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Operation #TeachClassics: sharing successful strategies from the UK for boosting Classics teaching in high schools

Arlene Holmes-Henderson

University of Oxford

Classics education is enjoying a resurgence in British high school classrooms. This development is the direct result of a number of key initiatives to raise the profile, currency and status of Classical Studies for 21st century learners. This paper will share the scope, shape and scale of strategies which have successfully reintegrated Classics to British educational policy and practice during the period 2014-2018. Three key areas will be discussed: widening access to Classics teacher training, promoting Latin for literacy with young children and advocating for Classics education with government policy-makers. Plagued for decades by association with paid-for schooling, Classics is increasingly breaking free of its label of ‘elitism’ and is rapidly being accepted onto mainstream curricula of non-fee-paying schools in all four home nations of the UK: Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Instrumental to this success has been the inclusion of Classical languages in the English national curriculum and an increased focus on language learning in Scotland. A new national project, ‘Advocating Classics Education’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council has galvanised support from sixteen universities around the UK to work together with local high schools to provide increased access to the study of Classics for fourteen to eighteen year-olds. Accompanied by a national media campaign, high-profile public events and the support of ‘celebrity’ patrons, the experience of partnership working across educational sectors will be discussed.

This paper will conclude with recommendations of ways in which British successes could be replicated in the United States (and beyond) by explicitly linking the study of Classics to existing educational and curricular priorities.  

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Lightning Talks 1: Pedagogy

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