Tag Archives: Argentina

Argentine Culture and Homer’s Odyssey Combine to Create Argentine Epics

IN ENGLISH CLASS, we were able to further our study of how best to memorialize the past by comparing a literary classic, Homer’s The Odyssey, with Argentina’s cultural epic poem, Martin Fierro. The style of a cultural epic memorializes the past by capturing a snapshot of a culture’s habits and beliefs from a certain point in time. A short video of the beginning lines of the poem being read in its original spanish and accompanied by a guitar, as gauchesque poetry was traditionally shared and passed down orally, can be seen below.

While the Odyssey captured the values and norms of ancient Greek culture, we were able to debate, based on what they had learned in Global Studies class with Nick Martino, whether or not Martin Fierro appropriately captured the culture of Argentine gauchos during the early 20th century.

Additionally, we studied what Joseph Campbell termed the monomyth. Campbell, a pioneer in the field of mythology, was able to look at myths from cultures around the world and find common plot elements. Because these cultures had never interacted or shared their stories, Campbell determined that these were not separate stories with different plots but one plot engrained into our humanity (or the monomyth). Campbell believed so strongly in the power of myth that he was heard to have said:

Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.

Campbell had his own unique view on how to memorialize history; to exemplify this philosophy, students wrote their own modern Argentine epics following the plot of the monomyth while exemplifying elements of current Argentine culture. Additionally, to engage in the epic poetry tradition of telling stories orally, students recorded and uploaded their epics as audio files online.

While you listen, see if you can determine the elements of the monomyth and pick out some key elements of Argentine culture.


Leave a comment

Filed under TGS Argentina

First Days, Team Building, IB Learner Traits, and English Class in the Park

These first few days at TGS have been some of the most rewarding days I have experienced as a teacher. I’m so proud of both classes for the work they have put in, and the positive impression they have made on me within the first week. While I would love to carry on, rant, and rave about how the below picture represents what I believe to be some of the best English class learning moments, I know that the students voices will be both more entertaining and provide a greater insight into what they gained from this experience. Below you will find a compilation of student voices taken from the 9th and 10th grade English forums.


park 1In short: we learned that English class is “The Bomb” and is clearly beneficial for our future lives. – Isaac

Our English 10 class started off with a bang! (Well, more or less – it was a Kurt Hahn quote.)
“Expeditions can greatly contribute towards building strength of character.” We quickly connected ‘strength of character’ to the IB Learner Traits (full list: http://spot.thinkglobalschool.com/blog/view/76338/ib-learner-traits), and defined expeditions as anything outside your comfort zone. – Hannah

This trip was to a park where we explored our understandings of Mr. Austen’s class. By throwing our goals out of reach. Literally. – Rebecca

Today we furthered ourselves to this goal by going on an expedition and using teamwork to help one another literally reach our goals. A vital IB trait for such an adventure is to be balanced. We worked together to help each other reach our goals that were thrown from the

circle. Amongst us we thought of creative and effective ways to help our friends reach their goals; however we did not only help others. We were also helped by others to reach our own goal. We had to give attention in order to receive attention, yet we also had to take risks. Together we had to think outside of the box to learn ways to reach our goals. – Sydney

After discussing and brainstorming in groups, I’ve noticed that some of the IB student traits are perfect to enforce during World Literature class. For me English class represents much more than an average class, it’s a challenge. Therefore, I have to be able to take chances and not be afraid of failure. Being a risk taker in this class will give me opportunities to explore different ideas and by experimenting with my second language also understand more about it. – Alejandro

As we continued on to the next day, Mr. Austen continued his explanation on how English class is beneficial for life while incorporating all the IB learner profile traits. Communication, although easy to talk about (pardon the pun) is still a prevalent and key part to English class and life in-general. Communication is through body language, eye contact and verbal speaking. We concluded that communication was one of the most important things these days because of technology and because it is how respect is gained and maintained. – Rebecca

Reflection is also a prominent part of English class. Written reflections, of course, are obvious examples. However, we reflect without even knowing it during class. We are constantly trying to do things better by referring to what we did previously. During the team building exercise on the first day, we would see which ideas worked, and which didn’t work as well and make future decisions based on that. Having grading rubrics greatly assist in helping us grow by giving us comments on what areas we succeeded in. – Yuan Yuan


park 2One other trait that I think is emphasized in English class is open minded and confidence. Although these are two traits, I feel that they are jointly accentuated (by both parties in this case) by one thing that we are obligated to do during class in order to be heard and to improve. When an idea is shared, the rest of the students are being open minded and accepting of the fact that there are other ideas while simultaneously, the speaker is opening him or herself to criticism showing that they have enough confidence in their ideas to share them with people. This allows them to take in the feed back so that they can do better the next time around. As this continues to happen, it helps build confidence in the people who are sharing and also helps the listeners analyze ideas in order to give better feedback and constructive criticism. – Gawa

Opinions differ greatly on the topic of literature. Some people will love a certain book or poem, while others may dislike it greatly. As a class we must keep an open mind to interpretation and listen to others opinions on works of literature rather than just voicing our own opinion and blocking out others. Keeping an open mind in English class allows us to grow as a person and discover different viewpoints on a work of literature that we may not have noticed if we didn’t listen to others. – Samhaior

Being open minded is important for discovering new things about life; when meeting new people and cultures and being able to try out new things. This could result in new happenings and relationships in life. “If you want to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done” is a quote that I like, and that’s what risk taking and being open minded is all about. Sometimes the result might not turn out great, but at least you would have gained one new experience in life. – Liisa

Principled: As ethic is a basic need for a good human being, English class will help develop this trait by helping us to be more open to things, be more confident, respect others voices, know what’s right from wrong and groom us into not only an educated person but literate, ethical, good human beings.  – Yodsel

English class helps us expanding our knowledge a lot. For instance, when we are learning about different cultures by reading books or by discussing in class. In addition, we learn a lot about our classmates and their culture, their believes and thoughts during English classes. – Paul

The outcome of this discussion was to see the value of the lessons that will be learned in the 10th grade English class. Such lessons will become tools that assist us in surviving the rest of our lives. – Isaac

1 Comment

Filed under TGS Argentina