ERIC Number: EJ1061961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Reference Count: 18
The Benefits of Latin?
Holliday, Lisa R.
Educational Research Quarterly, v36 n1 p3-12 Sep 2012
Classicists have long claimed that the study of Latin has benefits that exceed knowledge of the language itself, and in the current economic times, these claims are made with urgency. Indeed, many contend that Latin improves English grammar and writing skills, cognitive abilities, and develops transferable skills necessary for success in the sciences. In and of itself, the study of Latin seems to be a topic of concern primarily within Classics departments. However, given the broad claims that have been made about the benefits of Latin for educational development, it is useful to investigate the role of Latin within elementary and high school curriculums as it relates to learning. Does the study of Latin improve cognitive abilities and English skills, including grammar and vocabulary? In order to address this question, this article does the following: (1) Surveys the historical background of the debate, beginning with the 1921-1924 study by the American Classical League (ACL); (2) Considers the claims tested in the ACL study, using modern research to assess the validity of the tests; and (3) Considers the possible benefits of Latin in light of the surveyed research. There is evidence to support that the study of Latin has several benefits, including increased English vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. However, research does not indicate that Latin is unique in this regard. Regarding cognitive abilities and performance in other disciplines such as mathematics, the majority of research does not indicate that Latin gives students any advantage in these areas. That being said, Latin, like other foreign languages, still has much to offer students.
Descriptors: Educational Benefits, Latin, Second Language Learning, Grammar, English, Transfer of Training, Writing Skills, Cognitive Ability, Second Language Instruction, Role, Elementary Secondary Education, Vocabulary Development, Educational History, Surveys, Validity
Behavioral Research Press. Grambling State University, Math Department, P.O. Box 1191, Grambling, LA 71245. Tel: 318-274-2425; Web site: http://erquarterly.org/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A