that Roman Britain is often made the beginning of the course in English History, that the Middle Ages are scarcely intelligible except in the light of the Roman Empire, or again that classical English literature is itself in close relationship with Greco-Roman civilisation. All that need be said is that such contacts are often overlooked perhaps because they are obvious to a teacher. Yet the illumination of one subject by a cross-reference to another is frequently the surest or the only way of giving reality to both in the mind of the pupil.

To come to the more direct measures which the classical teacher can adopt, the following suggestions are made:

(i) Much depends upon the choice of a reader in the early years. If the pupil has been accustomed to find interesting Roman matter in the early reader, he will extract more of interest from the subject-matter of his authors. Some observations with regard to choice of a reader occur on page 10, and to these it may be added that many teachers have found useful those editions of authors which present a book partly in the original, partly in translation, on the grounds that the story or the argument is thus kept before the pupils and that more ground can be covered in the time.

(ii) Illustrative comment and interpretation of matter must not be crowded out by the needs of the language. A comment here and a question there are enough to keep the attention upon the subject-matter and to show the pupil that it is an integral part of the lesson; and the cost in time is negligible.

(iii) Such comment on elementary readers and upon authors will come all the more easily if the passage has been read through by the teacher before the lesson with this end in view. Often the elementary reader is taken at sight; but a few minutes' thought beforehand will often suggest comments to be made next day in class and will enable the right book or picture to be taken into school. Discussion or amplification of subject-matter is most effective if it appears to be incidental and to arise naturally, perhaps as a result of a pupil's question, for which a hint may open up the way. The note or comment or discussion which appears to be a digression is more valuable, for digressions are as a rule better remembered; and often one of the most effective ways to drive home something important is to teach it in what is apparently an interlude.


[page 48]

If care is taken in the selection of the reader and if a moment's thought is given to the passage before going into class, it will be found that there is no scarcity of points for comment and elaboration. Some teachers have been so interested in this incidental filling in of background that they have kept a record of the kind of topics which arose, and have found not only that much does arise in a year, but also that they have been able to direct such work in the light of their record, so as to make a coherent whole within a given year.

The spirit in which such work should be done is of great importance. The accumulation of facts presented as facts is not likely to appeal to more than a minority of pupils; the new information must be of such a quality as to give reality to the subject, and reality comes most easily if the new matter can be related to previous experience. The piling up of information - of mere stark facts - in comment upon the Latin author or in set history lessons does not of itself increase the pupils' real knowledge of the subject; antiquarianism has little place in the classroom. But the significant comment which is going to provoke a pupil to ask a significant question, the remark which relates some ancient practice to its modern counterpart, or the query which wonders why the Romans did or did not take the view which we should take - these are necessary to any lesson in translation.

It was said on a previous page that the teaching of Latin had often been distinguished by 'thoroughness combined with unreality'. The need now is for 'thoroughness' - perhaps over a less wide, but a more important, field - combined with 'reality'. Yet the attitude of mind essential for this may not always be easy for the teacher to acquire. He has been taught in a particular way; his own familiarity with the content of the classics and ancient civilisation prevents questions occurring readily to him; he tends to assume knowledge or experience in his pupils, and in the end they themselves acquiesce. Is it, for example, an indication of an unreal approach that a pupil reads chapter after chapter of Caesar and hears about the 'wounded', but does not ask whether there was the equivalent of a R.A.M.C. or a hospital, or what could be done for a serious wound, or whether the wounded rejoined the army on recovery? The mind which is ready to move freely between ancient and modern civilisations, to put modern questions to antiquity and ancient problems to this age, is likely to raise matters full of significance and to give reality to its studies. With middle school pupils material civilisation is likely to contribute most, for matters of fact are likely to interest them most; later, similarity and contrast of thought will attract.

(iv) Two slight illustrations may be given of a tendency spoken of above. It was said that classical content was so familiar to teachers - both of Classics and English - that they tended to assume knowledge in their


[page 49]

pupils. The pictures of ancient life which English and Latin words call up are not always drawn for the pupil. Such words as ambition, tantalise, tribulation, calculate, salary, client, patron, emancipate, emolument, stipend, and scores of others, call up practices and institutions which may be easily described in a few minutes, but they are so familiar to the teacher that they are often neglected. Again, there are certain features of ancient (or mediaeval and indeed modern) life which are often erroneously assumed to be familiar to pupils. Certain fundamental operations of human life - agriculture, the potter's wheel, sailing a boat, the making of bread, spinning and weaving - are no longer familiar even in outline to thousands of pupils, yet they contain notions which run through classical and English literature. Boys have gone through a classical side and emerged ignorant of what a potter's wheel is like, or how a trireme was propelled; and the reason was that it was tacitly and subconsciously assumed that they knew, and they acquiesced in the assumption.

(v) Whatever may be done by way of treatment of Roman civilisation, it should be supplementary to and not in lieu of full treatment of the subject-matter of reader or author. To treat the Latin matter only as a quarry for grammatical and syntactical digging and to put into pupils' hands some secondhand treatment of Roman life is at once to destroy the reality of the work. Even worse is to examine on a manual of Roman life. Further treatment should arise out of the translation and be the result and expression of an overflow of interest from the text and discussion thereof. This puts upon the teacher responsibility for choosing his reader or authors, and for reading enough of them-which is as it should be.

It may be remarked that an advantage of using a volume of selections of prose and verse in the third year of Latin is that it gives variety of subject-matter, together with some continuity of sense.

(vi) However straitened the time, it will occasionally be possible to give a half-period or so to a talk about some matter of interest arising from the translation; or sometimes special time can be given after examinations. Whenever more set talks can be arranged, it is vital that there should be no dictation of notes and that there should not be mere retailing of facts. It would be better even to put some small manual of ancient life into the hands of the pupils - whether their own property or belonging to the library; for the important thing is that the teacher's function should be not that of providing sheer information but rather of interpreting old and new knowledge, bringing out significance and giving a sense of reality to the work.

