CONTENT/CONTEXT OF THE BLITZKRIEG (BLITZ) TECHNIQUE AND WHETHER IT HELPED US OVERCOME SOME OF THE EXCEPTIONS LISTED IN THE LAST POST
1.The other name for this technique was “LITERATURE PRACTICALS” Yes, you read us right. It was not really a class for theoretical Literature. It was more of a practical class where students had to be active as authors,dramatists, poets, critics, examiners within a cycle of 4-weeks.Each class cycle made use of available multimedia to the fullest in accentuating interest in Shakespeare drama and other genres. It was a class that saw Romeo and Juliet on motorbikes instead of horses. Students also saw gun shots being fired instead of saber-rattling. It was a class where group dynamics and gaming theories came very much into play. Overall, it was a class students longed to be part of even though it was held after school or even on Saturdays. Above all, it was conducted by this writer who was then Director of Studies as well as the Proprietor of the school.
2.If there is any one subject that mirrors the confusion of Nigerian students in school it is literature.Not only is the Shakespearean age far from their lives of today, but many of the works listed by WAEC/NECO/JAMB come from cultures many of them do not know or yet to understand.Here are quotations from non-Nigerian teachers of literature showing that the problem is not limited to Nigerians and that even students in England who should have adapted more to Literature classes had some common and peculiar problems too..
“Literature is an essential part of a balanced education, but how do you teach a student how to read a classic? How do you urge him or her to see the beauty in Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dickens?”
” the overly abstract, aesthetic and theoretical ways in which literature has so far been taught, often without reference to the history and culture of the society in which it was written, and without concern for what today’s students can learn from it for their own lives, have to be changed’
3.Paragraph 2 supports why the BLITZ had to be a less tedious class compared to regular Literature classes on the school’s academic time-table.
4.Though it is part of our PREMIUM SERVICES today we can hereby offer a snippet of what one student produced on her own in the BLITZ class.The Shakespeare book is MACBETH.Students were given questions and asked to respond with summaries,or as critics or as examiners of fellow students in the BLITZ class.Here is one summary produced or extracted from somewhere putting MACBETH in a few words.
MACBETH SUMMARIZED BY BLITZ TECHNIQUE
TYPE OF DRAMA:
LOYALTY →BRAVERY →AMBITION → CRUELTY → BELIEF AND CONFIDENCE IN THE SUPERNATURAL→DISAPPOINTMENT→DEATH
SCOTLAND, 16TH CENTURY
MACBETH,LADY MACBETH,MACDUFF, WITCHES, DUNCAN, BANQUO,MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, MURDERERS
MACBETH → MAJOR → ROUND
LADY MACBETH → MAJOR→ROUND
MURDERERS →MINOR → FLAT
MACDUFF → MAJOR →ROUND
MALCOLM→ MAJOR → ROUND
DUNCAN → MINOR →ROUND
BANQUO → MAJOR → ROUND
DONALBAIN→ MINOR→ FLAT
WITCHES → MAJOR →ROUND
WAR WITH NORWAY → INTERNAL REBELLION BY THANE OF CAWDOR → BOTH CRUSHED BY MACBETH → EXECUTION OF THANE OF CAWDOR → ENCOUNTER WITH WITCHES → APPOINTMENT OF MACBETH AS THANE OF CAWDOR → MURDER OF
DUNCAN IN MACBETH’S CASTLE INSTIGATED BY LADY MACBETH→ ROYALTY FLEES → MURDER OF BANQUO AND FAMILY OF MACDUFF →15 YRS OF CRUEL RULE →ARMY FROM ENGLAND WITH MACDUFF, MALCOLM AND BANQUO’S SON → VISIT TO WITCHES FROM FEARS FOR ASSURANCE ETC MADNESS/SLEEP WALKING AND DEATH OF LADY MACBETH → ATTACK ON MACBETH’S CASTLE WITH BRANCHES FROM BIRNAM WOOD TO DUNSINANE →MACBETH KILLED BY MACDUFF WITH HEAD HUNG ON A POLE.
SUPERNATURAL, WEATHER, TRAGIC FLAW, SOLILOQUIES, PERSONIFICATION,METAPHOR, SIMILES, IRONY
“There ‘s daggers in men’s smiles”. – ( Quote Act II, Sc. III).
“what ‘s done is done”. Macbeth ( Quote Act III, Scene II).
“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none”. Macbeth Quote (Act I, Sc. VII).
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”. – ( Quote Act I, Scene I).
“I bear a charmed life”. Macbeth Quote (Act V, Sc. VIII).
“Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” Macbeth Quote (Act I, Scene V).
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” Macbeth Quote (Act II, Sc. II).
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” Macbeth Quote (Act IV, Scene I).
“Out, damned spot! out, I say!” – ( Quote Act V, Scene I).
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Macbeth Quote (Act V, Sc. I).
“When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done,
When the battle ‘s lost and won”. Macbeth Quote (Act I, Scene I).
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me”. Macbeth Quote (Act I, Scene III).
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as ‘t were a careless trifle”. – ( Quote Act I, Sc. IV).
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” Macbeth Quote (Act I, Scene V).
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other.” – ( Quote Act I, Scene VII).
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” Macbeth Quote (Act II, Scene I).
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).
5.Similar summaries were produced for all the genres based on guidelines contained in the “20 pointer” post.Since theoretical lecture was bare it was easier to decide how long to keep each student in the BLITZ class.
DID THE BLITZ TECHNIQUE SUCCEED?
6.Some of our students remember those classes till tomorrow and here is a quote just received from one of them yesterday
Nwachukwu Chisom Christian “Am not doing bad sir, am so proud of you… thanks for all the techniques.. am the current S.U.G Director Of Welfare, a medical student, enjoying Agbami scholarship in Abia state university and still going higher ..Thanks a lot ….I will always represent the dream class wherever I am…we will always make you proud..”
7.Lots of group-based games were played in BLITZ class.One of them called THE CONCEPTS BINGO was very popular among students but cannot be explained within this write-up. There were others . For example, students were grouped as boys versus girls or according to their surnames.In some cases group captains were appointed and asked to pick members of their groups in turn.Each group was to ask a question on literary terms or Shakespeare, or prose or poetry (per round) from the group on its right hand side.They did not just ask the question but picked the person in the next group to answer.But to answer consultations with members of each group were allowed because students can sometimes be better teachers to their colleagues.Marks were awarded to each group on providing a correct answer.But more fun was provided by asking the group which got the answer right whether it wanted a CHANCE or COMMUNITY card as in the game of MONOPOLY for boosting total score.At this stage you need to be in the BLITZ classes to experience the energy and fun going on while learning at odd hours of the day from Monday to Saturday! This was how we accentuated the interest in the BLITZ Literature classes or got ex-science students scoring A grades in WAEC/NECO exams after just a year of Literature .We are keeping specific steps taken to our chests as trade secrets but we hope Literature tutors in Nigerian schools will remember some of the tips gathered from other specialists teaching the subject.These shall be provided in the next two posts.
TO BE CONTINUED