Lithuanian language lessons: rap, portal analysis and Tik Tok videos

Students raise existential questions

Once, the twelfth grader of the Klaipėda Lyceum, while the class was analyzing a fragment of J. Kunčin’s novel “Tula” about how the narrator remembers her, noticed that the students were already 12 minutes into the lesson explaining the passage about the carmine stain on Tula’s khaki skirt. With this reply, he seemed to want to ask the Lithuanian language teacher Ramunė Galdikienė: what is the meaning of all this?

According to the teacher, students often have similar questions of meaning from other disciplines. For example, why it is useful for them to learn such topics as primitive functions and the indefinite integral, homozygotes, heterozygotes or hemizygotes, Serbian Ode or the dependence of induced electromotive force on the rate of change of the magnetic flux/frame area/number of windings.

These students’ existential questions became the teacher’s report, which considers the fact that modern children’s literacy, critical thinking and communication competences can be developed using the most diverse elements of modern culture, journalism and information sources.

According to Klaipėda Lyceum teacher-expert R. Galdikienė, when conducting an audit of current educational programs, specialists often notice when formulating conclusions that most of the tasks in today’s educational program rarely stimulate students’ curiosity, involvement, creativity or joy of learning. Therefore, according to the education expert, it is natural that students often have questions about the meaning of the learning process.

“After all, pedagogues teach children certain competencies. First of all, the ability to work meaningfully at the right moment. Therefore, if students question the meaning of learning, it means that the curriculum does not meet their needs,” says the teacher.

There are only two living writers on the list of must-have literary authors

According to the Lithuanian language teacher R. Galdikienė, only two living writers can be found in the list of mandatory literary authors that has been established for many years.

“It shows that we are actually teaching children about the past. We teach them a history that may seem completely irrelevant to them in today’s context. But the story unfolds in a spiral. After all, the past has the ability to repeat itself, so it is extremely important to connect it with the present, revealing the relevance of past works in today’s context”, says R. Galdikienė.

Photo of Klaipėda Lyceum/Klaipėda Lyceum

According to the pedagogue of Klaipėda Lyceum, she has been taking care of the integrity of the educational content for all 28 years of her work. While teaching to know and understand literature, which seems “outdated” to almost one hundred percent of today’s youth, R. Galdikienė looks for connections not only with art, music, theater, but also with current affairs, which are well revealed by the media.

Learning about the past through today’s current events

“This year, I started one lesson, inspired by a morning radio talk, with the story of how two American women made a member of the British King’s Guard smile, then uploaded a video on the social network Tik Tok, and how this adventure ended for the guard. Then we read an article about the rules for the royal guard. Since I used this material not only for a more fun start to the lesson, but for a specific purpose, soon this information could be used to develop the introductory and concluding parts of the reasoning essay topic “What can laughter do”/”The power of laughter”, says the education specialist.

R. Galdikienė also says that certain historical literary works can be interpreted through the prism of the ideological messages of popular music works. Therefore, in her lessons, Balis Sruoga’s “Forest of the Gods” can be examined in connection with the German heavy rock group “Rammstein’s” song “Deutschland”, Antanas Baranauskas’ “Anykščiai šilelis” – with the rap of Vidos Bareikis, and the literary solutions of Jonas Biliūnas’ novella “Vagis” are explored with the help of the group “Antique Kashpirovskii Dantys” hit “Baby”.

It is also important to develop communicative literacy

According to R. Galdikienė, who works at the Klaipėda Lyceum, it is extremely important to teach modern children not only linguistic or literary, but also communicative literacy.

“The media is a reflection of the current communication. Therefore, in order to improve the literacy of today’s students, it is important to have a clear understanding of today’s media trends. In order to strengthen children’s communication competences, I sometimes invite students to debate after reading the articles or statements in the media by Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, Vytautas Landsbergis, Tomas Sinickis and other publicists. In this way, we aim to discuss not only the written culture of these articles, but also connect the thoughts and experiences expressed by the authors with the works of literary classics”, says the teacher.

According to R. Galdikienė, in the modern age of information abundance, it is necessary to teach the young generation to properly choose information sources, to be able to evaluate them critically and objectively.

“During the lessons, together with the students, we examine various media articles about today’s current events, the war in Ukraine, the speeches of Lithuanian and foreign ministers and presidents on various topics. Very interesting are the attempts of some politicians to interpret some literary works, for example George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” or the story of Baron Munchausen. Such an educational model teaches not only to understand literature or the content of a journalistic work, but also to critically select the information to be read,” says the pedagogue.

Communication professionals are used to develop students’ literacy

According to R. Galdikienė, the teaching methodology chosen by her is definitely not the answer to today’s extremely relevant question, which teaching methodology should be applied to the children of this millennium.

“Attention to journalism in the educational process will certainly not solve all learning problems, but modern means of communication and professionals are definitely worth relying on in developing students’ general literacy and competences, critical thinking and civic attitude,” says the education expert.

Returning to the lesson about the situation in “Tula” and the question of the meaning of learning, R. Galdikienė states that she gave the students the answer to the question at the end of the lesson.

“To be honest, I didn’t answer the question right away, but at the end of the lesson. I answered that even the fact that after carefully examining a small passage of the work they enriched their vocabulary with two new words “carmine” and “khaki” is already a meaningful learning,” answered the Klaipėda lyceum teacher.

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