I was in high school when I first attended a lecture which extolled the virtues of learning Latin. To be perfectly frank, I was horrified by the concept and secretly hoped my parents wouldn’t get any ideas and launch me into such a course!
In recent years, however, I’ve begun to hear more and more about the benefits that Latin offers. Because of this, I’m increasingly convinced that the re-admittance of Latin into today’s schools may be one way to boost the declining academics which plague the education system.
Not convinced that Latin instruction could boost academic success? Here are three quick benefits of Latin that you may want to take into consideration for your child’s future:
1. Latin improves understanding of English and other subjects
Proper speaking, spelling, and writing are gradually disappearing in our texting, technology-friendly age. According to Latin proponents, “90% of words with more than two syllables” come from Latin roots. Latin vocabulary gives students a rich knowledge of tools with which to figure out accurate spelling, while the clear cut forms of Latin grammar give students the knowledge of how to correctly format their own English language.Dorothy Sayers’ famous essay on education goes so far as to say that even a basic knowledge of Latin can help students improve in their native language, another foreign language, science, reading, and history. Not bad, huh?
2. Latin improves mental ability
For some odd reason, the study of Latin – even at the expense of other subjects – seems to broaden mental capacity. For example, studies which compare Latin students versus non-Latin students find that the former attain higher academic scores. One could argue that the higher academic standing of Latin learners is simply a result of more advanced students choosing to take the language. But many others have found that the challenges of Latin learning actually “cultivate such mental processes as alertness, attention to detail, memory, logic, and critical reasoning" in all students.
3. Latin improves standardized test scores
Standardized tests don’t have a Latin portion, but interestingly, studies have shown that students with a Latin background do much better on the verbal section of the SAT than those which do not. Perhaps if schools taught more Latin the College Board wouldn’t feel the need to make the SAT easier?
My advice to you? Don't brush off Latin as an archaic, horrible, and hard subject like I once did. Ironically, Latin appears to be “innovative,” and may even be a part of the solution we are looking for to turn around America's academic decline.