Project summary

This project aims to compare, for the first time, ancient language education across world cultures with ‘classical’ literatures. It expects to illumine the purpose and value of classical language education in Chinese, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit historically and within global education systems today by comparing pedagogic ideals and practices across times and cultures. It aims to test the potential of inclusive classical language learning to boost educational outcomes for disadvantaged students. Other expected outcomes include two books, scholarly articles, education policy reports, and PhD student training. This should strengthen intercultural understanding and benefit school students, educators, policy makers, and the wider public.

Research Impact

This project aims to build Australian knowledge and capacity in literacy and foreign language education. It will document contemporary student experiences and societal attitudes to education in ‘classical’ languages in Europe, the UK, Australia and Asia. The state of classical language education in Australia will be compared with booming interest in ancient classical languages in China and benchmarked against developments in the United Kingdom. Recent initiatives have helped to widen access to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. They have shown that introducing classical languages into primary school classrooms can bolster literacy, including for students with special needs. This project aims to build on and extend that success. Finally, this project seeks to attract, train and retain excellent research students in an area of strategic importance to our nation’s prosperity: language competence and cultural literacy.


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Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP220100370)

Funding: $323,407




Chief Investigators: Prof. Yasmin Haskell (UWA); Prof. Joe LoBianco (Melbourne); Assoc. Prof. Michael Champion (ACU)

Partner Investigators: Dr Arlene Holmes Henderson (Oxford); Prof. Guoxiang Peng (Zhejiang); Assoc. Prof. Mattia Salvini (International Buddhist College); Dr Antonia Ruppel (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich). Participating Organisation: Accademia Vivarium Novum.

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