Holistic approaches are key to help students understand how the past has contributed to build who we are nowadays. Ovid, Sofocles, Velázquez and Rubens have come together to reveal the everlasting power of classical mythology and Art.
Last spring, at Colegio Internacional Ausiàs March (Picassent, Spain), we came up with the idea of including and exploring the foundations of Western literature in our Language A Diploma Program course. Due to the everlasting power of Greco-Roman mythology, we decided to start off with The Metamorphoses by the great Roman poet Ovid. This was followed by the reading of one of the most original Greek tragedies: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.How could all this become appealing to our 16-year-old students? The answer was El Prado Museum in Madrid (Spain). So, we arranged a one-day trip from our shiny Valencia to Madrid. Meaningful learning was guaranteed! After we finished reading The Metamorphoses, considering there is a collection of paintings from Rubens, Velázquez and Tiziano referring to the myths in the museum, visiting it seemed to be a must. The students would be the ones to present a myth related to a painting and explain it to the rest of the students who accompanied them. They would become expert museum guides just for one day!It was wonderful to feel how the students became aware and enjoyed knowing and explaining the works of art in an incomparable setting. That day helped to make the reading meaningful and develop their self-esteem as they took us through the corridors of El Prado to connect the myths with the masterpieces of painting.In addition, to this already wonderful activity, before the winter break, we had a surprise in store: one of our student’s fathers, a writer specialized in classical Greece, gave a talk offering all of us an unforgettable journey through the secrets of the classical world.To wrap up this experience, students will perform, next January, a play of a myth brought to the present day, putting into practice the idea that myths are still relevant in our world today.
The Language A: Language and Literature HL teacher and Head of Department, Rafael López, and the Visual Arts teacher, María Roselló, are the thinking minds behind this wonderful experience at Colegio Internacional Ausiàs March (Picassent, Spain).