Today was role-playing central in my classes today, and neither was using “Reacting to the Past” per se.
In the Classical Tradition class we spent last week talking about the Enlightenment and Neo-Classicism and their desire to possess works of classical art. The “excavations” (I use the term loosely) of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the eighteenth-century helped fuel this desire for antiquities from Greece and Rome, and Lord Elgin was no exception. My students took on the role of the Greeks, who want the marbles back, and the British, who had to make arguments for keeping them. I provided background reading, which the students assured me at the end of class were balanced, something I really tried to be sure was the case. In the end, we weren’t sure if they should go back or not, but the arguments quickly became heated with pathos and emotion over-riding the reasoning with which they started out. But they presented the issues extremely well and thoroughly. It was clear that they had read the texts and were well prepared for the debate.
In the Roman Art class I invited the InTech Crowd (Steve, Chris and Anita) to come and be senators to judge the Best City in Rome contest. Half of my students were from the city of Ostia and half from Herculaneum. I knew that Ostia had the better case — they are a port city, more traffic and money than Herculaneum (pre-Vesuvius of course). But the Ostians forgot that THE WAY you present counts and the Romans from Herculaneum prevailed. They knew who they needed to persuade, and thus tailored their comments directly at the “Senators.”
Thank you to Steve, Chris and Anita for helping out today — I could not be the judge of this and I appreciate your support.
Two great examples of student engagement and evidential learning in their ability to form debate and present material.