As part of my obsession with sense of period I have decided to increase the use of contemporary narratives in the classroom. I like this idea as a) I love stories and b) believe that they reveal a ton about attitudes, values and beliefs of the people who wrote them.
This began when I was teaching the Ancient Greek. I was stuck for ideas and posted a tweet which got a reply:
So following @Historylecturer’s tweet I tried out using the 12 labours of Heracles in class with 12 different students reading out a labour. This worked well and spawned an interesting discussion about Greek attitudes to heroes and obsessions with physical strength.
This got me thinking. Could I use contemporary narratives for other periods of history. So when we came to the Dark Ages in the Medicine through Time unit I used a bit of the Morpurgo version of Beowulf. Again half the class ended up reading a bit and even though some were bored witless (kids!), some got into it and after we discussed Anglo-Saxon obsessions with warriors and their beliefs in the supernatural combined with a strong belief in a Christian God. Winner.
So far so good. This seems to be working. But I need more contemporary narratives and this is where I need help. Can you suggest any cracking stories or parts of stories I can use to illustrate the attitudes and values of other periods. I was thinking of some Chaucer for the Middle Ages or some Dickens for the 19th Century but would value any suggestions. As ever leave a comment below or tweet me @kenradical. Ta in advance!