pedagogy

By Sarah E. Bond | January 17, 2017

In Roman Gaul, a large map of the known world stood on display at the school of rhetoric at Augustodunum (modern Autun). Around 300 C.E., when the school had fallen into disrepair, a man named Eumenius made a pitch to the Roman governor to allow him to rebuild the structure with his own money. He put particular emphasis on the importance of the map:

"In [the school’s] porticoes let the young men see and examine daily every land and all the seas and whatever cities, peoples, nations, our most invincible rulers either restore by affection or conquer by valor or restrain by fear. [They can] learn more clearly with their eyes what they comprehend less readily by their ears…" (Eum. Pan. Lat. XI.20, trans. Talbert).

By T. H. M. Gellar-Goad | December 26, 2016

If you’ve studied or taught Latin in the last decade or so, you’ve probably used or at least encountered The Latin Library, administered by William L. Carey, Adjunct Professor of Latin and Roman Law at George Mason University. It’s a simple, free, HTML-based site with a huge collection of Latin texts spanning the longue durée of Latin literature. The purpose of the site is to offer digital texts “for ease of on-line reading or for downloading for personal or educational use” ( see “About These Texts”).

By Mary Pendergraft | December 5, 2016

The online companion to the print book The Worlds of Roman Women is an important resource that should be far more widely known and used than it is. It offers annotated primary texts, images, and pedagogical materials for teachers of Latin and was called “the gold standard for a web translation resource for intermediate as well as more advanced students,” by Andrew Reinhard nearly a decade ago,[1] and this judgment is still accurate—not because of a sleek or beautiful interface, but because of the wealth of carefully curated content it provides.

By Mary Pendergraft | November 21, 2016

This paper was delivered as part of "The Future of Classical Education: A Dialogue," a panel organized by the SCS Program Committee at the 147th annual meeting of the SCS in San Francisco, January 8, 2016.

The economic volatility of the last decade has taken a toll on education at every level; the humanities in general and language studies in particular have suffered far more than STEM subjects; and among languages, Greek and Latin, which offer no immediately profitable benefits, feel especially vulnerable. Many of us feel this concern instinctively and find that anecdotes from around the country reinforce our concerns. In addition, three national organizations have published large-scale reports that each offer a different snapshot on the state of undergraduate education.

By Michael Lippman | November 7, 2016

Encouraged by the success of my Sparta course, I began designing a similar course on Athens. My hook was to make the syllabus a virtual blank slate, putting the power in the hands of the demos (in this case, the class). At the start of semester, the syllabus listed one test (the final), which constituted 100% of the grade. Policies and procedures were limited to those the university required, readings were broken down by week; otherwise, students were granted total democratic powers to structure the course. The demos could vote to add more assessments and course policies as well as define the day-to-day classroom experience, but, they would be held accountable for the material on the syllabus regardless of how class was structured.

By Michael Lippman | October 31, 2016

"This university does not promote fascism! We support democracy here!" I was in a Dean's office, trying to talk my way out of being fired on the spot. It started innocently enough. After the wild success of the film 300, I had thought that a large (500 student) lecture course on Sparta might be popular and help recruit majors, plus high enrollment keeps administrators off our backs and justifies our existence in the face of potential budget cuts. Still, I wanted to bring in this popular culture element without sacrificing educational quality, as well as try and make the large, lecture course simulate my preferred small, discussion-based ones. To do this, I created an experiential classroom in which course structure and daily interaction paralleled Spartan society. Students thus were to learn via an approximation of the agoge in the hope that the Spartan system might become a little more personal.

By Nigel Nicholson | October 16, 2016

This paper was delivered as part of "The Future of Classical Education: A Dialogue," a panel organized by the SCS Program Committee at the 147th annual meeting of the SCS in San Francisco, January 8, 2016.

The problem of perceived employability

The biggest challenge that Classics as a discipline faces in the current climate in this country is surely the perception that, unless you are going to be a teacher, a BA in Classics does not make you much more employable than a high school diploma. The challenge comes from a variety of stakeholders: students, of course, current, past and future; students’ parents (I am sure we have all had conversations with parents about what young Johnny will “do” with a classics degree); but also accrediting agencies, deans and provosts, foundations and donors; and, right now, crucially, employers, and indeed many of the employers that our students are interested in working for.

By T. H. M. Gellar-Goad | January 24, 2015

This month’s column is the first part in a series I’ll post every other month or so about how we can apply and see in action the 7 principles of research-based pedagogy described in the excellent book How Learning Works, by Susan Ambrose, et al.  This month’s topic: knowledge organization, ch. 2 of the book.

By T. H. M. Gellar-Goad | January 24, 2015

Greek Myth is one of the standbys of Classics general-education courses at colleges and universities across the United States.  These courses often have high enrollments and are populated by students with little prior knowledge about the ancient Mediterranean world who are taking the course to fulfill a degree requirement.  They may take Myth because of a lifelong interest in the stories (or because they’ve read the Percy Jackson series), they may be inspired to major in Classics by the course, or they may never read or think about Graeco-Roman culture after the term ends.

A common way of teaching the Myth survey course is like a panorama, a wide-angle shot that tries to fit in as much content as possible from a high-altitude perspective.  I took a different approach in my fall 2013 Greek Myth course at Wake Forest University — a closeup, zooming in on one specific ancient myth-cycle in elaborate detail.  Rather than try to cover Graeco-Roman mythology from Chaos to Romulus, encountering tidbits of art and literature from Homer to Ovid, my course focused on just one mythic figure, and students studied every major visual and textual treatment of that figure that survives from the ancient world.

The myth-cycle I selected was Herakles/Hercules.

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