13 February 2009

Classical education: a waste of time?

I've long been of the opinion that classical education is all well and good, but the focus on Latin is, for almost everyone, a complete waste of time. (The English teacher at my school would strongly disagree. He and his wife are fans of ancient Greek/Latin.) I am not a fan. I even wrote a paper on this for a book review in college about 10 years ago, when I first learned what classical education is, and I've not seen anything since then to change my mind. Learning a romance language will do for you anything Latin can do for you, with the added benefit that you can communicate with hundreds of millions of people, which is supposedly what we're all about. Community is one of the 5 C's, right? So where exactly is the community of Latin speakers? So whenever I come across a good example to support my opinion, I usually express it to the few people I know involved in classical schools or of that mindset.

For one thing, I was watching Braveheart the other day, and there was some scene where the person was speaking Latin, and I understood every word.

Also, a couple of nights ago on Jeopardy, there was a whole category on love words related to Latin. I answered every one correctly, including the one referring to the word 'ardent,' which none of the contestants could answer. When I asked the same question in my Spanish 3 class, some of them answered it also.

It's called a dead language because no one can speak it. As communicators let's focus on the living, shall we? And leave the dead for those whose hearts beat for ancient literature and medical/scientific terminology.

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