Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2020 – School of Humanities Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2020 – School of Humanities

Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2020

Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2020

The Teaching Classical Languages symposium is a forum in which instructors share their experiences teaching Latin and Ancient Greek. Speakers from several Australian universities and NSW secondary schools will reveal their insights into pedagogies, strategies, and more. A particular focus is how recent events have inspired teachers into re-thinking how best to teach ancient languages, both online and offline.

  • Acknowledgment of Country
  • Welcome & Introduction to the 2020 Teaching Classical Languages Symposium by Ass. Prof. Paul Roche
How can teachers maintain integrity of learning and teaching strategies across different modes of delivery? What can we learn from the teaching of classical languages in other countries? In this session, particular attention is given to evaluating established pedagogies around both on- and off-line learning in response to the needs of 2020.
  • Dr. Sarah Lawrence UNE
    “Carpe Diem: Seizing the Opportunities of Online Classics.”
  • Assoc. Prof. Trevor Evans Macquarie
    ‘‘… now (that) we aren’t in proper classes’ Teaching Greek Latin at Macquarie University before and during the COVID-19 lockdown’
  • Dr. K.O. Chong-Gossard University of Melbourne
    “A report on best practice in teaching Latin and Greek in universities – Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.”
  • Ms. Louella Perrett Saint Ignatius College Riverview
    “Adapting online delivery of curriculum & rethinking existing pedagogies.”
Questions & discussion


10.35-11.00 – BREAK
11.00-12.00 ASSESSMENT
In this session, presenters address and (re)consider assessment pedagogies, particularly in response to the events of 2020. A special focus is the efficacy and usefulness of tests measuring simple recall in a ‘closed book’ context compared with tests measuring higher order thinking around conceptual learning and problem solving in ‘open book’ assessments.
  • Dr. Estelle Strazdins UQ
    “Teaching & Testing Beginners in an Open-book World”
  • Dr. Jonathan Wallis University of Tasmania
    “Creating engaging formative assessment tasks”
  • Mr. Lance Shortus (Blacktown Girls High School)
    “The role of formative assessment and differentiation in early secondary school”
 Questions & discussion


Participants learn strategies to increase the spoken-language component of teaching Latin and Classical Greek. This traditionally undervalued component has become increasingly popular in recent years with the advent of more sophisticated digital learning platforms, which themselves have successfully implemented strategies predicated on ‘comprehensible input.’ In addition, teachers are guided through Legonium, an Australian online teaching resource, developed specifically for beginning Latin students, and now supplemented by a textbook.
  • Ms. Caroline Brehaut (Kambala)
    “Simple strategies for incorporating CI into the Latin classroom”
  • Mr. Anthony Gibbins (Sydney Grammar School)
    “A World of Latin Resources”
Questions & discussion


12-50 – 1.00pm WRAP UP


  • Ms. Caroline Brehaut, Kambala School
    Caroline Brehaut holds an MPhil in Greek and Roman History and Latin from the University of Oxford, having previously studied at several other institutions. She has been an educator since 2004, enjoys speaking Latin at any and every opportunity (even though it’s really hard), and loves it when her students greet her with ‘Salve Magistra’ in the corridor. Caroline is continually investigating, researching, and experimenting with new ways of communicating knowledge to students. She has a fluffy dog called Leo who she really loves. Leo nitidissimus canis in tota orbe terrarum est.This session will showcase some practical strategies for using comprehensible input approaches in the junior years which I have developed over the years. The rationale for using these approaches is that they improve engagement, access and comprehension for a broader range of students than has perhaps traditionally been the case. They are simple to integrate into existing Latin teaching programs and can operate side by side textbook based teaching.


  • Dr James H.K.O. Chong-Gossard, University of Melbourne
    K.O. has been teaching Latin and Ancient Greek at the University of Melbourne since 2001, when he moved to Australia from the United States. He has a PhD from the University of Michigan, and for several years taught beginners Latin with the “Michigan method” used there. His research focuses on the 14th century commentaries by Nicholas Trevet on the tragedies of Seneca, and on the representation of women in Euripides’ tragedies. He is also the Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association of Victoria.I visited nine colleges and universities in Canada, Hawaii and Minnesota, and New Zealand, to observe the teaching of Latin and Greek at all levels. I report some observations about what worked (and didn’t work) in the classroom (which was face-to-face in those days), different methods of reading, and different expectations of student skill sets—all of which made me rethink my own teaching practice. This presentation is also meant to be a breath of fresh air, so you can look forward to me demonstrating lots of things, e.g., some explanations of syntax that I observed and which stuck in my mind.


  • Ass. Prof. Trevor Evans, Macquarie University
    Trevor Evans is a linguist who feeds his research on ancient languages and the people who spoke and wrote them into his teaching at every opportunity. He has taught Greek and Latin at the University of Sydney, the University of Oxford, and Macquarie University, where he is currently the coordinator of the Ancient Languages program and Director of the Macquarie Ancient Languages School (MALS).Trevor Evans will offer some reflections on his developing pedagogical practice across different learning modes, the degree to which established approaches had to be adapted to meet the needs of 2020, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his thinking on learning and teaching strategies, and his observation of student responses.