(vii) Before going on to discuss the treatment of History and Civilisation when special time is made available for the purpose, it may be appropriate to consider sources and methods of illustration.


[page 50]

Illustration, of whatever kind, may serve a variety of purposes: to consolidate previously acquired knowledge, to explain visually or tangibly what is not easily comprehended from the written word alone, or to provide fresh stimulus to curiosity. In every case, quality and relevance are of prime importance. Where it is possible for a classics teacher to have his own room such a room can provide a focal point of interest and a favourable environment for classical studies. Little special equipment is required beyond ample wall display-surface for maps and pictures, an exhibition table and, preferably, a glass-topped case, suitable storage facilities and black-out. Where it is not practicable to reserve a special room, or even in addition to such a room, where it exists, a notice-board in a corridor with frequently changed displays, or pictures of special interest to particular forms shown in their own classrooms, may all contribute to a greater interest in the classical world, not only among those pupils who learn Latin. Not infrequently, schools possess casts of classical statues or reproductions of sculpture such as the Parthenon frieze; such possessions are better made the central feature of occasional displays, in conjunction with related photographs and descriptive text, than allowed to remain permanent, nameless and largely unnoticed items of furniture.

A convenient summary of the numerous sources whence illustrative material may be bought or borrowed is contained in a handbook prepared by the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters on The Teaching of Classics (Cambridge University Press, 1954). For the appreciation of architecture and works of art high-quality photographs, and for the study of ancient sites aerial photographs, are invaluable. They need to be accompanied by some brief explanatory comment; nor should it be overlooked that explanation is often essential for the full enjoyment of illustrations such as appear in most modern textbooks. In addition to the epidiascope, which permits the showing of both book illustrations and slides, most schools possess projectors for films and film-strips, both of which are available in abundance; so widely does their quality vary, however, that it is essential to examine the material itself in advance and not to rely on a catalogue description, quite apart from the obvious need for preliminary viewing in order to prepare an adequate commentary. Some schools have experimented successfully in producing their own slides and film-strips, based on photographs taken during visits to sites.

Whenever expeditions of any kind are undertaken, clearly they should belong to a context of study in the classroom; some detailed background knowledge, and at least a rough plan of the site to be visited, are essential if antiquities are to be brought to vividly-imagined life and not to appear disappointing and bewildering ruins. Where a school is fortunately situated, the plotting of known sites on a large-scale map can introduce


[page 51]

some extensive local study, although this is most easily carried on through an out-of-school society. Museum visits also need advance preparation and should be planned with specific objectives: 'treasure hunts' for particular items and questionnaires necessitating detailed observation can prove entertaining devices for canalising the interests and energies of younger pupils. Many museums now employ special officers to advise and assist schools. For following up such visits, most useful are the sets of detailed postcards, often on sale at museums, or good slides, which allow further examination at leisure of objects glimpsed only briefly in the show-case. As an alternative to an actual visit, particularly where distance is an obstacle, it is sometimes possible to borrow loan collections of exhibits which, as well as being selective, have the added advantage of being continuously available during the period in which they are in school. Again, pupils may be encouraged to create their own 'museum', by collecting fairly common objects such as coins or pottery sherds; the value here, however, lies principally in the interest roused in the collectors, since a heterogeneous and incomplete assemblage is inadequate for teaching purposes.

Model making has its place for younger pupils, who will often cheerfully devote their free time to recreating a hypocaust or a catapult; with older pupils, more ambitious projects, involving individual study of source material, can take the form of reconstruction to scale of an actual fort or villa, or the imitation in coloured paper of the design of a mosaic.

So far, only deliberately selected illustrations or activities initiated by the teacher himself have been considered; but it would be imprudent and wasteful to ignore the many accidental stimuli to which pupils may be subject and of which the teacher may take opportune advantage. Newspapers, popular magazines, radio and television programmes continually present items of interest, especially in relation to archaeology. Often by these means the general public is brought into contact with the work of distinguished scholars, or made aware of the heritage contained in the national museums. Documentary films of particular sites, or of underwater discoveries in the Mediterranean, as well as films dealing vividly, if sometimes eclectically, with classical themes, may be seen by many pupils. It is possible to take advantage of this topicality of the classics and by elaboration, explanation and, where need be, correction, to convert fragmentary, half-absorbed impressions into valuable, informed interests. The radio from time to time also serves the classical student well in broadcasting new translations of classical literature, and thus supplies fruitful matter for discussion for a school Classical Society, which itself may be interested in play-readings or the use of recordings.

Nevertheless, however numerous these external stimuli, the decisive


[page 52]

responsibility remains with the teacher, to illumine the study of language and literature by recreating from every resource available to him the civilisation in which they flourished. Personal taste and discrimination, considerations of suitability to the age and interests of the pupils and relevance to the daily work of the classroom will all determine the choice of material and its manner of presentation.

Whether, in the study of Roman History and Civilisation, reliance must be placed wholly upon incidental treatment, or whether more formal and systematic treatment is possible, two points remain valid. One is that illustrations of all kinds powerfully support any attempt to give reality to the teaching; the second is that no special time given to Roman life and institutions can take the place of skilful and enlightening comment on Latin.

(viii) Special time for History and Civilisation is valuable because the incidental comment of the Latin lesson can then be worked into a whole, be given coherence, and be supplemented and discussed in a way which is impossible otherwise. If one period a week is available in only one year of the course, very much of value can be done, but a period a week in each year provides a general course in ancient thought and civilisation which extends its benefits far beyond the Latin lesson, and is indeed a part of general culture.

