A Lesson Plan is a Hero’s Journey



Metaphor is a strong motivator for students. If they can understand the whys and hows of what they’re attempting they can engage more deeply with the content. Presenting a lesson as a hero’s journey (in the tradition of Joseph Campbell) can provide an enticing framework.

It starts with

 the Hero. Students you are the hero. You are predestined to succeed. Yes, there will be trials, but in the end the Hero will stand triumphant. Acknowledge this and connect the task at hand with your background to start on the right foot. (Connecting to Schema and Remembering Facts)

Finding a Quest. On the horizon, something new appears, an opportunity and a challenge. This is the call to adventure which every Hero must meet. It’s here where you encounter new knowledge to help them on the coming quest. (Building Background Knowledge and Understanding Concepts)

Not so fast, adventurer. A hero must Prepare. It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this. The magic sword, the secret skill, the training montage. These are the tools you’ll need to fight the monster and save the day. (Practice Skills and Analyze New Information)

It is time, Cross the Threshold. Enter fully into this new world. Explore. Discover. Face trials and make mistakes. This is what you’ve been waiting for. (Problem Solving and Application)

It’s taken a lot of effort, but you’ve done it. You’ve Conquered. The dragon is slain. The kingdom is yours. You can count your treasure and survey your kingdom. What has it cost you and was it worth it? (Assessment and Evaluation)

Now that you rule, you can make the rules. It’s time to transform the kingdom. Train the dragon and show what you can do beyond the limits of the quest. (Projects and Creation)

Finally, Return home and prepare for you next adventure, for Hero’s work is never done.

The wizards among you have no doubt noted that each step in the Hero’s journey is followed by two magic words. The first indicates assignments that fit within this step and the second is the doman of Bloom’s taxonomy that it addresses. Be good mentors, but remember the Hero must cross the Threshold alone.


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