Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The latest Minimus Highlights

Minimus and a PGCE Course

At a time when we have such a national shortage of Classics teachers it has been especially pleasing to work with students who are intending to teach. I recently reported the exciting development at Bristol University where my former colleague Helen Aberdeen (MFL tutor) and her colleague Lorna Smith (English tutor) had invited me to deliver Minimus training to their students in the summer term. After my initial very enjoyable meeting with these students on 18th December we awaited numbers with eager anticipation. I had hoped that we would get a small group of 10, which seemed to me viable. This is, after all, an optional module for students who are extremely busy, both with written work and teaching placements. Imagine our joy when a total of 50 students signed up to follow the Minimus course - 18 English student teachers and 32 MFL teachers.  We were especially delighted when the University of Bristol agreed to split the class and create 2 smaller classes so that I am running 2 parallel sessions each week. 
Thus I can target the training separately towards English and Modern Foreign Languages Groups.

I sent an initial questionnaire to all these students and have been thrilled by their  responses. They are so enthusiastic. Some quite naturally wish to add Latin to their list of languages that they can offer when they apply for jobs; others gave up Latin too early at school and are delighted to have the chance to re-visit it; others are fascinated by history and are looking forward to finding out about the Minimus family and Vindolanda; others have a passion for etymology and can’t wait to make the links between Latin and English, and so it goes on. One especially lovely quote from a student, who was asked why she had signed up for this module, said:

 “I have a Latin-shaped gap in my life. “
This is proving to be a really stimulating experience for me as the MFL students are sharing links between Latin and many languages and the students come from all over the world.  I am so grateful to Helen and Lorna for having the vision to set up this module. Moreover other Universities have already expressed interest in the Bristol PGCE scheme, so who knows what might happen next year? The mouse continues to scuttle!

Barbara Bell and Helen Forte at the Vindolanda Trust Museum May 2015

150,000 copies of Minimus sold worldwide!!!

Last weekend (May 1st - May 4th 2015) the Primary Latin Project Committee celebrated the amazing news that 150,000 copies of Minimus have been sold worldwide since Minimus' inception. We were very lucky to hold one of our semi-annual committee meetings at the Vindolanda Trust  Hedley Building Conference Centre. After the meeting we then had the chance to look round the marvellous Vindolanda Trust museum and site. Both Vindolanda and its sister museum, The Roman Army Museum, have been fabulously renovated in recent years and are well worth the visit. 

The PLP committee enjoyed visiting Hadrian's Wall once again to see where the Minimus story started...with the real family in the Vindolanda Writing Tablets. We all look forward to celebrating 200,000 copies sold - hopefully in the not too distant future!

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