Student Outreach: Taking Latin and Greek out of the University and into the Classroom

I am a finalist studying for a BA in Ancient History and, as part of my course, I have elected to do more Latin and classical Greek than is perhaps healthy for an individual. As a student, wanting to talk about your subject is entirely understandable. UCL, however, has nurtured my confidence and given me the opportunity to go one step further: to teach what I love. Through UCL’s official partnerships with various outstanding outreach organisations such as the IRIS Project and the East End Classics Project, a number of undergraduate students currently run Latin classes in schools which aren’t from typically ‘classics-orientated backgrounds’.

Although the projects also cater for primary schools across London and Oxford, I personally enjoy volunteering at two superlative secondary schools in the London area. Wednesday and Friday lunchtimes are dedicated to around fifteen pupils from the Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, while a group of erudite sixth-form students from BSix, Hackney, heroically forgo their spare time after school to learn Latin with myself and another student volunteer.

Although I say so myself, the lesson plans outlined by these outreach programmes are far removed from the typical Latin lessons of thirty years ago, filled with monotonous chanting and teachers so old they doubtless spoke Latin themselves. In fact, mini-games, etymology quizzes, acting performances, interactive white-boards, and sweets all form the corpus of a typical Latin lesson. All this, combined with various trips to see the Trojan Women performed at UCL’s Bloomsbury Theatre and a lecture series comprised of esteemed academics, is due to crescendo at the end of the year with students attending a summer school at Wadham College, Oxford.

Xavier Murray-Pollock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s