Fun. Keeping it Simple, No?

Originally posted in BB for QCR520_TG01_040313_310513_ELL QCR520_TG01(Mar13): Aims and Approaches to Teaching Literature
Is it me or does everyone  just forget to have FUN as we get older and more educated? One gets an education, a career, a life partner, and perhaps an offspring or two, who possibly are karmic-retribution for being the child you were to your parents, and all of a sudden you’re speeding past your swinging twenties, round the bend of your sexy thirties, and heading towards that hill of Forty. Somewhere along the way, you’ve picked up love handles that make you look like an over-sized muffin, and a collection photographs of a dashing, daring, sexy thing who just happens to look like you with more hair. Instead of hitting the clubs or the pub for a round of drinks, and a night of hysterics, your friends “jio” for a round of golf, and thereafter to the “kopi-tiam” for a round of kopi.
What happened to Fun? We go about our maturing lives getting all serious, and proper because we’re too old to be wakeboarding, and dancing. Just because a child calls us Daddy, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. Age is, after all, simply a number which we use to lord over younglings, saying, “I’ve eaten more salt than you have rice!” Fun is what gave us wings as children; it gave us that indomitable, invincible spirit and told us we could conquer the world. Looking back, I sure learned a helluva lot from it! So on that note, here’s my first link:
Fun Classroom Activites for Teaching Literature
In googling for websites about the teaching of Literature, I came across many scholarly websites and articles, with serious sounding titles and tones. Surely teaching is a serious subject, but I wondered, “Where’s the Fun?” This website is really rather simple, but even its simplicity is underpinned by pedagogical theories, motivation theories, and critical theories. In fact, while we’re at it, here’s another: 

YouTube, like many social media platforms, and indeed the Internet, has pervaded our lives. Technology and ICT are undoubtedly here to stay, what with Web 2.0 making its rounds on the World Wide Web. There’s even talk of Web 3.0. So what does technology have to do with the teaching of Literature? Lots, according to this paper: 

Pedagogy and ICT a Review of the Literature 
The introduction reads, “this review attempts to help us to navigate our way through our thinking about the nature of knowledge; relationships between people, concepts and tools; understandings of pedagogical interactions and more recent thinking about pedagogy and design. It is underpinned by an understanding of pedagogy as relationship, conversation, reflection and action between teachers, learners, subjects and tools.” Emphasis is mine.

Of particular interests were the following sections: 

  • 1.3 Pedagogy and ‘Person-Plus’
  • 2. 2 Metaphors for ICT and pedagogy, and
  • 2.3 Technological Pedagogic Content Knowledge

The interaction of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) from Koehler et al., 2007 p.742
Source: The interaction of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) from Koehler et al., 2007 p.742

So if ICT is so pervasive, then doesn’t it then follow that ICT can be considered to be of a real world context, especially when viewed from the perspective of our children and students? I believe so. What is Literature without Reading? Not much, I daresay. The problem is, kids aren’t always interested in reading old fuddy duddy texts. The trick here is to motivate them to actually Read. But what, you ask? That’s where Real World Contexts come in: 

How to Connect Students to Literature and Literature to the Real Life World: Making Reading Fun
What I like about this article is that I know it works. Why? Because I used the same techniques on my daughter, who now at the age of seven is reading voraciously, and making Daddy so proud, I might add. In the article, the author explains Motivation, Choosing Literature and Literature and the Real World, in great detail.
So here I go, traipsing off on a new Journey — Teaching Literature. 

I’m scared.

But with the World Wide Web, and sites like Teaching Literature to stuff my tiny little brain with ideas, I snub my nose at thee, Fear!


The waxing moon is setting
In the West as I drive home,
over the  chimneys
of the refineries there.
Orange, in a half smile,
almost as if in mocking
the turmoil within.

Somewhere in the shadows,
Jack sways stiffly
on a rusted spring,

over his faded box.
Its lid jammed open, and
wind-up key locked in its twelve-six position.
Jack’s eternal grin
and silly hat,


Matchstick Monolithe

When I was a boy I built towers, one after the other, high as they could stand on their own. Made of matchsticks and toothpicks, they formed a lattice-work of girders and platforms. They were a sight to behold.

As a young man, I realised I couldn’t build my towers anymore; they wouldn’t go higher and they’d collapse under their own weight. But then I found I could connect these small towers, and build a large one — a monolithic monument — a testament to my dreams.

So as time passed, I had an affair with Fate. She was kind yet cruel. I had an affair with Circumstance too. She had an aloofness about her, an air of nonchalance that was somewhat alluring and exciting. Both gave me the best times of my life. Their nightly trysts cost me but a matchstick here or there; our daily dabbles yet more here or there. Pretty soon, gaps began to appear in the lattice work. Platforms began to fall, bits and pieces crumbled.

I patched them as best I could, placing matchsticks strategically, so that the towers wouldn’t fall. But alas. There is but one tower now. And it all stands on one platform, held together by a lattice that would crumble should the last matchstick be taken. I stand on the very brink of a new existence, looking back at a debt I need to pay. A debt of 1 matchstick — a heavy price to pay for my affairs. Fate and Circumstance satiated for now, stand by watching. I’ve built my towers to stand before me, the way forward blocked. The key is that last matchstick, it’s over dear Idiot, dear Fool.

That last matchstick. Take it and use it. Build new towers, yet greater monolithes to dedicate to You.

It is over. One more step.

Just One.