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Classics GCE - hate and the Art and Architecture model

(2 Posts)
GaynorA Mon 08-Apr-13 12:28:59

The way the art module of the Classics A level is conceived it is like a form of torture. My daughter did it a few years ago, and although she was an A* student in everything else, and even had the help of having already studied art and art history, she could not get her head around it. It's all based on one (very dated, rather pedestrian) book, Susan Woodford. You read the book, and learn hundreds of dates and the names of ancient Greek vases. It should be fun, but the way it's approached is unfullfilling, rather meaningless, and dry as dust).
We tried to persuade my DS not to do it, but he wanted to study Classics to do the texts, which he loves. Now, even though he's got A*s in course works about Virgil/Homer etc., he finds he can scarcely even write a sentence comparing the temples and vases. In other words, it's not like he doesn't work hard, but this module is overwhelming. He's now seriously depressed, and believes he's a total idiot, and says he won't go to university, because he is so obviously 'stupid'. He's stopped going to school, and will probably now flunk all his other GCEs as a result.

Does anyone have any advice? Please? (!)

Be warned. Whoever does this module needs to be armed to the teeth against pure boredom, and also needs to be able to employ the vocabulary and sensibility of a 40-year old art critic. It is just beyond the development stage of most 17-18 year olds.

cory Mon 08-Apr-13 22:01:30

I think it is difficult to make any general predictions of what will be right for the developmental stage of 17-18yos: I have known plenty of young teens (particularly boys) who would have been totally fine with the pots and pans, but who were completely incapable of appreciating Classical literature (or indeed any literature). Even I was able to take some passing interest in vases at that age, though as an adult I find it mind numbingly boring (and I'm married to an archaeologist).

I would be more worried about the general state of a boy who gives up on all his GCSEs because he doesn't get on with one subject. Is he ill? Depressed?

Surely, lots of students have one subject they dislike- and often it's a compulsory one which they have to do whether they like it or not. I hated maths, dd hates maths; we're neither of us particularly good at it, but it's going to be compulsory in any school system; it's just one of those things.

I think instead of blaming the subject, you need to help your ds to work through how he deals with failure. Any course of higher education, any future job will contain elements which he finds boring and/or difficult. The key to success is learning to deal with those feelings.

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