Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Why the Classics Effect Is No Myth

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Why the Classics Effect Is No Myth

Article excerpt

Pupils with behaviour issues to learn life lessons from Greek gods

Classical myths are full of blood and gore, with characters having their livers pecked at by eagles or plunging to their deaths in the sea.

This tumultuous world may not seem to be the best place to take young people who have been removed from mainstream classes because of behavioural issues. But according to a campaign to get Classics taught in state schools, studying the characters of mythology could be one of the best ways to help troubled teens work through life's big issues.

Starting this week, students in a school behaviour unit in Oxford - suffering from conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiance disorder and autism - will take part in a series of "positive psychology" workshops based around classical myths.

The sessions will be run at the recently established East Oxford Community Classics Centre, which was set up by the Iris Project, a charity working to spread the teaching of Classics. At a pilot session, the pupils - who all attend the Cheney Plus inclusion unit at the Cheney School in Oxford - looked at the concept of superheroes in contemporary culture and mythology.

Lorna Robinson, director of the Iris Project, said she had initially been quite surprised that the pupils were already well-informed about classical stories. Much of their knowledge had come from the best-selling Percy Jackson books, which put a contemporary spin on classical mythology through the adventures of a "demigod" with dyslexia and ADHD. …

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