Some teachers prefer to place an easy book describing social life and institutions at Rome in the hands of their pupils; with its aid they follow up points that have occurred in the week's Latin lesson. Others prefer a brief outline history, on the ground that a framework of fact presented chronologically is desirable. Others rely on no book, but prepare a series of lessons on selected topics which they give when they become relevant. Each lesson involves a good deal of preparation; pictures, plans, diagrams must all be ready; but if they are used when relevant and can be amplified with real knowledge this may be in some circumstances the best method.

Sometimes it is felt that the subject of Roman Britain is likely to have an immediate appeal and offers a chance of studying Roman civilisation 'writ small'. The study of Roman Britain can never take the place of a more general study of Roman civilisation, for the simple reason that one province was not Rome, and Britain was not a typical province. But, though the contribution which Roman Britain can make to classical study must not be over-estimated, work on it can be stimulating, especially when linked with the use of authentic source-material, in museums or on excavation sites.

Some schools make up for the lack of any set treatment of Roman History and Civilisation by reducing the attention given to grammar and composition for one term in the third year and giving the time so set free


[page 53]

to history, literature and civilisation. A broad sketch of certain aspects of the Roman achievement is given in bold lines; the early Empire is included and such questions as religion, social life, treatment of provinces, Roman Britain, are touched upon. The reading of relevant passages from the literature (in translation) to illustrate historical topics finds an important place, and good use can be made of pictures shown on the screen. No textbook need be in the hands of the pupils, though a selection of books of the right kind must be available in school or form library; pupils can then become familiar with some line of enquiry which interests them. Schools which have been enterprising enough to try this plan have found that the stimulus can be very great - and often especially to those pupils who have least interest in the language - and that the work of the following term gains rather than loses because pupils come to their normal work with a new interest and motive and are furnished with a wider background which aids them in the interpretation of their Latin reading. It may be added that the planning and execution of such a scheme involve much thought and care. To overload such a course is fatal. Yet the selected topics must be treated firmly enough to leave some clear impression on the pupils' minds, and the gathering of the illustrative passages and the pictures which are essential is no light task; it is, however, a task of great value .to the teacher and the general Latin work of the school.

Other schools offer some such course as this to pupils who have taken Latin up to a certain stage and then discontinue it. Others add an extra period or two a week to the Latin allowance in all forms and attempt in that period to give some insight into Roman civilisation, and do not exclude some treatment of such matters as Greek architecture or the city state, or life in Athens; or even the reading of some work of Greek drama or epic in translation.

Roman history in middle schools, however, does not necessarily include the study of the Samnite Wars or the details of the struggle between the Orders. For boys and girls who pass through a four or five years' course of Latin and are not likely to continue Latin in the sixth form much that is often assumed to be a necessary part of Roman history might be omitted, and much that has not found a place might be included. The aim of the work is to show pupils what the Roman character was, and how, as a result of it, the Romans were able to achieve what they did achieve - with such profound effect upon European history. Mere talk about the legacy of Rome is useless; most of it is beyond the capacity and experience of middle school pupils. But such pupils will understand a tale of achievement as it is unfolded, and, if it has caught their imagination, they may be trusted to appreciate the legacy when their knowledge and experience are greater. But at school they must come across the Rome which they are


[page 54]

likely to meet at a later stage - in later studies such as law, literature, divinity, mediaeval history, Romance languages, in continental travel, in Britain, in the home or on the-screen - and that is Imperial Rome. Now clearly the story of Imperial Rome cannot be begun without some knowledge of Republican Rome; nor can it be carried far down the centuries, for there are limits to school periods. But the pupil should not leave school - as many do - with the impression that, if anything comes after the murder of Caesar or the reign of Augustus, it is either irrelevant, or 'decadent', or trivial. The briefest outline of selected topics in the history of the first or the first two centuries A.D. is essential if the pupil is not to complain in later years that his teacher had shown him much that was irrelevant at the expense of what was vital. This is not to depreciate the value or importance of the history of the Republic; it is merely to suggest that Rome should not be stripped of that part of its meaning which is likely to be, at school or later, the most real part to the majority of secondary school pupils.

Much must be omitted; an ambitious study may fail because it attempts more detail than pupils or teacher can manage. To undertake such a course with an eye on notes - whether made at school or university - is to invite failure. The few main points which it is desired to establish must be clearly decided, and probably the best way is for the teacher to read the whole period again, getting clear in his mind the main lines of development, and ruthlessly cutting away all that is not on those main lines. Many teachers prefer a topical treatment with a minimum of chronological framework; but for most a chronological framework is an advantage if it is lightly constructed.

The issues chosen for treatment must be carefully adjusted to the age and experience of the pupils. Much constitutional and military matter can be reduced or omitted, and those problems should receive most attention which bear resemblance or offer sharp contrast to modern problems. Examples are: the social and economic effects of slavery; the methods of provincial administration; public and private relief and social legislation generally. But again the pupils' knowledge of modern problems must not be over-estimated, nor is it wise to make an attempt to give a modern flavour to ancient problems by using modern political or economic terms, few of which would be applicable without such reserve or qualification as pupils of this age could not make. Reality will be given to whatever work of this kind is attempted, if contact can constantly be established between the experience of the class and the topics chosen for treatment. To put the point shortly, the course will contain much material which is usually included in 'A Companion to Roman History' rather than in 'A History of Rome', and such material will be used to enliven the


[page 55]

narrative and complete the picture; for it contains the answers to the many questions about plain matters of fact which it should be an aim of the course to encourage.

