Are you looking for an advanced critical-thinking activity that helps students practice transferring funds of knowledge from one subject to another? The Archetype Four Square EduProtocol can help students use what they already know about mythic structure to deepen their analysis skills and make additional connections with other figures they have studied in history.
The College Board has reported that one of the most challenging tasks on their exams is making connections between historical figures and periods. When students view historical figures as human beings with common struggles, they connect those narratives to their experiences and lock the historical details into their deeper memory.
History is full of archetypal characters and situations. Almost every revolution and presidential scandal contain what Carl Jung, the founder of analytic psychology called archetypes or commonly repeating personality types that help simplify human behavior patterns. With practice, you can teach your students to recognize these story-telling techniques to make meaningful connections when studying complex phenomena. George Washington gave advice to Alexander Hamilton in a mentor role similar to how Ben Bradlee, the editor of the Washington Post, encouraged his reporters Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein to keep digging deeper into the Watergate scandal.
I have found the lenses of The Hero’s Journey and Archetypes to be helpful in jumpstarting classroom conversations. My students worked in small groups to identify which character fits into which archetype. Then they gathered textual evidence to support their claims. Here is an example where a student is struggling to identify an archetype. This description of Alexander needs to be clearly defined. Is he an ally, shapeshifter, or trickster? This student is too vague and does not supply sufficient evidence from the text or the movie.
I have found the Nacho Paragraph EduProtocol well-tuned for helping students elaborate or clarify their rationale. This example shows how three students labeled the same character with different archetypes. To go deeper, I asked them to select one and elaborate with additional evidence. They were only given ten minutes to complete this task.
Archetypes teach students that some claims are easier to support than others. Also, there can be more than one right answer. Your students will dive back into the text and find historical details to bolster their points. Isn’t that what we want? Teachers can model how to strengthen these writing samples with direct instruction and think-aloud explanations as to why one sample is stronger than another. Students can learn to make more connections by reading each other’s responses and voting on which is the most convincing.
To learn how EduProtocols can help you increase the amount of writing your students do while decreasing your prep and grading time, pick up our book The EduProtocol Field Guide: Social Studies Edition. If you already have the book, please consider posting a review on Amazon and sharing your students’ work on Twitter using the #EduProtocols hashtag.