Latin is not right wing

Connexion reader Celia Trinder talks about the teaching of Latin and Greek

I AM surprised Connexion gave pride of place to a letter [July] denigrating out of date practices in teaching Latin and Greek.

Ms Crampton has obviously not familiarised herself with the Cambridge Latin Course, or Reading Greek, which gives appeal to a wider audience, including those for whom English-Latin translation was just too difficult.
Furthermore non-linguistic classical studies appeal to all abilities.

Speaking as an ex Latin teacher with over 30 year’s experience, and as a left winger politically, I am insulted by snide remarks about ‘right wing elitism’ of Latin and Greek, though agree in principle with a condemnation of the rabid Mr Heffer.

I am not even condemning the emphasis on speaking and understanding skills in TEFL.
After all, verbal communication is of paramount importance in a modern language.

However I am grateful I was taught French by old-fashioned methods, as for me, understanding the structure of the language was a springboard for fluency (more or less) and certainly for competence in writing fairly accurate letters in French and understanding bureaucracy.

I also wonder why, with the new methods in schools, foreign languages are becoming unpopular?
Latin has withstood government assaults for decades, against modern languages and other smart new subjects and while it may be a niche market, it is thriving and forward looking, whereas French GCSE numbers have nosedived.

Celia TRINDER, By email

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