Friday, August 05, 2016

Creative projects in teaching

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Creation and Creativity: Teaching Critical Thinking Beyond the Term Paper (Sarit Kattan Gribetz).
Last year, I learned that the best way to encourage my students to approach ancient sources seriously, critically, and honestly was to let them run wild and turn them into NPR segments, YouTube clips, and Spoken Word poems. In the process, they became exegetes, redactors, historians, critics, and theologians.

In a course titled “Sacred Texts of the Mideast,” my students read narratives about the origins of the universe and the creation of humanity in a range of texts from the ancient and medieval Middle East. We began with Babylonian creation myths such as Enuma Elish and worked our way through Genesis, Psalms, Wisdom literature, Jubilees, Philo, Paul and the Gospel of John, Revelation, Athanasius and Augustine, the Nag Hammadi codices, rabbinic sources, Jewish and Christian liturgical poetry, Manichaean and Zoroastrian texts, Qur’an and hadith, al-Tabari and Ikhwan al-Safa, and Maimonides. Each week, my students wrote response papers to practice analyzing our sources carefully and critically. When it came to their final projects, though, I wanted them to approach these same sources from a different perspective – a personal one.

Given that the subject of the course was creation, I thought it fitting that the final assignment be a creative project. ...
Including: Philo of Alexandria meets interpretive dance.