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UCD School of Classics is delighted to launch ACCESS CLASSICS TRANSITION YEAR UNIT (Author, Dr Bridget Martin)

Access Classics created this Transition Year (TY) Unit to facilitate second-level institutions in either introducing Classical Studies at TY level, consolidating their students’ learning of the subject from the Junior Cycle, or acting as a bridge into or introduction to the subject at Senior Cycle level. Attached below are the Unit Outline, A Manual for Teachers and a supplementary PowerPoint (this contains copies of images and worksheets from the Manual in an easy to print and view format).

The Unit is comprehensive, accessible and user-friendly: 

UCD Access Classics Transition Year Unit for Teacher 2020

TY Unit PowerPoint Slides

(Powerpoint slide show can be requested from Dr Bridget Martin, (opens in a new window)bridget.martin@ucd.ie)

  • The Teachers’ Manual contains extensive lesson plans, materials, discussion topics and project ideas, all of which allow it to be taught by teachers who are not familiar with Classical Studies. This means that schools which do not, or cannot, currently offer Classical Studies at Junior Cycle or Senior Cycle can introduce it to their Transition Year students.
  • As the Unit covers less common aspects of Classical Studies (see breakdown in Unit Outline or the Teachers’ Manual), it can be used to consolidate learning from the Junior Cycle, serve as an introduction to the subject at Senior Cycle, or act as a bridge between the Junior and Senior Cycle Classical Studies offerings.
  • Classical Studies is a multidisciplinary subject encompassing, for example, literature, history, geography, art, architecture, language, archaeology and philosophy. As such, it complements numerous subjects taken at both Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle level, most notably English, History, Art, Geography, and modern languages.
  • As the Unit asks students to consider their own political, social, religious and cultural institutions and practices, as well as their relationship with their health and wellbeing, it ties in with various Indicators of Wellbeing (notably ‘responsible’, ‘connected’ and ‘respected’), and aspects of the Unit could be used for some of the allotted Wellbeing hours at Junior Cycle level.
  • The Unit is flexible and user-friendly, meaning it can also be used for lunchtime Classics Clubs.
  • The Unit can be taught fully in the virtual or physical classroom, or through blended learning. There are suggestions for fieldtrips, but these are supplementary to the lessons and not essential.
  • Access Classics is delighted to facilitate teachers in teaching the Unit, for example through guest lectures or additional resources.

MARCH 2019

What is Access Classics?

Access Classics is a new initiative run by the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Classics.  It has four main aims:

  • to help support teachers and students of secondary schools and adult education institutes to study Classics, a field which explores ancient Greek and Roman civilisations and their continued impact on the modern world;
  • to work with schools that currently do not or cannot offer Classics as part of their official curriculum in order to provide to their students opportunities to explore the ancient world;
  • to encourage and facilitate the uptake of Greek and Roman Civilisation, Latin, and Greek at third level;
  • to provide support for second-level teachers of Classics through teaching resources and individualised support for your students and learning outcomes.

What do we do?

Access Classics is an initiative conceived by Ms Tasneem Filaih and supported by the UCD School of Classics, and its head, Dr Alex Thein. Through Access Classics, academic staff from UCD’s School of Classics offer workshops/indicative talks to secondary schools and institutions for further adult education. Our aim is to work closely with each school to determine and deliver the best option for: working with your teachers and students to grow the discipline that we love; delivering support to teachers and students by helping to create teaching resources and talks on topics in Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Greek and Latin languages, and the ongoing impact of Greek and Roman civilisation on the modern world. We also can arrange visits to the UCD School of Classics Museum or even bring parts of our museum collection to your school.

Who is this for?

Anyone. We aim to be as inclusive as possible and want to support any educators interested in sharing the ancient world with their students and fellow teachers.

If your school currently offers Classics as part of its curriculum, our staff can work with you to design a visit in order to deliver a class/workshop on a subject area that ties into those areas that your students already study. Through Access Classics, UCD students and staff have actively participated in the NCCA’s consultation process on the new LC Classical Studies specification. In the coming years, we will look to offer support for teachers and students undertaking these new topics through school visits and the creation of teaching resources.

