Carpe iter: A Case for Latin-Themed Field Trips
Classical Association of the Atlantic States Annual Meeting
Session: Pedagogical Possibilities October 11, 2014
An informal series of Itinera Latina have taken place in New York City in recent years. These began in 2008 with Prof. Matthew McGowan’s Iter Botanicum at the New York Botanical Gardens. Following this example, there have been similar walks such as the Iter Zoologicum at the Bronx Zoo and the Iter Museicum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These events provide a social context for practicing Latin outside of the classroom and a much- needed leisure activity to accompany the rigors of formal instruction. In this paper I will argue for the benefits of Latin-themed field trips for learners all of ages and levels, specifically that they offer learning experiences which are: 1. authentic, 2. direct, 3. free-choice, 4. novel, and 5. fun. The first part of this paper will be a review of the three Itinera listed above, including the motivations for organizing the walks, a brief history of the events, and anecdotes about student participation. At the heart of the talk will be a discussion about how the events fit into the larger landscape of Latin learning. The walks have an affinity with aspects of the active Latin movement, such as the spoken-Latin conventicula and cenae Latinae which have gained in popularity in recent years: 1. They all seek to provide a contemporary and immediate context in which Latin students practice their language skills, and 2.They promote a social rather than educational mode of learning. Accordingly, this paper will situate the walks in this larger context of the pedagogical goals of active Latin. I will conclude with practical advice for those interested in organizing an Iter Latinum for their own school or community.
- Burchenal, M. and M. Grohe. 2007. “Thinking Through Art: Transforming Museum Curriculum.” Journal of Museum Education 32: 111-122.
- Davidson, S.K., C. Passmore, and D. Anderson. 2010. “Learning on Zoo Field Trips: The Interaction of the Agendas and Practices of Students, Teachers, and Zoo Educators.” Science Education 94: 122-141. Greene, J., B. Kisida, and D. Bowen. 2014. “The Educational Value of Field Trips.” Education Next 14. http://impact.sp2.upenn.edu/ostrc/doclibrary/documents/EducationalValueofFieldTrips.pdf (14 September 2014).
- Falk, J.H. 2005. “Free-choice environmental learning: framing the discussion.” Environmental Education Research 11: 265-280.
- Hurd, W. 1997. “Novelty and Its Relation to Field Trips.” Education 118: 29-35.
- Kitchell Jr, K.F. 2000. “Latin III’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Johnny Can’t Read.” New England Classical Journal 24: 206-226.
- Mathias, E. 2014. “Teachers and Successful Museum Field Trips.” M.A. thesis, University of Victoria.
- Mortensen, M.F. and K. Smart. 2007. “Free-choice Worksheets Increase Students’ Exposure to Curriculum During Museum Visits.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 44: 1389-1414.
- Scarce, R. 1997. “Field Trips as Short-Term Experiential Education.” Teaching Sociology 25: 219-226.
- Stupans, I., S. Scutter, and K. Pearce. 2010. “Facilitating Student Learning: Engagement in Novel Learning Opportunities.” Innovative Higher Education 35: 359-366.
- Verel, P. 2011, May 9. “Classics Professor Brings Latin to Life in Class and Research,” Inside Fordham Online. http://www.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/inside_fordham/may_9_2011/in_focus_faculty_and/cla ssics_professor_b_79011.asp. Retrieved September 18, 2014.