The students of English teacher Eduardo Torres’s English 9 class showcased their knowledge of the Hero’s Journey, a common literary outline, on Friday at the school’s first Tiger-Con.
The Hero’s Journey was first realized by scholar Joseph Campbell and is used to understand the plot that often recurs in both modern day culture and works of the past. This narrative pattern has been applied to both real life stories like “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle to the fantasies of Bilbo Baggins and Captain America.
The projected was introduced after a four-week long study of Joseph Campbell’s theories and Odysseus, the main character of the poem “The Odyssey.”
“They needed something that would push them past the level of work I was already getting, and provide them with with a learning experience that they could remember for a long time,” Torres said. “That’s when the idea of having them be presenters in a Gen-Con or -Comic-Con like conference was born.”
Each student picked a different story or plot to analyze with the prototype of the Hero’s Journey. The students set up their projects in the library to discuss their findings with other students and teachers, assisting in their presentation and critical thinking skills. Torres considered it a resounding success.
“We got some great feedback from the students and teachers that attended,” Torres said. “In fact, I would argue that the feedback my class received was better than they could have ever received from just presenting in my classroom.”
Tiger-Con’s overall goal was to teach students direct application of their in-class lessons. These skills could transfer to other subjects in the future, and teach students a different way to analyze popular themes in literature. It was a break away from the usual oral presentation, involving a smaller and more critical audience. Torres is not yet sure what future topics for Tiger-Con will be, but he guarantees that the event will continue.