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This section looks at how classical studies fits the wider curriculum and how classical studies can be an important and valuable part of a student’s learning pathway.

‘There is a limit to how much education you can sustain for no obvious reason … but if they are starting to develop a view that what I am doing will lead me to this area or that area, if they see the connection, it gives them a reason to continue to learn their English, to develop their maths, or whatever they need … that there is a purpose for it …’

(Stuart Middleton, Manukau Institute of Technology)

Classical studies and the learning areas

Classical studies is included in the social sciences learning statement in the New Zealand Curriculum and sits in the social sciences domain for the purposes of NCEA assessment.

Cross-curricular collaboration with other social sciences and other senior subjects can encourage students to develop a range of skills and competencies. Examples of how achievement standards can be combined in integrated approaches can be found in cross-curricular learning and external qualifications.

Examples of how these connections might be made across learning areas are found below.

Please review and ensure that each example reflects the idea of alignment (that is, repeated opportunities to learn), interest and connections (different learning areas that can provide a way in for students’ different interests/cultures), and community (transparency of learning concepts and outcomes sustained across several areas).

Classical studies and English

In English, students make meaning through genre studies and close reading of written texts. Students are also required to develop the skills of writing, speaking, and presenting.

In classical studies, students use classical texts as vehicles to make meaning of the ideas and values of the classical world. Students have opportunities to communicate their understandings in a range of modes.

Context: Students could use Virgil’s Aeneid or Homer’s Odyssey to understand the conventions of epic poetry. Alternatively, through the close reading of Sophocles’ Antigone, they could explore the ideas of character, theme, and setting.

Context: Both English and classical studies require the study and production of formal writing. Teachers could work together to support students in the development and structuring of ideas by building on a single idea, adding details and examples, and linking the idea to others to produce a coherent response.

Classical studies and history

In history, students explore the key concepts – significance, continuity and change, cause and effect, and perspective through a range of contexts. Students are also required to develop the skills of extracting meaning from sources and evaluating their usefulness and reliability.

In classical studies, students explore significant historical figures and events. This links directly to the key concepts of history. Students are also required to develop the skill of evaluating the strengths and limitations of primary and secondary source evidence.

Context: Students could investigate Alexander the Great or Augustus as historical figures who illustrate continuity and change. Alternatively, they could investigate the revolt of Spartacus or the Persian invasions as events that illustrate cause and effect.

Context: Both history and classical studies involve examining the sources of a historical event of significance to New Zealanders in order to better understand the ideas and values of the historical worlds.

Classical studies and art history

In art history and classical studies, students develop understandings of and appreciation for a range of art works. Students are also required to develop the skill of responding to an art work.

Context: Students could gain an appreciation of the aesthetic values embodied in works of sculpture, for example, comparing the Kritios Boy to Donatello’s David. Alternatively, they could explore the depiction of the human form in motion and make comparisons with art works of other periods or styles of art; for example, the Renaissance and cubism, or they might develop their knowledge of art history’s critical terminology, for example, perspective, contrapposto, and chiaroscuro.

Classical studies and Latin

In Latin, students develop understandings of how the language is used in the modern world. There is a strong focus on values and perspectives in relation to socio-cultural practices, achievements, and beliefs.

In classical studies, students have the opportunity to learn through the key concept of culture and identity. The conceptual strand – examining values – underpins the two learning objectives at each level.

Context: Students could develop understandings of the precise meaning of Greek and Latin terms and expand their vocabulary, for example, atrium, orchestra, in medias res, hubris, in loco parentis, and subpoena. They could also develop an appreciation of the reasons for the influences of Greek and Latin on the modern world as a result of cultural imperialism. Knowledge of ancient language leads to a deeper understanding of the values of classical civilizations.

Classical studies and drama

In drama, students use a range of texts to explore values and perspectives through performance.

In classical studies, students use a range of ancient texts to explore the ideas and values of the classical world.

Context: Students could investigate the conventions of Attic Old Comedy, Greek tragedy, Roman comedy, and perform excerpts from the plays.

The achievement standard exemplifies the importance of making connections between the play and the wider world of the play and the playwright. In both subjects, this focus helps to make learning relevant for 21st century New Zealand learners.

Classical studies and media studies

In media studies, students explore media in society, including the relationship between the media and its audience.

In classical studies, students explore art and architecture in its art/historical context. Understanding how ancient sources influence modern media is also a valued outcome.

Context: Students could critically evaluate the contemporary representation of historical figures and events, for example, by comparing Oliver Stone’s Alexander with Arrian’s account of Alexander’s career. Alternatively, they could examine Roman imperial public architecture (for example, arches and columns) in mass propagandist media.

Classical studies psychology and philosophy

In psychology, students explore individual behaviour, including thoughts, emotions, and actions.

In philosophy, students explore fundamental questions about the nature of existence, knowledge, and ethics.

In classical studies, students analyse a range of ancient ideologies.

Context: Students could examine the Socratic method of inquiry and reflect on the nature and validity of their own values, for example, by writing and performing their own Socratic dialogue. Althernatively, they could analyse human behaviour in the context of a classical literary work, for example, Sophocles’ Antigone.

Classical studies and geography

In geography, students develop understandings of how people interact with different environments.

In classical studies, knowledge of classical geography is necessary for understanding the key concepts of empire and power, and culture and identity.

Context: Students could track Alexander’s invasion of Asia on a modern map of the Middle East. Alternatively, they could explore urbanisation and town planning in Rome or Alexandria.

Classical studies and legal studies

In legal studies, students investigate the role of law in society and legal systems.

In classical studies, students develop understandings of how the classical world influences other cultures, including New Zealand.

Context: Students could learn about the origins of ancient judicial systems and develop their understanding of the key concepts of citizenship and society in the context of the administration of justice in fifth century BCE Athens.

Classical studies and mathematics, science, and technology

In mathematics, students apply their understanding of mathematical patterns and relationships to solve problems.

In science, students investigate the natural and physical world by gathering evidence and generating and testing ideas.

In technology, students use practical and intellectual resources to develop products and systems.

In classical studies, students develop understandings of technological aspects of the classical world.

Context: Students could explore the origins of such concepts as the golden ratio and learn about the advances made by mathematicians, such as Pythagoras, Euclid, and Eratosthenes. Alternatively, they could investigate mathematical patterns and relationships in relation to aqueducts or the construction of temples.

Context: Students could investigate applied mechanics in the classical world and construct models that illustrate the discoveries of scientists, such as Archimedes and Ctesibius, or the functioning of siege weaponry, such as the ballista.

Context: Students could trace the origins of astronomy, for example, Aristarchus’ heliocentric theory, or inquire into early medical practices and ethics, for example, the origins and nature of the Hippocratic oath.

Technology 2.9 (Demonstrate understanding of the resolution of form and function in technological outcomes) is an example of an achievement standard that acknowledges the relationship between form and function. This is central to understanding private and public architecture in the classical world (for example, the Colosseum and the House of the Vettii).

Classical studies and health and physical education

In physical education, students focus on personal well-being and developing an understanding of interrelationships between individuals and society.

In classical studies, students develop understandings of the key concept of culture and identity in contexts such as education, leisure, and attitudes to sexuality.

Context: Students could trace the origins of the modern Olympic movement, re-enact ancient athletic events, and discuss the social importance of physical endeavour and competition. Alternatively, they could compare ancient and modern attitudes on aspects of sexual behaviour.

Last updated August 3, 2012