A Feast on Olympus

On October 25, 2018 I had an opportunity to participate in a workshop for school teachers and to attend an open lecture about mythology for the 6th grade General Mariusz Zaruski 231st Primary School in Warsaw. The workshop was organized by two teachers – Anna Czernik (the 231st Primary School) and Agnieszka Czernik (the 387th Primary School). As I am not a school teacher, it was for me a great honour and pleasure to be invited to the workshop – all thanks to “Our Mythical Childhood” project!

I was most impressed by the lecture prepared by Anna Czernik. It was an example of a class given every year after finishing a course on mythology. For two hours the students – all extremely brave, active, and involved! – became Greek goddesses and gods. Each of them had a short presentation about the main mythical stories and features of gods, as well as their attributes.

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Some students were more courageous than others, but all had very interesting presentations and divine appearances. They made their costumes themselves and prepared their own roles – it was their homework to find out about their particular deities and tell everybody what they learned. Some of them did it in verse, some were very theatrical, and all identified themselves with their gods. The students have transformed into gods to such an extent that during the following competition, solving riddles, they confused Irenka, Maciej, and Marysia, etc., with Demeter, Asclepius, and Athena.

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And there were plenty of competitions, and questions, and riddles. The students were skilled, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. Some had greater knowledge than others, some were quicker giving answers, some were as serious as gods should be, but it seemed that all of them liked the make-belief world they were in and the gods they impersonated.

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And afterwards, there was a feast on Olympus for gods and goddesses:

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After the class Anna Czernik said that these classes look different every year, because students are different, as are their interests and attitudes, but each time all of them are usually very involved and manage to create wonderful and great learning opportunity.

And of course, such events require a significant amount of work, but maybe this is why students are so committed and engaged.

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Thank you, Anna and Agnieszka, for doing it for your students and for sharing it with us!


Post by Hanna Paulouskaya, Postdoctoral Researcher in the “Our Mythical Childhood” Project

Pictures – courtesy of the School. We wish to thank also the UW Office of Research Administration for the contact with this School.

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