In this connection it is relevant to observe that in populous centres valuable cooperative work has been done by means of lectures and inter-school classical clubs to stimulate interest in classical civilisation, and many well known authorities have given gratuitous service in the furtherance of an enterprise which deserves all the encouragement it can receive. The scheme is, of course, only possible where transport facilities allow of quick travel between one school and another, and is most easily organised in large towns where a number of large grammar schools can be found within a few miles' radius. Nevertheless a considerable extension of the plan should not be impracticable. To quote a teacher responsible for the organisation of inter-school lectures, 'The essential object of these lectures is to give the children an interest in classics which is not in any way suggestive of examination requirements. The lectures are not designed to "help" boys and girls with their textbooks in Latin or history. In other words, an endeavour is made to avoid the classroom atmosphere and to present the children with pictures of ancient life whose interest is purely intrinsic.' At the same time it should be remembered that, ideally, the antithesis between the work of the classroom and the entertainment of the lecture-hall is a false one, and these lectures will prove the more valuable if they assist the pupils in some degree to realise that fact. The teacher is a general practitioner, the lecturer a specialist; and the specialist has that command of picturesque detail concerning one branch of classical study which is probably beyond the range of the teacher. Knowledge gained from lectures on ancient life and thought may illuminate subsequent tasks of the classroom and show up more clearly their relation to human life and interest.

Neither occasional lectures; however, nor incidental reading, can make up for insufficient time in school. In all that has been said, it has been regarded as axiomatic that a reasonable allowance of teaching periods is essential to success in Latin and cognate studies.

GREEK COURSES

It has been assumed without discussion hitherto that, if one classical language is learnt, that language is Latin, and that, if two classical languages are learnt, Latin is begun before Greek.

The reasons for the first assumption may be stated quite shortly. The point has been made often and variously, and still remains true, that Latin and the influence of Rome are generally felt to be part of the texture of mediaeval and modern civilisation. Greek, on the other hand, however


[page 56]

great its influence has been, is not woven as closely as Latin into the fabric of European civilisation. The environment of secondary school pupils provides more points of immediate contact with Rome than with Greece, and, though it is probably true that Greek literature has a more natural appeal to young pupils than Latin, the reality which comes from making a study of one of the main elements of environment, the value of Latin as an essential instrument of training in expression, and its closer relation to French and English, give it precedence over Greek. The majority of those who are to come into first-hand contact with the classical element in our civilisation do well if they gain the insight and sense of immediacy which Latin can give. For the minority it is vital that they should add to these a study of Greek language and literature, which at a later stage can examine and regulate and inspire thought and action but cannot replace the first hand knowledge and experience of a main element in our civilisation. For these reasons Greek is best added to Latin; and, desirable as it is that there should be a large number who know Greek thought at first hand, a smattering of Greek added to unsound and spiritless Latin can be of value neither to the pupils nor to their generation nor to the welfare of classical studies.

This is not to deny that pupils have successfully learnt Greek before Latin, nor that pupils have begun with Homer, nor that there is room for further experiment. But on the whole, the lessons which Greek can give are probably better learnt when the child is becoming the man. Then he can appreciate in some measure from experience the contribution of Greek thought to the problems which concern him personally; he is less delayed than formerly by the difficulties of language study and he is for himself deciding the problem whether he learns Latin and Greek to read the classics or reads the classics to learn Latin and Greek. Greek makes its great impression at the stage of the lower sixth, the elements having been mastered in the immediately preceding years, and it is only too likely that the attempt to realise for the pupil at a lower stage the distinctive values of Greek may in fact destroy them. For Latin the attempt can be made successfully.

The beginnings

Assuming that Greek is begun after Latin, progress should be rapid. Given able pupils - and only able pupils should attempt this language - Greek may be begun at 13 or 14. This gives the possibility of at least a year's interval between the start of Latin and Greek in most grammar school courses; it also gives enough time for the necessary accidence to become familiar so that reading in the lower sixth may be rapid. It has been suggested in Part I that for many pupils the course can be planned


[page 57]

with no external examination in view before the Advanced level. In preparatory schools Greek is often begun earlier than 13. Without any attempt to indicate a minimum age - and clearly that will vary with different boys - it is suggested that (i) two periods of Greek each week for two terms is of little use - a new language needs at least a lesson a day; (ii) a year of Greek with adequate time and reasonable progress at preparatory school should enable the best boys there to qualify for entry to the lower sixth after another year at public school, though more often a boy would have two years; (iii) public schools should afford the opportunity for boys to start Greek, if they wish it, providing at least a two years' course below the sixth form. In preparatory schools it is better that there should be one year of good work and satisfactory progress ensured by an adequate number of periods than a premature start and a longer course with either too few periods or an excessively classical time-table. A better, but later, start might well result in more boys learning Greek at 13 or 14 years of age than are now to be found.

In early stages the necessary ground can be rapidly covered; the moulds of the grammar are already prepared by Latin, and by the end of two terms it should be possible to read real Greek of an easy character with reasonable help. Accidence must, of course, be known. During the first two terms accidence, and particularly verbs and prepositions in phrase or in compound, must receive the main stress. Syntax is best learned when it is met. Apart from this, vocabulary is the chief desideratum, and pains must be taken to supply reading material which will give practice in the most useful vocabulary, namely, the vocabulary of the easier narrative chapters of Thucydides. It will be less easy than in Latin to make contact with English words in the early stages; and at all costs it is necessary to avoid any attempt to learn Greek 'through English' which involves the prior mastery of new English words. Ignotum per ignotius is not a sound principle of learning. Vocabulary will come best through rapid reading of authors, and to this end help will have to be given readily in class. The learning and testing of past vocabulary is essential if rapid progress in reading is to be secured. In Greek, as in Latin, abundant oral work is required; and to render oral work effective, pronunciation must be at least consistent. It is no part of this pamphlet's aim to advocate, or defend, any theory of pronunciation or of intonation: consistent usage within a school is even more important than theoretical correctness. The fact of a new alphabet, and the necessity of rapid initial progress, may well lead to more frequent written exercises than in the corresponding stages of Latin.

