Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - motto of Hogwarts School – Never tickle a sleeping dragon!
What have the Romans ever done for us? Lots of things! Through Latin lessons at Godstowe, pupils can learn about the world today – the influence of the Romans on our language, our culture and our ideas.
Latin is taken as a second language from Year 6, with the option of continuing into Years 7 and 8. Most pupils taking Latin aim for Common Entrance Level or, with extra lessons, a Scholarship. A 'traditional' Latin course is therefore most appropriate, but the teaching style is far from traditional, with games and role-play included in most lessons. We aim to ensure that 'rote' learning is more interesting and less burdensome by looking at recurring patterns and the 'why' of language structure. This approach also reinforces the girls' understanding of the structure of English, French and the other languages they may go on to study.
Roman culture is an element of the exam syllabus, covering daily life in Ancient Rome. A visit to Verulamium, the ruins of a Roman town in Hertfordshire, helps the girls learn more about family life and meals, entertainment, slavery and education as well as the structure of homes and towns. Hands-on investigation of genuine Roman artefacts is often the highlight of the trip.
“There were lots of strange things, such as ear scoops, nail cleaners and eyebrow pluckers. There were also tear jars, which the Romans used at a funeral to collect tears from the mourners!”
"The mosaics at Verulamium were one of the most amazing things I have ever seen."
(written by 11 year-old pupils).
Comparisons with modern European customs are made during teaching, enabling pupils to build up a realistic picture of Roman life and an awareness of universal aspects of human society and values. The syllabus also requires some knowledge of key Greek mythology that has so greatly influenced European art, literature and language.
Though not taken as a specific subject, girls learn about the influence of the Greeks and Romans on our lives. A visit to Roman Bath is also part of the activity day programme.
We have one lesson a week, designed as a ‘taster’ for girls. Apart from starting the basics of the language, we learn about Roman numerals, Roman education, clothing, chariot racing at the Circus and how the Romans used to live, whether rich or poor.
We start the Common Entrance syllabus, increasing the girls’ knowledge of grammar and syntax. In culture lessons we study the city of Rome, Roman meals and food, slaves and freedmen, the Roman theatre, as well as rites of passage (birth, coming of age, marriage and death).
Year 8 – three lessons a week, where girls follow a course appropriate to their needs.
Scholars: During extra lessons the language is studied in much more depth; girls learn more complex grammar and syntax, ready for scholarship exams. After the examinations Ancient Greek is undertaken for the rest of the year.
CE candidates: The Common Entrance syllabus is followed, concentrating on grammar, vocabulary and, in addition to reviewing previous culture topics, we study the Roman baths, gladiators and the amphitheatre.