Classic Collaboration: the Edgbarrow Latin Project

The Edgbarrow Latin Project is a great example of the power of community collaboration. Every Wednesday, a group of Wellington Classics students, accompanied by members of the Classics Department, head over to Edgbarrow School to teach Latin to students in Years 8 to 11. As the Edgbarrow students work towards a full GCSE in Latin, the Wellington students gain a different perspective on the classroom experience.

The project, now in its fifth year, was established by Dr Cromarty, along with Dr Johncock and Dr Ramsey from the Classics Department. It has gone from strength to strength ever since. What was once a teacher-led initiative has now expanded to include an enthusiastic group of Wellington students: 10 Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth students are now involved as classroom teaching assistants. There are currently four different year groups running, including a large Year 8 class being taught by an Edgbarrow teacher and aided by four Wellington students.

While previous participants were entered for the short course at the end of Year 10, this year will see the first cohort entered for the full GCSE Latin exam. They will sit their Latin papers along with their other subjects in June. As Dr Cromarty remarked, this is a ‘challenge for the students on only one hour a week over four years’.

The Edgbarrow students have more than risen to the challenge. ‘They are very enthusiastic’, one Sixth Former commented, ‘They are all on top of it and they seem excited about learning’. Another explained the benefits of having a shared interest: ‘Because it’s an after-school club, the Edgbarrow students all really want to be there. It is something we are taking as a subject because we want to do it as well, so there is a mutual enthusiasm there – both parties enjoy it’.

Wellington students are clear about the learning opportunities for all involved:

‘It’s been a really useful experience, a really beneficial one. It is great for us to go over the basics again, and then seeing them understand it is something that’s very nice to see. People always say that if you want to learn something you should teach it to others and this is literally doing that.’

‘When you’re the teacher you really have to be ready to answer all of their questions. It teaches you not to give up if the student is frustrated or if can’t get something right. You have to motivate them and encourage them to try again. This gives us a useful perspective to take back and apply to our own work.’

The Edgbarrow Latin Project is part of Wellington’s Global Citizenship programme. Like many community initiatives, we are building reciprocal relationships that we hope will continue for a very long time.

Good luck to the Edgbarrow students sitting Latin exams in June.

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