Not infrequently, Greek makes its way into the curriculum of schools - and especially of girls' schools - by such heroic measures as voluntary lunch-hour groups or informal after-school classes. The zeal of teachers


[page 58]

and of pupils in such cases deserves every commendation; but it also deserves practical assistance, and as soon as the case is made out proper provision should be made on the time-table, if necessary as an alternative to some other subject. Nothing is gained by keeping in the curriculum too many subjects, each with too little time.

Hellenism and translations

For those pupils who do not learn the Greek language something can be done to give some idea of the main characteristics of the Greek ideal, provided that a period a week at least can be given to the study of Latin and Greek civilisation. The stress will fall upon Rome, since the language of Rome is being learnt, but it is by no means impossible to present some of the main elements of Hellenism in a brief time, with readings from Greek authors in translation. In recent years, such translations have attained a remarkable circulation, and the reading of them plays a part in many schools. It is admirable that, for example, Homer, Aeschylus and Plato should thus find their way into the reading of those who are not classical students. And yet it is possible, while welcoming this development, to have reservations as to the necessity of making such reading a subject of public examination. Sometimes the case for doing so seems to rest on the rather unworthy assumption that grammar school pupils will not read what will not be examined. Those who have observed the effects of quite unofficial reading of translations of Homer on children of twelve, or of Plato in leisure time on sixth-formers, will not give way to this form of despair. Whatever the value of translations, however, it remains true that the Greek spirit is best apprehended through the language, which is itself a manifestation of that spirit.

But ambitious talk about Hellenism, whether to pupils learning Greek or not, is much to be deprecated; it has done harm in the past, and has resulted in much gushing and unreal talk, in sentimentalism rather than real feeling. Just because the pupils may not be going on to advanced Greek studies, there has sometimes been an attempt to make sure that they have not missed the lesson it is desired to drive home, and this has led to efforts to force appreciation and has resulted in insincerity. All teachers who feel strongly about the value of their subject have to resist this temptation, teachers of Greek no less than the rest. In the last resort, it is suggested, there is only one way of putting pupils into the way of real understanding and genuineness of feeling about Greek things. If the Greek point of view is set before them in simple, clear, straightforward outline, without exaggeration, without emotionalism but with fair justice to the strength and the weakness of the Greek mind, and if a modern counterpart is lightly indicated, the pupils will do the rest; they will draw


[page 59]

the comparison for themselves. What they have seen they may later, no doubt, clothe or veil in abstract terms, for the stage of this temptation is likely to come. But they will at any rate have had the best chance of learning something of Hellenism at first hand, namely, from the method of presentation - a method which believes in objectivity and clarity, in honesty of feeling, and reserve in its expression, which keeps for the individual the duty and the dignity of making up his own mind.

The Greek Testament

It is not necessary to do more than to refer to the advantages which come from finding a place for the Greek Testament in a Greek course or in the Divinity lessons of a sixth form. On the other hand, if the chief aim of beginning a small division of pupils with Greek is to read the Greek Testament, there is much to be said for beginning with the Greek of an easy classical author and then going on to New Testament Greek, rather than learning the Greek of the New Testament from the outset. The words gain very greatly in significance if they have been seen in another setting and the danger of the pupil's treating the Greek words as merely the 'equivalents' of the words of the English version is removed.



[page 60]

PART IV

Sixth-Form Work

Sixth-form work is a broad term which embraces within it work of very different kinds. The form which is likely to send boys in for university scholarships in Latin and Greek and the form which contains a few pupils taking Latin as part of a modern studies course are both doing sixth-form work. Diverse as their standards are, there is yet a common element; they both differ from the work of early stages and its standards, and it is in this differentia that their essential kinship may be found.

The nature of the work of the earlier years in Latin and Greek has been indicated in the preceding pages. To attempt a summary, it may be said that Latin in those years is of value to those who do and to those who do not continue it because because it has created an attitude of mind, offered a training in habit, presented a content which will help in the interpretation of environment and illuminate other departments of study and give strength and control in activities of the mind other than the study itself. In those early years, a great part of the pupil's task has been the gaining of information, and necessarily so, for his own very limited experience must be enlarged by sharing the experience of others, and at his age this will take the form chiefly of acquiring matters of fact. In the sixth form, however, reflection upon fact, the drawing of deductions and the criticising and application of them, the handling of evidence and its interpretation by independent effort - these must play a larger part; the attitude of mind which insists upon these processes is the essential part of sixth-form work. The sixth-form pupil must catch a glimpse of the unity of knowledge and the reality underlying that unity; subjects must be to him aspects of man's collective experience. Attention to one set of studies may be necessary, for it is the paradox of specialism that, if it is informed by such a spirit, the deeper it goes the more points of contact it finds with other departments, the more it comes across the roots of other subjects. Those who believe in the classical approach think that they can thus catch that glimpse and, as experience grows, turn it into a vision. But it is useless merely to study the means of approach and arrive nowhere. Or to change the figure, the sixth-form master and boys take in their hands a lens that they may see


[page 61]

more clearly; they may spend their time polishing it and studying its shape and polishing it again, but they may never see anything through it -

'A man that looks on glass
    On it may stay his eye;
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass
         .....'
A technical precision or a linguistic dexterity or a capacity to absorb and reproduce facts - these may be parts of classical-sixth-form work, but no part will do service as the whole.

Different however as advanced work should be from what precedes it, the transition must not be sudden. Much of what is done in fifth, and even in fourth, forms will foreshadow it. In considering composition, it has been suggested that from quite early stages pupils should be trained to render meanings and not simply to exchange words. If the gradualness of this preparation extended to all applicable parts of the work, there would perhaps be fewer cases of perplexity and temporary disorientation in the lower sixth form. It is common to hear of so many new mysteries first revealed in the sixth - connected composition, ancient history, Greek accents and what not. From what has been said above it would follow that the approach to all of these should be gradual, and that glimpses of mature treatment should be given as early as they are likely to be profitable. In smaller schools, this may often involve special treatment in small groups, in order to stretch the pupils who show promise of going on to higher work.

