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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Learning to Fly

How to win kleos in Classical Civilisation

 These are the skills and habits which outstanding students of Classical Civilisation. Develop and display. Do as many of these as possible to become completely independent in the subject and to develop the skills and knowledge needed to attain an A* at A Level. Remember that just doing what your teacher tells you - in your lessons and beyond - is not enough to develop your full potential in the subject.

In your lessons

  • Being there!
  • Asking specific questions and asking for help.
  • Taking notes!
  • Thinking critically about your own work and finding ways to improve it.
  • Listening to other students and the teacher, but often challenging and arguing with them!
  • Thinking about ways in which new knowledge you encounter in the lesson fits in with what you already know.
  • Making use of knowledge gained in other subjects in this one.

Between your lessons

  • Drafting writing tasks.
  • Keeping on top of your Epic reading.
  • Reading ahead in texts and making notes about plot, character, themes and ideas.
  • Looking back over your notes and activities from the last lesson, making sure you know what you have or haven’t understood.
  • Writing down questions from your reading about anything you don’t understand to bring to your next lesson, or research in the library, or to go and see your teacher about.

Beyond your lessons

  • Reading a challenging new book, poetry collection or play every week. It’s okay not to finish it - the important thing is to try.
  • Reading critical books about the texts you are studying and ‘books about books’.
  • Watching high quality film and TV; search out subject-specific dramas and documentaries.
  • Talking to your friends and family about what you have read or learned in class.
  • Discussing and arguing about what you have read on goodreads.com or similar websites
  • Listening to podcasts.
  • Developing a sense of the big picture - the theory of tragedy, the influence of the Greek world on later culture - and how what you have read relates to this. Where are the gaps in your knowledge? Fill them!
  • Reading a quality newspaper at least once a week.
  • Going to museums and relevant exhibitions.
  • Going to the theatre and ‘arthouse’ cinema as often as possible.
  • Keeping a vocabulary log to keep track of new words you encounter or an app like vocabulary.com to discover new words. Keep a spelling list of key words.

Of course we recognise that our students have busy lives and that this level of engagement is not always possible all the time - but this is what you should aim for if you want to reach the highest level in the subject. You don’t need to do ALL of these things all of the time - just doing one or two of them will have an impact. Decide on two or three to focus on to improve your skills.  We would suggest you put in place a reward scheme for activities done (yes, knowledge is its own reward, but a tasty chocolate treat or new pair of shoes is also welcome!).