The Necessity of Mythology in the Classroom

Mythology, a necessity in the classroom, as it provides vital tools for teachers and children to learn so much from. It incorporates so many things that prove essential to a child’s development. The

positive things that come from mythology make such a great impact on young children to last them a lifetime. Mythology seems like a normal way to involve the student. Most children love to hear and read myths because they offer some sort of adventure.

The large amount of positive things that come from mythology surprise many people. Students can gain good role models to look up to not just movie stars and sports stars but heroes from mythology. Children love to read about heroes because of all the excitement. Heroes are important to children. A child’s definition of a hero has changed slightly over the past few years and they now look for heroes that have super powers, extreme bravery, and on the side of good. These heroes typically go out on a quest and end up fighting evil. Heroes like Heracles and Odysseus exemplify the term hero in many ways. Many students should recognize Hercules as a major hero from previous experience such as television shows or movies. Odysseus’ most famous for coming up with the idea of building the Trojan Horse and constructing that particular plan of attack. Children may not recognize his name but should have heard something about the Trojan Horse. By including these prominent figures in a lesson plan one could possibly catch the attention of many students and spark their interests. In sparking a child’s interest, a teacher increases their likelihood for success in mastery of all objectives for the lesson plan.

Students can learn many great life lessons from the study of mythology as many of the stories have underlying meanings or lessons to learn. One major life lesson learned from mythology revolves around the concept of right from wrong. My characters in these stories face this dilemma on a daily basis. In Antigone, Antigone must decide wrong from right in the decision to bury her brother and die or leave him be. She chooses to bury her brother and before they could kill her she kills herself. This is an example of the choices that some people had to make for themselves. Another important aspect to understand is the concepts of fate and luck as they exist in society today. Many characters in mythology seemed to possess a sense of luck and had a good feeling for their fate and purpose in this world. Students need to be aware of these concepts which are definitely instilled in mythology without being the overall message of the story. Discussing issues such as morality need to begin at an early age because children need to have morals or principles to live their lives by.

The fields of study taught with the use of mythology are widespread in subject. One that comes to mind would use history or multicultural education as the subject. A teacher could ask her students to find a god from the different types of mythology such as Norse, Roman, or Greek. Students can integrate the use of technology by researching a particular god or goddess and give a presentation to the class. Their presentations could be as simple as a report or as elaborate as a short story. Teachers should encourage them to dress like the god or goddess or talk like him or her. This activity is very hands on and fun which will surely spark some creativity and deep thought. This should encourage students to learn and study topics like early beliefs and to give them the ability to believe in themselves and their creative work.

Reading mythology is an easy way to stimulate students in class. They usually enjoy them more than expected by teachers. Students seem to enjoy them because they have a great story structure. For the most part myths do not drag on forever so they keep the attention of their audience. If a child has a genuine interest in mythology then often they advance in their reading ability without even noticing. The students can all read or listen to and understand the stories of the myths. Children relate the stories to things happening in modern society to make more sense of them. Often times children that read about all of these tragic times gain a better understanding and appreciation for their own life.

Astronomy can integrate mythology into a lesson about constellations and planets. Many constellations and planets got their name from gods and goddesses from mythology. This would prove successful as a lesson plan for studying stars and planets. The students would even enjoy a field trip to the local planetarium to learn more about constellations and planets and where they got their names from. I know of one constellation that is very interesting, Orion’s belt, it consists of four stars that make an x and three stars in the middle to make the belt.

Writing and Art can also incorporate mythology in their lessons. The abundance of children’s books which contain one single myth is phenomenal. These books have the best illustrations. It opens up so many opportunities for creative writing and artwork. Students could examine the children’s books for how the author used creativity to make the story exciting. The students could examine the art work and perhaps incorporate art into their own myths. The wide varieties of things to write creatively about mythology could go on forever. For a creative writing assignment students could choose a god or goddess to research. Then prepare a monologue to share with the class as they try to guess which person you are.

The study of mythology arises as an important aspect of today’s society in many places and things we do. Many companies are related to mythology in some way for example, Ajax was a Greek warrior in the Trojan War, who “cleaned up” in battle and today is a popular household cleaner. Apollo was the God of music and the Apollo Theater, a famous music hall, stays alive in New York City. Midas was the King with the golden touch, who transformed all he touched to gold and now Midas refers to a famous muffler and brake chain of service stations. One of the more likely resemblances to mythology, inhabitants of the city that got destroyed by the Greeks during the Trojan War; the Trojans. In society today if someone says Trojan people think of the maker of condoms and birth control products. Myths exist in every culture around the world. Mythology has shaped art and music in today’s world.

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