It is not easy to say how best to foster the spirit which will give to sixth-form work its distinctive quality; it is easier to indicate what will kill it. On the one hand good sixth-form work generally demands opportunities to deal with first hand authorities, to assess and weigh evidence, to form independent judgments, to undertake work independently of the teacher, though perhaps under his guidance, to enjoy leisurely labour upon some field of special interest. It may demand much more. On the other hand, attempts to force understanding or appreciation or to prescribe taste, short cuts and synopses of information which the pupil should get up for himself, dictated notes, particularly if they include judgments beyond the experience or capacity of the pupil, the setting of work beyond his powers, excess of teaching which kills the power or the desire for reflection, insufficiency of time or books of reference, lack of opportunity for discussion, the domination of an unnecessary examination or the omnipresence of a necessary examination - these destroy the ethos of sixth-form work.


[page 62]

It is easier, perhaps, to realise this ideal in a fully classical course, for there tradition is more effective, the coherence of subject-matter is, or should be, assured, and unity of control is more easily obtained. But in the great majority of grammar schools such a course is not to be found. A more typical sixth form may well have one or two pupils in each year who take both Latin and Greek, together with a much larger number offering some combination of history, modern languages or English; and of this larger number some will continue Latin, either as a main subject or at a lower level, whether or not they are required to do so by university or professional requirements. The position, already difficult for a small school, may be further complicated by the very different abilities to be found even among these few Latinists. In such a case, it is reasonable for a school to limit the variety of combinations offered; and, where there are some pupils taking a full classical course, it will often be necessary for them to join in with those taking Latin only, for at least some part of their work. How far this can be done will depend on many things - on the effectiveness of earlier training, on the amount of Latin reading for which time has been allowed, and on the teaching strength available. It may be no bad thing to have to consider whether a certain basic experience of Latin is not a common requirement for all the different 'Latins' of a sixth form, and to experiment with joint work in at least a part of the reading.

The important thing is that real efforts should be made to bring the study of Latin taken without Greek into relation with the other chief subjects of a course in modern studies; there is often a tendency to let Latin lie apart and to miss the contacts which can be made. The problems of the language often lead to the neglect of the subject-matter and, still more, of the common element which the book being read may have with the French or English books selected for reading; indeed the selection itself may to some extent be guided by this consideration. The main stress in such selection should be upon texts which can be brought together to make a unified study, and the choice should light upon those works which have exercised a powerful interest upon later writers. At present, for whatever reason, purely linguistic study holds too much of the field, and too often obscures the real object of the course, which is an acquaintance with the achievements of the Greco-Roman world and its affinities with later ages as seen through the medium of Latin. But the ancient world was not only Roman, and therefore it is an advantage, not always realisable, that the teacher dealing with this subject should himself have some knowledge of Greek, even though the Greek language is not being taught. There is a real need for teachers to reaffirm to themselves and others the true aim of the course. Again, some study of Roman history is profitable to the mediaeval and the modern historian. If it is impossible to begin a course


[page 63]

of ancient history by showing the development of the Greek city state, its culmination in Athens, its decay before the imperialism of Alexander and Rome, at least it should be possible to show the problems of Roman republicanism, the problems of imperial government, the success of Rome in fusing together two loyalties, loyalty to the municipality and to the Empire, and the contribution she made thereby to the development of Europe. But the story of Rome cannot then end at 31 B.C. or A.D. 14, as it too often does. The great possibilities of an organic combination, not an agglomeration, of Latin and ancient history and French, English and mediaeval and modern history are not always appreciated, and as a result either one subject dominates the work and the others become unrelated additions, or the whole course becomes aimless. It may be suggested that one contributory reason for this is that, though there may be nominally a sixth-form master (or mistress), his control extends only to the externals of organisation, and often with some justification, for there is no clearly defined form of pupils pursuing the same course of work, and a sixth form may include various small groups combining subjects in different ways. But there is loss here. A sixth-form master should know what subjects his pupils are taking and how they are taking them; his responsibility extends to the growth of their minds as a whole, not merely to the one subject out of his pupils' three or four which he happens to take. He should know what is being done in the other subjects during a given half-term and should himself know something of the scope and content of those subjects. The adjustment which he can bring about by securing cooperation among teachers who take the sixth form will make a tremendous difference in the significance of the work to the pupils, whose general intellectual development can then be watched over. In other words, the pupil must be regarded as an individuality, not as something which can be divided into three or four parts and distributed to three or four specialists.

The following sections may seem at first sight to have in mind fully developed classical-sixth-form work. But the principles which guide such work are held to be equally valid, though their realisation is more difficult, when Latin is offered in combination with modern studies.

In most schools the organisation of the work will not allow of the first year of sixth-form work being taken by a master who can give all or a main part of his time to it; one master has to be responsible for all the work of the various years and has to take it at the same time. Clearly this will make demands upon his resourcefulness and the problem will be solved in various ways. But whatever the solution, it seems necessary that the following points should be safeguarded, - (i) both divisions of the sixth should have private study; (ii) both divisions should be taken separately in at least one 'book'; (iii) the compositions of each division should be


[page 64]

different; (iv) one book should be taken in common, so that the junior division may have the advantage of working with the senior division.

