Teachers are encouraged to use Taylor Swift lyrics to make Latin accessible.

Latin teachers are being encouraged to use Taylor Swift’s songs, Disney songs, Minecraft and fan fiction to make the ancient language of Virgil and Cicero more accessible to their 21st century students.

In recent decades, schoolgirls – mainly in private schools – have mastered the Latin language through the story of first-century Pompeii banker Lucius Cassilias, and his family, described in the popular Cambridge Latin course, soon. It will be published in the fifth edition.

Now, however, an academic at Cambridge University has developed a new guideline that suggests that Latin should be taught as a modern foreign language, where students are encouraged to speak, sing, write or write creatively, instead of simply learning vocabulary and grammar from the primer. . At the same time, translating hit songs into Latin can enhance students’ understanding of the various techniques used in Roman poetry.

Steven Hunt, who has been teaching Latin for 35 years and is now training Latin teachers, says traditional teaching methods still have their place, but in favor of a more imaginative, open-minded approach to broadening the subject’s appeal.

Currently less than 10,000 students study GCSE Latin and they are irresistible in private schools. According to a recent British Council survey, the Latin language is taught only in Phase 3 – the first three years of secondary education – 2.7% in state schools compared to 49% in independent schools.

In addition to the case for involving “active” Latin students in the classroom, Hunt’s book describes a series of innovative ways to develop students’ translation skills. In an example from a research paper, a university teacher struggles to engage his students in Virgil’s poetry, asking them to translate well-known songs instead. Among their successes was Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood, whose chorus was translated Because, dear, now our blood is bad.

Elsewhere, another Latin enthusiast recorded a Disney favorite in Latin, including Let It Go (Free) From Frozen, when 3D digital modeling and Google Earth helped students use Latin as they walked through virtual ancient sites, including a 3D model of Rome built in Minecraft.

“The problem with Latin education is that it has never been the subject of thorough academic scrutiny; We tend to rely on anecdotal information about what seems to be the job, “said Hunt, who hated the Latin language when he first studied it at the age of 11 and feared he would once use text that demeaned slavery and stereotyped female characters. Taught Latin.

“There is no ‘best way’ to teach it,” he said, “but some teachers are developing a rich set of responses to the challenge. Much depends on the principles of modern language learning. Some Latin teachers realize that this is the way to learn any language – dead or alive. “

Last summer the Department of Education announced the launch of a £ 4m project to promote Latin among school children in secondary schools, starting primarily in 40 schools in England, as part of a four-year pilot program for 11- to 16-year-olds.

“The role of Latin as the gatekeeper of elite education is over, but involving more students, especially in public schools, remains a problem,” Hunt said. “The challenge for teachers in the coming years will be whether they are ready to realize these opportunities to present the subject differently, and to broaden the appeal for students, or whether they prefer to stick to familiar routines.”

Taylor Swift: Bad blood

Verse 1

Do you have to do it?

I thought you could be trusted 10

Did you have to waste what was shiny?

Now all is rusty

Do I have to hit where I am weak?

Babu, I couldn’t breathe

And rub it so deeply 15

Nun at the wound as if you were smiling at me


Because baby, now our blood is bad

You know it was crazy love

So take a look at what you did

Because baby, now our blood is bad, hey!


Verse 1

Was it done for you?

I thought I could trust you.

Was it shiny because it was destroyed for you?

At the moment, this is not a sic.

How weak am I?

Care, I couldn’t breathe.

It was rubbing too high on you;

You smile when you see me, oh salt in the wound!


And, dear, now our blood is bad.

You know it was the craziest love

See facts from you

And, dear, now our blood is bad.


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