Transformation? Did it work?
Yes, it did. In the World Literature class, which is also taught in English in the school, the ten graders turned into American writers of the XIX century for the whole 45-minute long lesson. Each student chose one philosopher of the war period against slavery and made an impression of him to tell a story from the first person. The story was about his life and work. Ralf Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Nathaniel Hawthorne – these historical figures came to life again in our classroom and had their say, remembering the old times and giving a thought about their worldview and that of their contemporaries. It gave rise to a lively discussion, which touched upon not only gloomy topics but also such questions as which of them is the oldest, who has more children, who has written more books in their life, who was the most despised by censorship and critics and who has travelled most and has visited the biggest number of countries. It turned out to be a lot of fun and the students could barely help laughing telling something like, “I was born in 1809. I organised a great literary club and I had a big beard.”
Imagining yourself being someone else is very useful and interesting and it turned out to be astonishingly educating and easy.