Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Was Life REALLY Like in the Medieval Times?

How would you like to get your students truly animated about studying life in medieval times? Terry Jones has produced a documentary series with the BBC on this topic entitled TERRY JONES' MEDIEVAL LIVES. The series consists of eight episodes, each of which examines a particular Medieval personality: the peasant, the monk, the damsel, the minstrel, the knight, the philosopher, the outlaw and the king. This series offers some insight into why our previous assumptions are incorrect about life in that time period. Take for example the image of the medieval knight. What comes to mind but a knight in shinning armor who is trying to save a fair damsel in distress. This was far from the truth since most knights were more interested in killing and profiting from their escapades than they were in performing acts of chivalry.

The segments are relatively short (28-30 minutes) and would add insight to history lessons especially for ELLs since this side of history might be totally new to them. With Terry Jones, there is also the humor element which makes the series anything but professorial in its delivery. Though the content is historical, the language load is not overwhelming and the cartoons fill in the language/content gaps that ELLs often encounter. Students could be asked to do follow up activities where they create projects on life in that time period from the perspective of one of the eight components of the series. With your lecture, their in-class activities/discussions, the videos, students would have enough background knowledge to create projects on the period.

I hope you enjoy all 8 segments.



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