D.H.Lawrence

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English teaching module (upper intermediate and advanced level) stimulating students to learn autonomously while exploring Internet resources and to efficiently pass on information to others so that communicative group learning is achieved.

Number of lesson periods

6 (5 lessons + one period for testing)

Theme

"We can go wrong in our minds, but what the blood feels, and believes, and says, is always right." (D.H. Lawrence)

A lot of D.H. Lawrence's literary work, his personal convictions and philosophy can be interpreted as a reaction against the rationality and hypocrisy of the Victorian Age, which led to tragical social injustice, misery and unhappiness even in upper and middle class families.
Industrialization, a produce of the mind, doomed labourers' families with long working days for men, women and children. It changed beautiful countryside into polluted areas dominated by black plummets of smoke. It forced workers to come and live in unsanitary housing estates (citÚs) in the shade of mines and factories.
Victorian morality showed more interest in outer appearances, in good manners and respectability (constructions of the mind again) rather than in love, in authentic living guided by feelings and instinct.
Apparently, our time is dominated by the mind as well. Modern education is mainly a training of the mind, logic being presented as the one and only way to a prosperous and happy future for everyone. Modern artists (Escher, optical illusionists) question this attitude, however. They show how easily the mind can be fooled... and thus echo D.H. Lawrence's life motto, as quoted above.

Goal

Students are expected to study Victorian values, to find underlying rational principles of the class society in education, fashion, architecture, art, ... Students will discover how D.H. Lawrence rebelled against these principles, just like some modern artists react against the rationality of our present time. Bridging different school subject domains (history, literature, art) students are expected to get a global view on an era in western civilisation and to widen their cultural horizon.

Subjects

  1. Social history: the Victorian Age
  2. Literature: D.H. Lawrence (Odour of Chrysanthemums)
  3. Art: Escher, optical illusions

Tasks

  1. Net-search and reporting
  2. Interpretation of a literary text
  3. Interpretation of visual art
  4. Linking research results
  5. Composing a common informative document

Equipment needed

  1. hardware: PC-network with Internet-connection (and printer in case the final document won't be edited in HTML)
  2. software: browser and word-processor (ev. HTML-editor)

Questions, reactions and feedback may be sent to Karel Van Rompaey