Wednesday, February 29, 2012

European History Re-Visited

Darby and I recently began watching Season 1 of "The Tudors."

From Wikipedia: The Tudors is a Canadian-produced historical fiction television series filmed in Ireland, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premiumive mforg cable television channel Showtime. The series, named after the Tudor dynasty, is loosely based upon the reign of King Henry VIII of England. (taken from Wikipedia).

Let me just say that I REALLY like the show. First, it is full of incredible costumes and jewelry. Since I adore those types of things, watching them come to life (so to speak) hasn't been a hardship. Second, the actors are quite, er....fetching. No wonder the Ladies in Waiting had a swooning problem.  Third, the plot is captivating. Usually, when I am faced with nothing to do other than watch TV, I tend to multi-task. I work on jewelry, play on the internet (AKA Facebook and Pinterest), or even read a book. Not possible during this show. It DEMANDS my attention. And last, but certainly not least: I AM ACTUALLY LEARNING SOMETHING. Yes, I know the show is only based on reality, but I was curious enough to begin researching Henry VIII, Ann Bolelyn, etc....

I actually wondered why teachers don't use episodes from this or similar shows to encourage interest in studying. Of course, the "adult" scenes would have to be taken out, but wow - it would have made me more interested! I took Advanced European History in the 9th grade. I think I made an "A", maybe a "B" - but it was boring. The lectures were boring. I memorized information for tests and then forgot it. Evidence of this issue became glaringly apparent last evening as we watched an episode in which the King orders all books by Martin Luther be burned. (please note that this show takes place around the 1500's...)

CONVERSATION WITH DARBY (and no - I wasn't paying attention at the particular moment the King ordered the books burned, so hence my question...)

 Me: "Whose works are they burning?"
Darby: "Martin Luther."
Me, with shock in my voice: "Martin Luther KING?!?!"

Let me point out that I am perfectly aware that MLK did not live in England in the 1500's. But my frame of reference for the name "Martin Luther" just didn't go back to the time of Henry VIII. And if I had actually LEARNED European History, instead of just memorizing info for tests, my first thought wouldn't have been: "Why are they burning MLK's works on this show when it is supposed to be in the 1500's and MLK wasn't even born???"

I recommend the show. But don't try to multi-task!!


Mitzi said...

Laura, I really enjoyed The Tudors too, especially the costumes and accessories!

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