  • Mr. Anthony Gibbins, Sydney Grammar School
    Anthony Gibbins has been teaching Latin for thirteen years and Ancient Greek for about six months. He is the co-organiser of Rusticatio Australiana, the Australian incarnation of an American Latin immersion program. Anthony is the creator of Legonium, a Latin resource website with a considerable social media platform. Legonium uses the medium of Lego to teach and promote the classics.Anthony will be discussing the online communities that support Latin teachers, and some of the resources being developed around the world to promote and support Latin teaching. He will also discuss his own Latin project – Legonium – and how it fits into this wider world of Latin resources.


  • Sarah Lawrence University of New England
    Sarah is the Charles Tesoriero Senior Lecturer in Latin at the University of New England where at least 80% of students study online. She is committed to the social justice potential of Latin teaching and loves being in the (virtual) classroom. In 2017 she was awarded a National Teaching Award for her work on the online teaching of Latin. As a researcher, Sarah works particularly on neglected Latin texts of the early empire with the aim of understanding as fully as possible how Roman authors of that period saw their world.


  • Ms. Louella Perrett, St. Ignatius’ College Riverview
    Louella has been teaching Latin, Ancient Greek, French and Italian since 1987. She served on the HSC Exam Committee for Italian Continuers and Extension in 2008-2009. She has also been an HSC Marker (Latin) since 1994, and Senior marker for several years. For the past nine years, Louella has been Supervisor of Marking for all the Classical Languages. In addition, Louella is the elected president of the CLTA. She is the Head of Faculty, Languages, at Saint Ignatius’ College, a role she has held since 2002.  Louella is passionate about the role of language learning in shaping young minds, and going ‘beyond the syllabus’ to extend students and stimulate curiosity and a love of enquiry.The transition to online learning, precipitated by COVID-19, has certainly had its challenges, not least being how to keep active teenage boys focused on and engaged in their studies. From the point of view of pedagogy, however, the experience has yielded surprising rewards. This presentation will examine how existing practices and course materials have been reviewed, and how the vibrancy of the face-to-face classroom experience has not only been maintained, but also enhanced post COVID.


  • Mr. Lance Shortus, Blacktown Girls High School
    Lance is an early career, secondary teacher who studied Latin at Macquarie University. After a short leave of absence, he has now been back teaching for almost three years. Lance introduced and currently teach Latin, along with History and other humanities subjects, at a partially selective high school in Western Sydney.Latin is now in its second year of implementation at Blacktown Girls and is being taught to a wide range of students with various learning needs and abilities. This diversity is often challenging and rewarding and presents opportunities to push into new areas of practices to create rewarding and engaging lessons that build to differentiated assessments. The challenges of online learning in a widely diverse school have reinforced the need for effective formative assessment and the potential to see real improvement in student literacy through learning Latin.


  • Dr. Estelle Strazdins, University of Queensland
    Estelle was recently appointed Lecturer in Ancient History, in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, at the University of Queensland. Prior to this, Estelle was a research associate and assistant editor for the Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World Project, funded by the Leventis Foundation at the University of Cambridge. Her Oxford DPhil was in Imperial Greek Literature and she has taught Latin and Greek at tertiary level in the UK and Australia. Estelle is also a qualified physiotherapist.The switch to online learning during the COVID-19 crisis has thrown up a number of challenges, particularly in equitable assessment, as students do not have the same levels of access to technology or the same environmental conditions for study or exams. In this presentation, I will outline some of the difficulties and benefits of assessing beginners’ language courses under open-book conditions and how my teaching has adapted to accommodate a change in focus from testing vocabulary and paradigm recall to conceptual understanding and problem solving.


  • Dr. Jonathan Wallis, University of Tasmania
    Jonathan is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Tasmania. He has been teaching Latin and Roman culture since 1999, and in recent years to an increasingly online cohort of students. For his work in online education, in 2019 Jonathan received a Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence. Jonathan also researches and publishes on Latin personal poetry both in antiquity and in its 20th-century reception.The online environment presents as many opportunities for effective teaching and assessment as it does challenges. In this brief presentation, Jonathan will focus in particular on making use of the digital format to create engaging formative assessment tasks. He will demonstrate several examples of both formative and summative assessment from the Introductory Latin course at UTas in 2020, and will evaluate some of the successes (and failures) of these.


This symposium is hosted by the department of Classics & Ancient History University of Sydney, the Centre for Classical and Near-Eastern Studies University of Sydney, and the Classical Languages Teachers Association of NSW. For further information, please contact Tamara Neal, t.neal@sydney.edu.au

We look forward to welcoming all teachers and students of Latin and Ancient Greek to this symposium.

Date: 14th August 2020

Time: 9.00am-1.00pm

NESA Accreditation

Completing the Teaching Classical Languages – Online Symposium 2020 will contribute 3hrs of NESA registered PD addressing 3.3.2, 5.1.2, 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.


On Zoom

Please click here to register.


The Department of Classics and Ancient History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).

Social Media

The Department of Classics and Ancient History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.


Aug 14 2020


9:00 am - 12:00 pm


This event is free



Other Organizers

Classics and Ancient History
http:// sydney.edu.au/arts/classics-ancient-history 

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