OLMC teachers are constantly reflecting on ways to make the subject relevant and engaging for students in order to equip them with the critical skills required for life beyond school. There is no doubt that the workplaces our students will enter will be collaborative and equipped with technology that makes the whole world accessible. The knowledge, skills and values gained through a whole range of learning experiences in English classrooms during students’ time at OLMC will support them to consider multiple perspectives and to make ethical decisions.
In Year 10 English, this year has seen the development of a whole new learning program in English. The focus of Semester 1 English is Stories told in Other Ways and this has enabled students to explore a wide range of texts and text types and respond to a range of purposes and audiences when creating their own responses. As well as offering texts that are relevant, it also offers students a stronger sense of agency and independence. These skills will support them should they study VCE English but they will also enhance their understanding of a range of other subjects and experiences.
Year 10 students recently researched literary tropes in English and completed oral presentations on the way their chosen trope was represented in The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell.
Hannah H. (10CTKI) has generously shared excerpts from her presentation on the way the classic hero archetype is manipulated and challenged:
…"Gaiman strategically exploits our pre-emptive expectations which he then drastically defies on the very last page of the book. The Queen saves the day and defeats the monster. She protects the kingdom, as is her duty, but she does not return home. She instead walks to the east, leaving her kingdom, responsibilities and obligations to forest. Riddell illustrates a phoenix flying overhead, a fitting symbol of rebirth. She stares out at an open landscape, a metaphor for a fresh start full of endless possibilities. And in this moment, the Queen makes a choice. She chooses herself.
Gaiman presents the reader with a strong female hero, whose greatest act of heroism is not in slaying the dragon or conquering a foreign power, but having the courage to save herself. People only ever called her “Your Majesty”, so she no longer had an identity beyond what she did for others. She was trapped but in an act of bravery the Queen acknowledges the resentment she harbours towards her future. She recognises the Kafkaesque labyrinth her life has become and instead of making peace with her future, she makes a choice. The Queen decides that she too deserves to be saved. Through the Queen’s decisions, Gaiman challenges us to consider what heroism truly means. He shows the reader that empowering oneself is just as important as empowering others.”