Latin goes woke! Teacher calls for classes to use translations of Taylor Swift lyrics to replace the ‘sexist’ syllabus of old
- Latin teacher trainer Steven Hunt is upset by language’s stories that are ‘sexist’
- He is ‘horrified’ he taught stories which trivialise slavery and ‘objectify women’
- The teacher of 35 years suggested pupils could respond to Taylor Swift’s hits
Translating the lyrics of Taylor Swift songs into an ancient language might seem like a niche hobby.
But one Latin teacher has suggested this teaching method, among others, is needed to replace texts that promote ‘stereotypes’.
Steven Hunt, who trains Latin teachers at Cambridge University, said he is ‘horrified’ he once taught stories which trivialise slavery and ‘objectify women’.
The Cambridge Latin Course, first published in 1970, is being rewritten in response to complaints about diversity.
Mr Hunt, who has taught Latin for 35 years, has compiled a teacher handbook on how to keep the subject alive.
Latin teacher Steven Hunt suggested pupils might respond better if translating the chorus to Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood – ‘Cause baby now we got bad blood’ – to ‘Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus’ (Pictured: Ms Swift onstage in 2021)
Steven Hunt, who trains Latin teachers at Cambridge University (pictured stock image of Peterhouse college) said he is ‘horrified’ he once taught stories which trivialise slavery and ‘objectify women’
Private schooling does not make people any happier in life than going through the state system, research suggests.
There was no difference in wellbeing between young adults who attended feepaying schools and those who went to comprehensives, academics found.
A University College London team followed 15,770 people in England born in 1989 and 1990.
The researchers surveyed participants on life satisfaction and mental health.
At age 20 and 25 they were asked how satisfied they were with how their life had turned out.
At 14, 16 and 25, mental health was assessed with questions such as: ‘Have you lost sleep over worry?’
The study, published in the Cambridge Journal of Education, concluded there was ‘no convincing evidence’ of a difference in both themes between private and state pupils in teenage years or early twenties.
He suggested pupils might respond better if translating the chorus to Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood – ‘Cause baby now we got bad blood’ – to ‘Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus’.
Other possible activities include Latinised Disney songs, with a YouTube channel imagining how Frozen song Let It Go may have sounded in ancient Rome.
Pupils could also improve grammar by reading amateur fiction in Latin.
Mr Hunt said many teaching materials do little to promote ‘inclusion’ and include ‘few people of colour and women’.
‘Students need to see themselves in the textbooks, and they also need to see the other – the marginalised, the little heard and little seen,’ he said.
A story in the Cambridge course, The Slave Dealer, includes ‘racial stereotypes’ and jokes about a slave woman being pleasing to men.
‘In the early 21st century… it ought not have a place in a school course book, and I now advise against its use in the classroom,’ he said.
Mr Hunt said he taught the story around a hundred times ‘with barely a thought about the objectification of the women, the casual stereotyping of the non-Romans, and the blind acceptance of a financial transaction in which one human being is sold to another’.
He said in response to complaints the publisher ‘recognised the highly problematic nature of this and other passages in the book and has undertaken a rewriting of the whole course’.
It comes amid a drive to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ and put trigger warnings on texts that are not politically correct.
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