Testimonials. His son is learning Latin: “This will allow him to understand the words better”

Latin in the spotlight. In the film Repeat Released this week, Louise Bourgoin plays a disillusioned Latin teacher. She distributes 19/20 bills to tire-larigot in exchange for her peace of mind. But the plan fails when the false excellent results of her students lead them to participate in the Latin world championship in Naples.

A film that brings to light this dead language, which is losing momentum in secondary education. According to National Education figures, in 2022, 15.8% of 5th grade students had chosen the Latin option, compared to 23% in 2000. And their learning is highly correlated with social origin. Thus, in middle school, only 8.7% of students from disadvantaged backgrounds study Latin compared to 22.7% of students from advantaged backgrounds. It is also studied more in private schools under contract (17.2%) than in public schools (12.9%). And the further they progress in their course, the more students abandon the option. In 3rd grade, only 11.6% of students take the option and in secondary school, only 2.7%.

“Of logic and method”

To encourage their students to start, Latin teachers do not hesitate to promote their discipline, as Mélanie, 42, one of our readers from Wittenheim (Haut-Rhin) observes: “My son asked for it after a motivating presentation of the Latin teacher. Thinking about a 4th grade school trip.” It was also after a description of the Latin option in sixth grade that Pascale’s daughter, 38, from Montélimar (Drôme), began: “She was motivated and so were we, because this subject is important for understanding etymology, useful particularly if one is considering a medical field or a biology course.”

Aline, 66, from Fresnes (Val-de-Marne), who was a Latin teacher, remembers how she inspired her students: “Latin is exactly like mathematics: logic and method. And also, it generates stories, reflections, texts that we do not forget.” Parents of students are also very good ambassadors for Latin, if they have studied it themselves. As Carine, 48, from Feyzin (Rhône), testifies: “I did it during my doctorate in philosophy and today, as a French teacher, it opens up many lexical possibilities for me. At university, my daughter will study Latin because it will allow her to better understand the words thanks to their etymology and French grammar.”

“He knows that Latin is very present in the sciences”

Once embarked on this demanding learning process, students benefit from it. As Yasmina, 51, from Foschviller (Moselle), observed with her daughter in 4th grade: “This allows her to speak French fluently, express herself better orally and improve in history.” Another benefit of this learning for Olivia’s daughter, 53 years old, from Richwiller (Haut-Rhin): “This language taught him to organize, because it requires a lot of work.” Some students also have a very precise idea of ​​what Latin will be used for: “My son wants to be a geophysicist and he knows that Latin is very present in the sciences,” explains Maud, 33, who lives in the North.

Anne, 43, from Brumath (Bas Rhine), adds: “Latin structures thought. Its grammar allows you to better understand French and offers support for learning German. Furthermore, the study of Latin texts immerses us in stories of extraordinary richness: history, Roman civilization, poetry and mythology…” Enough to make you want to immerse yourself in Gaffiot again.

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