When more than one master can give full or part time to the lower or the upper sixth, the use of their time needs care. The lower sixth is a key position. Into it the pupils come who have emerged from the middle school; they gain extra status in the school and are beginning to expand their horizon and to enlarge their interests; they are prepared to have minds of their own and to adopt new ways of thought and outlook. This is the time, say some lower sixth masters, when the earlier work should be consolidated and a good foundation laid for upper-sixth-form work. The same 'good foundation' was demanded in the preparatory or junior school, and here it is again. In a sense there is truth in this; but the earlier work will be consolidated much more firmly by giving it a new significance than by going over it all again on the same methods. For example, familiar syntax will gain in interest and meaning at this stage if some element of historical development is introduced. But, however true the need for solidity, this is pre-eminently the time for stimulating treatment of subject-matter. The pupil begins to feel that he is reading more for what is said and less for how it is said than was realised in earlier stages; he may now see the possibilities of his subject, its reality is seized upon by some sudden insight opened to him by a correspondence he has seen, or an affinity he has detected; he can take broader views of literature, art or religion; he is more inclined to look at his work and experience philosophically and this attitude is one of the objectives his master will have in mind. In fact, if the name were never revealed to its members, a classical sixth form might be called a philosophical sixth. If, then, there is a choice of masters, that master who can stimulate interest and open the eyes of his class to significance and value should have most to do with the lower sixth, for at this stage the pupils are more dependent than at a later stage upon the help which the liveliness of the master can give.

In those comparatively few schools where circumstances are more favourable, two or even three separate advanced forms can be arranged. Whatever the organisation is, it is important that each form should come into contact with more than one mind even within their classical work. Each mind may have a special appeal to a particular type of boy, and boys at this stage, when their critical powers are being called into play, should not always be exposed to the same kind of intellectual or aesthetic influence. At the same time the importance of the sixth-form master as such, as distinct from those who may teach the sixth form, should not be overlooked; his task is to look at the arrangement of the work from the pupils' side and through their eyes, to see that amid the variety of subjects or the


[page 65]

differences of handling the same subject the work has one purpose, namely the growth of the individual boy in wisdom.

The work of the classical sixth usually comprises the reading of Latin and Greek authors, composition, ancient history, the treatment of various aspects of Greek and Roman language, thought, life and antiquities. To these subjects may be added Divinity, English, lectures in science, and in many schools there is opportunity for modern or mediaeval history, political theory, French or German. The questions of non-specialist subjects in relation to specialisation and of coordination of subjects have long been discussed and are now more than ever relevant, when charges of over-specialisation are in the minds of teachers and of the general public. All that it is intended to do here is to pick out one or two elements of classical-sixth-form work and discuss certain aspects of them.

(i) One of the most difficult problems confronting the sixth-form master relates to the 'general' classical background which he wishes his boys to acquire. Unfortunately it is difficult to describe this work except by a term borrowed from the language of examination, namely 'general questions'. The object of such work, in part at least, is to marshal the subject-matter of a boy's classical reading, whether in form or out, together with the matter which arises incidentally in class, and to review it, arrange it and draw out of it all a coherent statement and criticism of some main theme of classical thought or practice, illustrating or reinforcing such work by reference to modern counterparts or to other branches of study. If this is briefly the aim, then to get up each week a different subject out of relation to the general reading of the class and to dictate notes upon it are not means of realising it; still less, if the task of doing this is given to a master who does not share in the reading of authors with the form. Nor are matters made much better if the subject dealt with is one which sixth-form boys should be able to get up for themselves, as for example, the arrangement of the Greek theatre, or the costume of the Romans, or the outlines of a life of Horace. Among the many needs which a school library must serve in all this work, it is plain that it must be well provided with books for reference on matters of fact.

Now it is not easy to pick up incidental comment made while reading authors over a number of terms and to weld it into a whole when some general matter is being discussed at length. The matter is scattered and the boys may not all have read the same books; in any case they often find it difficult to detect the relevance of matter in their possession to a question couched in general terms.

It is suggested that much may be done to solve the problem by the adoption of some such plan as follows. The important thing is not the information acquired, but the information together with the method by


[page 66]

which it has been acquired; sincerity of thought and genuineness of effort are indispensable. If this is so, let us guarantee the close connection between the 'question' and the reading of literature or history by choosing, first, the question or subject, then the text. This is instead of choosing the texts first and trusting that incidental comment may be worked up into coherent form later; for this procedure generally leads to the dictation of notes on isolated subjects. A sixth-form master knowing that he has his boys for two or three years would choose a dozen broad and significant subjects to be treated in that time and attach to each of them a text - whether complete or in reasonably long extracts. The subjects would be of first-rate importance to classical thought or achievement and therefore of significance to modern thought or civilisation; they would be such as to lend themselves to talks by the master, individual reading by the boys and discussion by masters and boys which would range beyond strictly classical limits. Discussion, however, would never drift away into empty generalisation, for it would be anchored by the text. To give an example of such subjects, which might take half a term or a term or more than a term according to treatment and opportunity - (i) tragedy: its development; the tragic theme; the tragic hero; the function of tragedy; Aristotle; the French classical drama; Hegel's theory of tragedy; various English essays on Shakespearian tragedy; the texts to be read; chapters of Aristotle's Poetics in Greek or English; a tragedy of Shakespeare; (ii) the origin of society: kingship: aristocracy; the tyrant; the city state; 'laws of Nature'; 'social contract'; ius gentium; Lucretius; Plato's Republic (English or French reading offers great width of possibilities, but one book might be taken in 'English' periods, and others read in private study); (iii) Greek and Roman imperialism: books by Cromer, Bryce, Lucas; Thucydides, selected chapters; Plutarch's life of Alexander and selected passages of Cicero and Tacitus; (iv) lyric poetry: selections of lyric in Latin, Greek, English, French, German; (v) the epic, with selected books of the Iliad and the Odyssey; (vi) satire; its nature, aim and effect; Latin, English, French and Russian selections. In work of such a kind, much can be gained on all hands if classical pupils can join with other sixth-formers and share their reading, as far as possible, especially in that part of the reading which aims at the formation of taste rather than the acquisition of information.

