Like many educators, I have found myself in an endless loop lately of thinking and rethinking my teaching principles and practices — a loop caused by the unprecedented teaching conditions the pandemic has brought upon us. Though I consider myself a thoughtful instructor, I admit that I have never thought so extensively, carefully, and critically about the purposes and desired outcomes of my teaching as I have in the months between March 2020 and now. Each week of each semester involves calibrating and recalibrating my courses, as I hope to meet the needs of my students and help them balance their lives within the classroom and without. I have become more attuned to the extramural realities that bear on my students’ learning, and as someone who works at a Hispanic-serving Institution, a desire for inclusivity increasingly informs the way I teach.
The sudden rise of Latin novellas might come as a surprise to anyone outside of high-school classrooms. This genre, which didn’t exist seven years ago, now counts over a hundred published works. These novellas are largely written by and for those outside the world of higher ed, but they should be of interest to the larger scholarly community—not just because they will increasingly form the background and expectations of Latin students coming into college, but also because they are one part of a larger pedagogical movement that is in the midst of transforming the teaching of Latin.
“Think of the Children! The Reception of the Ancient World in Children’s Media” was the Women’s Classical Caucus panel at the most recent AIA/SCS meeting. We (Melissa Funke and Victoria Austen, co-organizers) conceived of this panel as a far-reaching conversation about how children have historically engaged with ancient Greece and Rome and how they continue to do so today. In choosing the papers for this panel, we had two primary concerns in mind: to think about how various media use ancient Greek and Roman material for education and play alike, and to use girlhood as a lens to reconsider reception in those media. While more traditional forms of literature, such as storybooks and poetry, were featured as an important aspect of this conversation, the presenters also addressed these issues in primary textbooks, video games, and web comics.
The Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. Most of the projects funded take place in the US and Canada, though the initiative is growing and has funded projects in the UK, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ghana, and Puerto Rico. This post highlights projects that foster engagement and education for school-aged children and young adults from California to Canada, Chicago to New York.
In last year’s introductory Greek class, I watched a student rejoice when asked to give a (partial) synopsis of the verb ‘λύω.’ While synopses are rarely met with enthusiastic responses, this student knew that the synopsis, if correctly produced, would make him stronger. My class was playing Olympus, a term-length board game played in one-hour instalments throughout the quarter, and he had just drawn the Agōgē card.
Fighting racism, or any wicked, wrongheaded, or simply false idea, demands persuasion, person to person. All non-violent activism and efforts at social change depend on rhetoric. It is fashionable now to believe that persuasion—the political kind, anyway—is something of a mirage, that much of our thinking is “motivated,” driven primarily not by argument and evidence but by self-interest, tribal loyalties, enduring personality traits, and demographic facts. Identity comes first; the rationalizations that make us feel that we are correct in our prejudices hobble along after.