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Integrating diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the Latin classroom, and reconsidering the place of Classics in non-western traditions

Sonya Wurster

Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy; La Trobe University

In my presentation, I will discuss the transition from academia to secondary teaching and approaches that have been helpful teaching Latin to students with a diverse range of skills and existing knowledge-levels: 1) modifications to the curriculum to meet individual student needs; 2) the inclusion of cultural content that resonates with girls of color; 3) the incorporation of non-literary material culture in addition to literary sources.

Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA) is an all-girls charter high school in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn) that attracts students from a wide-range of New York City middle schools. All students are required to take Latin their first two years, and many will continue through their senior year as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. In a first-year Latin class, students with strong academic skills and educational backgrounds learn alongside students who are well below grade level in reading and have no prior exposure to ancient Rome.

I have found that my experience teaching Classical Studies, Greek and Latin in Singapore and Australia to students from diverse linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic has prepared me to teach my students in New York City; and further, prompted me to reconsider how Classics positions itself in relation to non-Western traditions.

 

Session/Panel Title

If Classics is for Everybody Why Isn't Everybody in My Class?

Session/Paper Number

72.4

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