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Melony



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 364



PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:04 am    Post subject: Facebook Pages for Literary Characters  Reply with quote

I have a question for the board - what do you think about Facebook pages for literary characters?  I am asking because a new novel I am researching has Facebook pages for the two main characters.  Diana Bishop and Michael Clairmont, the witch and the vampire from Deborah Harkness's new novel A Discovery of Witches, have Facebook and YouTube sites.  It seemed ingenious, but I am wondering if there is any real worth in it?  It seems like it would be a character map for the author, but as far as interacting with the characters, what do you think? I would always know it was the author or the publisher's agent posting on the wall.  What if Jane Eyre had a Facebook - would it only work with novels that have been written since Facebook began? Would it be a good learning tool for students?


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I can't see any learning value in it, but if it provides a bit of good, harmless fun - then why not?



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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in two minds about this on the one hand I could see endless possibilities for learning - actually interacting with characters of a story and if you were doing a study into these characters/books.  However, the only person who could write on behalf of a book character is the author anyone else it would be their take on the character which wouldn't be right, and I can't somehow see authors spending time running such sites.


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Melony



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've thought the same as you both - learning, no learning; only the author can say for sure about the character, etc.  But then I thought, what about films, someone interprets the clothing, dialect, scenery, etc. and we tolerate that reasonably well.  I think it might help students use their imaginations to get inside the characters' heads.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Facebook can be a bit of fun, and is quite good for keeping in touch with people one might otherwise lose touch with. But whatever else it may be, it most certainly is not an educational tool, and it would debase the very concept of education to attempt to use it as such.

There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be.



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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri:
Quote:
There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be.


But that goes against current thinking.  I remember coming across an example of the "Education is fun" approach when my son was going to table tennis lessons at a local school.  There was a big display of a project one class had done on Elizabeth I.  Class groups had to produce a board game about her reign with snakes and ladders type  successes and set backs.  Well and good.  Except for those living in that period it wasn't one big game.  

Would the school have produced a snakes and ladders game about the Holocaust?  This "let's make everything fun" approach trivialises important themes and undermines empathy with the past.

I was so angry I was going to write to the headteacher but she would probably have just dismissed me as out of touch with modern "education".




Last edited by Sandraseahorse on Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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TheRejectAmidHair



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Sandra, I agree with you fully, and share your concerns. And it worries me that, as you say, these concerns “go against current thinking”.

I have heard many times in debates about what should or shouldn’t be in the curriculum that certain things should not be taught in class because the poor little darlings don’t find these things interesting, and get bored by them. Obviously, it would be better if the children didn’t get bored, but whether or not children find something boring cannot be a criterion for what goes into the curriculum. Thorpe Park is the place for a fun day: school should have a somewhat more serious purpose.

I think there are two arguments against equating learning with fun. The first is that what is easily learnt is, all too often, just as easily forgotten. Looking back on my own education and on what I remember of it, I think it is true to say that what I remember best is what I spent much time and effort learning. I am not, I admit, certain that this principle always holds, but if it does (and I suspect that it does) it is a powerful argument.

I think I am on stronger ground with my second argument, and it is this: there is much that is important to learn that isn’t fun, and cannot, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination, made to appear fun. Mathematics, for instance, is fascinating once you get beyond a certain point, but getting to that point is a hard slog – and, indeed, often dull – and it cannot be otherwise. If, however, we get it into children’s heads that learning is essentially fun, they would be less inclined, I think, to embark upon that learning that isn’t so much fun.

(I remember feeling this strongly when our daughter was younger, and used to enjoy those Horrible History books. I had no objection to her enjoying those books, but I did try to make it as clear as I could that those books were for fun only, and by no means a substitute for a proper learning of history.)

Literature is an area that can easily be trivialised by viewing it from a trivial perspective. It is all too easy, I think, to present the learning of literature as merely a “bit of fun”. Such an approach can easily obscure the fact (and it is a fact) that literature is a serious discipline, and that a proper understanding of the subject requires hard work and concentrated intellectual effort. That is not to say one cannot treat it as a bit of fun if one wants to – but it is to say that if we want to educate ourselves in literature, we need to take it seriously.



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Marita



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: Flanders, Belgium

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun can be part of learning for younger children. I remember when I learned to read our teacher told us stories about favourite comic book characters. At the end of the story she had linked a sound to a letter: for instance W was the sound of the wind blowing, R was the sound of an aeroplane etc.; it was a fantastic way to learn to read.

Like with everything, there is a balance needed between fun and seriousness. That‘s how life is and children should learn this as well. It’s no good wrapping them up in cotton wool when they’re young and then expect them to be able to cope with life when they’re grown up.

Marita


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My issue with Himadri's argument (though perhaps it's more a case of unfortunate wording) is that it seems to suggest that fun and effort are mutually exclusive. For my money, they often go together. Fun that is easily achieved is seldom rewarding and quickly leads to boredom. But a difficult challenge can be a lot of fun - so long as you have some idea how to approach the challenge, some of the intellectual tools for the job, and a belief that you are capable of tackling it. I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.

Sure, there is some drudgery involved in learning, but all serious learning is not drudgery.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, absolutely – intellectual activity can indeed be, and often is, enjoyable. No argument with that at all. But an initial effort needs to be made for that kind of enjoyment. What I was referring to as “fun” is the sort of amusement that does not require that initial investment of effort (and I think we may agree that Facebook activities come under that category); and I do feel that if we send out the message to children that effortless “fun” can be of educational value, then that is a bad message to send out, as its effect is likely to be to discourage that investment of effort that leads to a more fulfilling enjoyment.




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