For secondary schools and institutions for further adult education that do not currently offer Classics as a subject, but where teachers and staff would welcome the opportunity to expose students to aspects of ancient cultures, languages and literature, we aim to provide an introduction to the Classical world. We can deliver indicative talks and hands-on workshops at an introductory level on a broad range of subjects. These include, but are not limited to, the role of the Classics in modern culture;  Classical mythology and storytelling, as well as their ongoing impact on literature, art, and performance culture; ancient science and mathematics; as well as the legacy of specific ancient ideas, such as democracy.  The study of Classics is interdisciplinary, and we can work with you to design sessions that link your existing curriculum to exciting case studies from the ancient world.

N.B. Please note that, currently, university staff are not Garda vetted as classes will be held on a one-off basis. Should your institution require Garda vetting, we will be able to facilitate you on request.

When will it take place?

Access Classics was launched in March 2019, and staff are currently working to schedule new events from September, 2019. To express your interest, or to become involved, please email us: (opens in a new window)Dr Christopher Farrell (christopher.farrell@ucd.ie) or (opens in a new window)Dr Bridget Martin (bridget.martin@ucd.ie)

Where will sessions take place?

At your school/institution.

Why Classics?

Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, as well as how these cultures interacted with other peoples. At various times, the Greeks and Romans interacted with people from as far afield as Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Afghanistan, India and even China. In addition to this incredible geographical breadth, the Classical world encompasses a vast range of subject areas, such as history, literature, language, mythology, art, archaeology, politics, and philosophy. Through the study of Classics, we learn about concepts applicable to us today; we discover, for example, the origins of democracy, the foundations of modern architecture, literature and theatre, as well as the emergence of some of the most influential thinkers and philosophers that the world has known. Through the study of the Classical world we gain an appreciation of, and develop empathy for, others by examining times and places very different from our own and yet still familiar. We engage with complex issues such as religion, slavery, the struggles and joys of daily life, how ancient peoples thought they could live well and even grappled with the reality of death; we can explore how ancient societies shaped and sometimes challenged gender roles, as well as how people developed political and management systems that have influenced our own.

Classics permeates popular culture today. Aside from films and books, which are inspired by or even reproduce Classical mythology (e.g. the film Troy or the Percy Jackson series of books and films), or engage with the history of the ancient world (e.g. the film Gladiator), video games also use the ancient world (e.g. Rome: Total War and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey). References to Classics are evident throughout graphic novels, cartoons, and literature. Classics fosters creativity, learning and understanding that goes beyond the individual. In the post-#MeToo era, for instance, Classics is increasingly important as a platform from which to engage with gender roles and to consider women’s voices. This is evident in Mary Beard’s Women and Power, Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, and Madeline Miller’s Circe.

The study of Classics equips students with excellent transferable skills that are appealing to employers and useful in the workplace in a multifaceted way. Classics students learn to think critically and to formulate arguments based on a wide range of available evidence. Through the study of the ancient world, students can develop excellent analytical skills. The study of Classics extends beyond any one occupation; it allows students to develop a diverse skill set and confidence that can enhance their performance in a number of fields. As such, graduates of Classics have traditionally pursued a wide range of careers, including the civil service, teaching, heritage and museums, libraries, journalism and media, law, medicine, and writing.

What does Access Classics hope to achieve?

This is an opportunity to introduce the wonderful discipline of Classics to students who may not yet be aware of it, to explain and to define the ancient world more clearly for those who already have an interest, and to explore a wealth of ideas and subjects that form part of our shared cultural heritage. The School of Classics in University College Dublin is committed to welcoming and encouraging the participation of students from all backgrounds who wish to learn more about what we do and why we dedicate our lives to preserving Classics and sharing it with everyone. 

Contact Details

(opens in a new window)Dr Christopher Farrell                                              (opens in a new window) Dr Bridget Martin

christopher.farrell@ucd.ie                                         bridget.martin@ucd.ie

UCD School of Classics

Newman Building (Room K211), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8166 | E: tasneem.filaih@ucd.ie