The launch of our website (accessclassics.ie) last Wednesday brought a spring to our step during a dreary January! Our webinar event, hosted by the Head of the School of Classics, Dr Martin Brady, comprised the Access Classics team (Ms Tasneem Filaih, Dr Bridget Martin and Dr Christopher Farrell) giving an overview of the programme and invited panellists from schools which have participated in the programme from its infancy describing what Access Classics has brought to their schools and students.
Firstly, Dr Martin Brady introduced co-director of the programme Dr Bridget Martin, who discussed the aims and methodology of Access Classics. Dr Martin also discussed her Transition Year Unit, which she referred to as Access Classics’ “Trojan Horse” as it has the potential to introduce Classics to secondary schools throughout Ireland which currently cannot or do not offer Classics as a subject, as well as offering additional resources to those schools which do currently offer Classics and/or the Classical languages. Co-director Dr Christopher Farrell then spoke about current resources for the Junior and Senior Cycle Classics offerings (featured on our website!) and future resources to come down the line.
Mr Danny Delany, who is a Classics teacher in St Fintan’s High School, Sutton, discussed his class’ school trip to the UCD campus, hosted by Access Classics. The students were given a tour of the campus by UCD students and a tour of the Classical Museum by Dr Christopher Farrell and Dr Bridget Martin. He explained that the students were delighted to examine artefacts in person, bringing to life what they had previously seen only in pictures in school books! The excitement of this trip and a school visit by the Access team, Mr Delany said, generated conservation about and awareness of Classics as a subject in his school and is encouraging uptake of the subject. Mr Delaney also discussed an online session hosted by Dr Farrell during the pandemic, which his students enjoyed immensely!
Dr Louise Maguire, head of Latin in Blackrock College, also discussed her and her students’ experience as one of the pilot schools for the Access Classics programme. During her presentation, Dr Maguire described her students’ joy at being able to handle artefacts from the ancient world during an object handling session and showed some very interesting examples of the Transition Year Unit resources being used in the classroom, particularly those related to language! Dr Maguire also highlighted the benefit of having a ready source of information for pupils to ask about the pursuit of Classics at third level, and she explained the value of the sense of community which the programme can bring to teachers and students alike.
The website launch ended with a quick reflection on what would be coming soon to the website, how schools could engage and interact with Access Classic, and the current and upcoming social media tools generated and overseen by Ms Tasneem Filaih, co-founder and team member of Access Classics. Dr Brady ended the webinar by thanking all attendees for joining and the panellists for presenting. He also offered special congratulations to the Access Classics team on their recent (December 2020) UCD Values In Action award!
Access Classics would like to thank once again Dr Louise Maguire and Mr Danny Delaney for sharing their and their students’ experiences of Access Classics and everyone who gave up an hour of their very limited time to join us for the launch! Make sure to keep an eye on our website for new resources and to keep up to date with our news, and get in contact if you have any questions, requests or suggestions!