On Teaching Mythology

I see it as somewhat of an irony when I imagine a teacher trying to teach mythology without bringing to them the experience of nature, the very stuff that motivated our distant ancestors to construct such colorful narratives, to the students themselves.

Tried remedying this by bringing the high schoolers out into nature when we were going through the intro to Philippine pre-colonial literature. To sit down, close one’s eyes and shut up for five minutes, if only for the chance to listen to that layer of bird chirps and leaf rustles under all the noise of overenthusiastic children and motor vehicles. To feel sweat drip down your face, and the wind wipe it off. To see a makahiya plant close up under your fingers, before talking about how and why it does it: first scientifically, then mythologically. To zoom out into phenomena like lightning and thunder and rainbows, trying to understand how much these things awed people who had neither Facebook nor television to turn them into multimedia-starved zombies. To stress in the importance people placed on imagination, cobbled together from bits and pieces of experience, as a way of explaining all these phenomena around them, sometimes even for nothing more than the sake of having an explanation.

To try to put the awe back in people, so that they see the awesome in everything around them.

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