Uncovering the value of a classics trip to Rome

Published: August 28th 2015

Teachers still thrive to ‘bring learning to life’. It’s not a cliché, rather it is a statement that exudes enthusiasm and passion to provide their students with opportunities to grow and achieve. Taking learning outside the classroom offers the chance to enrich the lives of those in their class, take them to a destination they may not otherwise have the chance to visit with their family and ultimately take on a new learning experience. For teachers of the classics, Rome provides a gateway to open up the imagination of their students as they venture through the relics of an ancient empire. 

Student tour to Rome | Travelbound

The importance of subject specific excursions

Whether you are looking to explore the life of gladiators as they prepared to enter the Colosseum or better understand daily life for the ancient Roman citizen, a classics school trip to Rome enables students to immerse themselves in a different environment, develop their analytical and evaluative skills and enhance their understanding of key events in the history of the Roman Empire. Thanks to a number of key landmarks positioned in close proximity to one another and good transport links around the city, the opportunity for school groups to delve deeper into the stories of a classical civilisation and inspire their students is made undeniably more powerful with a classics school trip abroad. 

In a subject where there are more teachers leaving the profession than are being trained, the need for quality learning experiences within the field of classics become ever more important. It is in engaging students within the themes of study and providing them with the chance to actively participate in the process of enquiry into the classical world that will allow them to develop as critical and reflective thinkers in aspects of a classical civilisation. 

Exploring Rome | © Tim Jenkins

Understanding the key areas of Roman life

Rome provides an inspirational location to discover the remnants of a lost empire. Through a study of archaeology, art and architecture, history and literature, teachers are able to provide their students with original sources which can lead and support enquiry. With so much to be learnt from the city of Rome and surrounding areas, learning outside the classroom is given new meaning. 

Standing amongst the ruins at Palatine Hill, it takes just an understanding of Roman mythology and a hint of imagination to picture the extravagant palaces built for emperors on the site of Romulus’ dual with Remus. Once the smartest address in Rome, students will be able investigate the role of the paterfamilias and his involvement in responsibilities towards family finance plus his duties connected to religion.  

Forum | Rome

A visit to the Pantheon presents school groups with the chance to dive into the functions of temples and position of religion in Ancient Rome. Used as a Catholic church since the 7th century AD, the Pantheon was constructed as a temple dedicated to all the gods and provides school groups with the ideal opportunity to discuss the role of religion in Roman society. A visit to the Vatican is a must-visit on a student tour to Rome to allow groups better understand its contemporary meaning. 

Continuing with the topic of study looking at life and drama in Rome, the dominating structure of the Colosseum is one landmark students and teachers alike will be itching to explore. Standing as the largest amphitheatre in the world, exploring the inside of the Colosseum affords the chance to see the inner sanctums of this grand structure with a maze of chambers, cells and tunnels set underground. A visit to this historic landmark enables students to better comprehend the scale of entertainment in Ancient Rome and the importance of the spectacle in Roman society. This also ties in nicely with a visit to the Forum and to the spot where the great orators of the time would congregate en masse. The architectural fragments that remain of this city centre is also a good starting point for discussing the life and times of Cicero and his lasting impact.

Remnants of the Roman Empire | Colosseum

Responding to historical sources on the Roman Empire

A Rome school trip really does allow the walls of learning to be extended. There is the mix of original sources, iconic points of interest that simply cannot be replicated and modern multimedia tools which offer a range of ways for learners to interact and engage with the subject. From going to the depths of the underground burial chambers tucked beneath the Eternal City on a guided tour of Rome’s Catacombs to immersing students in a 4D experience at the Time Elevator, which transports students back to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the huge variety of historical excursions on offer lend great relevance to the classics subject content. Though providing comparatively different learning environments, it is with visits like these that allow teachers to broaden the educational experiences of their students on their classics school trip to Italy. 

Whether it is a visit to Trajan’s Column marking the Emperor’s victory in the Dacian Wars or marvelling at the Arch of Constantine, the range of monuments that cover a range of periods within the time of Ancient Rome ignites debates on the roles of war, victory, change and continuity in Roman society. Through the curriculum to the GCSE final examinations for classics, a student tour to Rome provides teachers with the ideal learning aid. There is true value in getting up close to the relics of the past and making the learning ‘real’. For schools, there is the chance to walk amongst the ruins, place understanding of daily life in context, and be transported back to a classical civilisation in the heart of Rome. 

To find out more about school classics trips to Rome simply request a quote or contact the team on 01273 265265.

By Tim Jenkins


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