Education: New Life for a Dead Language

Fresh teaching techniques turn Latin into favorite classroom fare

Leonardus strides into the class of 24 small pupils and delivers an imperial greeting. "Salvete, discipuli!" he booms. "Salve, magister," replies the chorus. The sound is an echo from Pompeii: Health to the teacher, health to the pupils.

But the place is a far cry from that long-dead Roman town. This is inner-city Philadelphia, and the discipuli are fourth-graders at Samuel Powel Elementary School. Leonardus, a.k.a. Bruce Leonard, is one of a cadre of new-wave Latin teachers who are reviving the classics in schools across...

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