It is contended that to have dealt with a few subjects in such a way is a better educative process than to cover a much larger number at second hand by dictated notes; and there is little doubt that both as regards the stock of information and its critical evaluation the achievement of the pupils, even assessed on a purely utilitarian basis, would be no less; the difference in sincerity would be apparent to examiner and examined. On


[page 67]

a humbler plane too, it is suggested, the same principles are of value. The dictated note on 'set books', on the plot of a play, or the historical background of particular chapters, or a summary of the argument, is better avoided. Sixth-form pupils, whether pursuing a classical course or taking Latin (without Greek) as one of several subjects, should be trained to take their own notes of a lecture or discussion, for skill in this is invaluable, whether at the University or elsewhere.

At the same time pretentious aims, ambitious topics and courses, sweeping generalisations and hasty judgments based on little evidence and little independent reading destroy the sincerity of thought and effort which is vital. For these reasons the control given by a suitable text or texts read and discussed in form is of the utmost importance.

(ii) It is very desirable that sixth-form masters should draw a distinction between books which are to be read extensively and those to be read intensively. Clearly some books will repay the most exact study, others less so, and the choice will depend upon the tastes and aims of individual teachers. The only points which are emphasised here are that classical literature is not all equally inspired and therefore needs much variety in treatment, and that, even where set books occupy a good deal of the reading time, there is need of much other reading apart from them.

(iii) On a previous page it was said that in the earlier stages of continuous prose composition the mind of the teacher should be seen at work wrestling with the difficulties of the thought. This is equally necessary when pupils pass into the sixth form. There is sometimes a tendency for a teacher to consider that such oral and collective composition as has been contemplated is unnecessary or undignified in the sixth form. But it cannot be over-emphasised that the process of arriving at the version is more important than the version itself, and, even if this process cannot be gone through each week, it cannot be omitted altogether. Again, dictated versions often fail to contribute to the improvement of a pupil's composition because they are not studied and revised with enough care; while they need not normally be known by heart, their value is increased if appropriate reference is made to them. Sometimes teachers of lower sixth forms find that inaccuracy in grammar mars the most promising piece of prose - inaccuracy which the pupil himself can correct. This need not cause undue alarm. The boy is attending to new aims - expression of the thought, the period, style and so on - and for the moment his vigilance in grammar is relaxed. During this transitional period it may be useful to give a double assessment of his prose, awarding one mark for sheer accuracy and another for the attempt made to wrestle with the problems of the passage. Sometimes the teaching and writing of composition tend to become an isolated and artificial element of classical work; it depends


[page 68]

too much on a manual of composition and the fair copy book, and it appears to be forgotten that composition must be brought into relation with the reading of the literature and that the essential forms of the language can be grasped only in the literature itself. The study of a passage of Latin or Greek and its translation with a view to grasping the essential differences between Latin or Greek and English is too seldom practised; so too is the regular oral summary (in the original language) of the last few pages of the book chosen for translation.

This is perhaps the right place in which to emphasise afresh the importance of sound, idiomatic English in all translation from Latin or Greek, whether oral or written. If the habit of oral translation and retranslation has been inculcated from the start, there should be less danger of slovenly, meaningless or inexact English even in the translation of the more intricate language which is encountered in the sixth form.

(iv) The teaching of Greek and Roman history raises larger questions than can be discussed here. But again perhaps attention may be drawn to one point which is not always appreciated. It should not be the part of a master taking a classical sixth form to teach the facts of Greek or Roman history, still less to dictate a summary of events or essays designed to answer a possible question. Sixth-form pupils should be expected to get up the facts for themselves. The master's function is then to supplement or illustrate or interpret the outlines given in the textbook, bringing out the significance of events or discussing motive and character. Sometimes it is his task to prepare the way for the study of a new period. Pupils in the lower sixth often fail to see the wood for the trees; when at the end of a complicated period they are asked to sum up its problems they can think only of the particular and not of the general. To encourage the power to abstract or isolate is a necessary part of sixth-form training, and some help can often be given by indicating in advance the problems likely to be encountered in a period of history. Again, it is important that comparison should be made between ancient and modern problems and their solution, and between conditions then and now. But such comparison is often hindered rather than helped if as a means of giving reality to ancient times modern labels or catchwords are employed, which with their modern associations may give a false picture of the ancient world. 'Private study' in history can be turned to great advantage if the resources of the library allow, and interesting and valuable excursions into topics not fully treated in the textbook can be made by pupils if guidance is given to them. For such guidance to be effective, sufficient time must be allowed.

(v) Sixth form work has sometimes failed to achieve full success through


[page 69]

a tendency to overteach pupils. The importance of private or independent study in sixth-form work has been generally realised, and here it is only necessary to stress again that private study is not preparation or homework, nor again is it something unrelated to class-work. By private study is meant work in which the pupil, under guidance, makes substantial progress through his own efforts, and by that progress advances the work of the classroom. No clear line should distinguish 'class work' and 'private study'; it should not make much difference to a pupil on what days or at what times a master finds himself able to attend to him. In private study a pupil pursues his own lines in original or secondary authorities, he extracts the new information he needs, he compares points of view and attempts on such evidence as he gathers to form his own points of view. In all this work guidance will be necessary, for he must not grope aimlessly on library shelves nor grapple with evidence beyond his powers nor attempt to form judgments on matters for which he has not the evidence. In reading a classical author by himself he will not expect to receive help or to be tested in the translation of every paragraph; and in history it should be assumed that the pupil can at least get up the facts for himself. But further elaboration cannot be attempted here. It remains to add that private study is as valuable to the pupil who is giving six or eight periods to a classical language as to the one who is taking a full course of classics; that a good tradition in the library and sixth-form room helps to produce, and is in turn produced by, intelligently guided private study; and finally, that no good can come of two or three periods of undirected private study grudgingly given by a teacher who would prefer to use them in teaching, even though it be overteaching. Nam quid aliud agimus docendo eos quam ne docendi semper sint? (1)


(1) Quintilian, Inst. Orat. 11.5.13.