Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
by Anonymous
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Challenges & Opportunities of Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sample of Challenges & Opportunities

If your students ever came up with this complaint, you should be darn well pleased. It means that despite their general dislike, they've learned a thing or two about medieval poetry. And that's no easy feat. Here's the thing about medieval poetry: it's difficult for everyone. There is always a learning curve, and most of the time it is pretty steep. Between awkward translations of otherwise really cool texts and the strangeness of the subject matter, students can fall by the wayside pretty quickly.

Happily, you have your own unflagging enthusiasm for literature and the help of fantastic translations (think Simon Armitage or William Vantuono) to keep your ducks in a row. If you can, always choose a dual translation (Middle English/Modern English on facing pages) so your students have the opportunity to compare the old with the new. An interesting fact: students may complain about having to read "old" texts, but they feel kind of privileged and impressed to read something truly esoteric. So don't be afraid. Delve into the Middle English and watch the coolness factor rise.