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When Dead Tongues Speak

When Dead Tongues Speak: Teaching Beginning Greek and Latin

edited by John Gruber-Miller

Okay, this is something completely different. I’m not writing about this book to recommend it. Chances are, if you are someone who would benefit from this book, you have probably already read it. Rather, I’m writing about it because I love it and I wanted the excuse to read it again. 

In case it’s not obvious, this book is a collection of essays on the topic on how to teach Ancient Greek and Latin. Some of them are broadly applicable, and wouldn’t be terribly out of place in a collection of essays about teaching any second language; others are much more focused, going into detail about some particular facet of one specific language.

I love this book not just for its contents, but also just for the fact that it exists. Modern American education culture is doing its best to kill off Classics education, and fewer and fewer schools are offering even just a Latin course. For better or worse, Classics teachers need to adapt to survive. (I mean, I suppose sitting and waiting for society to swing back around to a classical revival is a strategy. I just don’t think it’s a particularly viable one.) What does that mean, though? New unorthodox methods to acquire and keep students? Fancy new teaching strategies that better embrace modern technology? Or maybe we just need to do what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years, and just do it better

I’ve thought about this a lot, but I don’t have any answers. Nobody really does, not definitively, but they certainly have suggestions, and books like this are only a step in the right direction: they keep the conversation moving. 

Filed under classical education education Greek Ancient Greek Latin book reviews

  1. classicallybred said: This was the topic of my senior thesis!
  2. katarhema posted this