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8

D R A G O N S T O D AY S P R I N G 2 0 1 6

Staff also encourage the interplay between

Classical learning and current application.

When A Blockers start using supines, they

quickly spot that “constitution” is the supine

of

constituo

(I decide), and just means

“something that has been decided”.

Moreover, the Dragon Classics experience

goes beyond language. As Dragons learn

Latin and Greek they also learn about the

civilizations that spoke them. From D to A

Block, they learn about things as diverse as

Roman schooling and home life, Roman

military conquests, the Greek myths and

classical building techniques. Children are

encouraged to think independently about

these cultures, so different from their own,

and are taught to appreciate the cultural,

political and linguistic debt we owe these

societies; for example, those learning Greek

soon discover that “pentagon” comes from

the Greek word

, meaning “five”.

We bring learning to life: on Roman Day,

all D Blockers dress in Roman clothes and

experience the thrill of chariot-racing, the

beauty of Roman art and the perils facing

the Roman slave. On B Block’s visit to the

Roman Baths at Bath, we learn how the

Romans lived in Britain and see first-

hand the source of many of our modern

architectural and engineering ideas. In

addition, there are the C Block Greek

plays, when the Iliad and Odyssey are

played out at breakneck speed. No Dragon

will ever forget the song lyrics

“Ody-sseus / He beats the pants off

Theseus!”. Occasionally there are

scholarship trips to experience the raw

power of plays in the original Greek as, last

year, to Aeschylus’

Eumenides.

What sets

Dragon Classics

apart

is what permeates all Dragon

learning: a combination of

rigour and good humour.

What sets Dragon Classics apart is

what permeates all Dragon learning: a

combination of rigour and good humour.

Latin takers are inventive: plenty of games,

quizzes, competitions and even snippets of

Monty Python help the learning sink in.

Toast and Translation, a long-established

club where children translate passages of

scholarship-level Latin, also provides scope

for animated exchange spiked with the odd

Latin quip, as when one child growled to

another: “Magister tibi imperavit ne panem

tangeres” translated as “Sir told you not to

touch the bread.”

Dragon Classics:

quirky and passionate rigour

Do you know the words for an

animal’s natural home, a body

of agreed rules that together

form the basis of the state, or

the mathematical term for a

five-sided figure? What binds

the answers (see if you can

spot them below) is where they

come from: Latin and Greek,

subjects Dragons learn with

an enthusiasm and precision

admired and envied by prep

and senior schools UK-wide.

ragons start Latin in D Block and

within a month know that “habitat”

comes from the verb

habito

and

means “he/she/it lives in”. Due to the

quirkiness of Classics here, they are as likely

to learn this by singing, catching a fluffy die

or playing a game as by a more conventional

route; a primary belief within the nine-

strong department is that learning Classics

at the Dragon should be interactive and fun.

However, rigour always keeps pace with

fun: children quickly snap up the technical

grammar terms needed for Latin which

apply in any language. Dragon Classics

staff have also devised and written three

text books specifically for Dragons (the

Beginners’, Improvers’

and

Scholarship

Booklets

); learning is varied but

always thorough.

D

C L A S S I C A L D R A G O N S

πεντε

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D R A G O N S T O D AY S P R I N G 2 0 1 6