As Agnes Scott College launches its Summit Initiative—a liberal-arts-based program of global learning and leadership development that ensures all students gain perspectives and skills necessary for navigating an increasingly interconnected world—it might be helpful for me to articulate what Classics can contribute in this new model.
The Global Learning connection is so obvious as to require little comment; the influence of the classical world is all around us in our governmental systems, social constructs, imperial agenda, literary and artistic works, et cetera. Leadership Development may seem less obvious, but for me it presents an opportunity primarily to be more transparent about how Classics has always emphasized important leadership skills in addition to providing ample material for many approaches to leadership studies.
This brief post presents the example of my revisions to the 2015-16 Intermediate Latin sequence (LAT 201 and LAT 202) and how I plan to pair the latter with a new course (LAT 302) that incorporates advanced Latin students in a leadership capacity. In each part of these revisions, I am refining pedagogical methods I have used for a number of years rather than starting ex nihilo: group work during class times, collation of resources for primary source translation and analysis, location and analysis of secondary sources, informal and formal oral presentations.
My overall goals—which I will of course share with the students—are to help these young women to think critically about their own learning process, to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, to seek out help when they need it, to help each other, to understand that learning Latin is an ongoing process that is never “done,” and hopefully to gain a more realistic and more confident assessment of their own abilities. Each of these goals is addressed through specific assignments both in and out of class, and center on three main leadership skills: teamwork, information fluency, and public speaking. Rather than repeating myself, I encourage you to look at this presentation I developed during May’s Goizueta Foundation Summer Curricular Innovation Institute, generously and capably run by our Education professors Lesley Coia and Toby Emert. Latin is a team sport can be found here. Should anyone make their way to this post, questions and comments are welcome.