Implementation of ‘Monstrous creatures’ (SOI-IT-159)

I am Angela Capezzuto, a member of the Italian User Group. I work as an English Conversation Teacher and I co-teach with language teachers, hence this story of implementation involved my colleague Matrona Imbriano.

We chose this Learning Scenario to give a new, fantasy approach to literature because it is not always well received by students. We think that the theme of monsters in the LS helped students’ understanding of the meaning behind several English authors’ works such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and other Gothic period novels, which are in the final year syllabus of secondary studies in Italy.

There were 25 students involved, from 18 to19 years old, who were a bit bored with literature, so we decided to engage them with this immaginative slant to studying ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley

a few moments of the implementation of monstrous creatures in class

We followed the LS for that which regards the video clips suggested, and students then searched for further film clips to personalise their learning experience, for homework. In the next lesson, students chose the best film clips proposed after watching them in small groups and discussing about them. They were asked to motivate their choice. For homework, they examined the interactive map of mythological creatures and prepared a short presentation with The following are a few examples- Monsters of Cracow ; The Demon ; The Dragon ; Perseus and Andromeda ; Saint George and the Dragon

The video of the Monster Park in Bomarzo, Rome- Italy, was used to stimulate students’ immagination and engagement and create discussion for their creation of an extra monster. For homework they used Flipgrid to describe their idea of a modern monster to share with the class, and comment on others’ videos for peer feedback.

More or less, the preparation took about 2 hours and the teaching time about 6, slightly longer than that described in the LS.

Learning Outcomes:

Each student showed great interest in the activities. It was a kind of therapeutic session. Moreover, it helped students practice communicative skills in English. The monsters described in student Flipgrid videos were monsters linked to the society they live in, the personification of their inner fears and nightmares. The activities also led them to find connections in literature and make it less rigid and more flexible for their learning pathway, making it a very good preparatory activity for their final exam.

We also integrated this learning scenario by reading  ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde. The students found him a modern monster in a society where, very often, appearance is a must-have. They also referred to the world of social networks, where one’s personality can be easily hidden and  seemingly ‘innocent creatures’ can become  ‘monstruous creatures’. Hence, the LS provided discussion and food for thought well related to our modern society.

Teaching Outcomes:

Using digital cultural heritage in the teaching-learning process has widened our horizons. The Europeana Learning Scenario has given us all a pause from traditional lessons and the students have had the opportunity to experience a different learning approach. Furthermore, the use of digital tools both in the classroom and at home was a way of engaging students. Students also found that copyright issues were not a problem with the Europeana website, because each artefact contained a well-documented licence, apart from the provenance.

It has been easy to use Europeana resources, and in order to make an effective use of them both teachers and students have collaborated to choose the ones that most suited their interests. This democratic approach was particularly important for the learning process: having captivated the students’ curiosity, they worked better and gave a worthwhile contribution to the activities and learning outcomes.  Furthermore, we chose this particular learning scenario because it was integrated into the school syllabus, otherwise it would have been fruitless.

Finally, the scenario chosen has helped us build and strengthen knowledge and competences that we feel our students need for the end of the school year examinations.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario:

Monstrous creatures by Natalia Targa

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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