Language, Literature and Latin

Jun 27, 2021

You may look back on your Classics days at the Dragon and remember the joys and/or difficulties of memorisation. Chandler Hamer, Teacher of Classics, writes about learning Latin today.


In a wide and competitive curriculum, it should not be surprising that young Dragons still learn Latin from Year 5 and can opt to take on Ancient Greek in Years in B and A Block (Years 7 and 8). Classics is an interdisciplinary subject, and all four options — Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History — offer wide-range thinking across subject boundaries as well as a plethora of culturally relevant topics to explore.

“It also teaches the origins of disciplines like philosophy, history and politics, giving the children great cultural insight and cultural literacy.”

In our department, the principles of ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Rigour’ remain strong, as we firmly believe in the grit and determination it takes to master vocab and patterns. We encourage the children to be more accurate with their language and understand complex grammatical structures, as it is vital to develop their own English literacy. It also gives them access to other modern foreign languages and a strong foundation for independent learning, which has profound cross-curricular benefits. The mental exercises needed to succeed in Latin and Ancient Greek have not been cracked by Google Translate yet, showing how useful it still is.

Today you will find our ‘Beginners Booklet’, refined by decades of Latin teaching, supported by online quiz platforms, rhymes and raps, and links to modern art and literature. Our final department principal of ‘Fun’, shows the time and dedication we put into making Classics exciting and accessible to everyone. We continue to draw out interesting and relevant topics from the Classical World, as learning about the language, literature and civilisation of the ancient Greeks and Romans, gives a fantastic opportunity for the children to reflect on today’s multi-cultural society, and appreciate cultural differences. It also teaches the origins of disciplines like philosophy, history and politics, giving the children great cultural insight and cultural literacy.

We still learn Latin because Classics continues to evolve as a subject and strives to remain relevant, valuable and fun.

What do you remember from your days learning Latin at the Dragon?

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