experiential learning, material culture, myth

By August 24, 20102010, Europe

Three things that stick in my memory from this trip are experiential learning, the importance of material culture and how myth has been used and is still being used to this day. There are many other things that I learned on this trip which are also significant but these three stick out particularly to me.

I learned how important experiential learning was and how enjoyable it can be. When I had thought of experiential learning prior to this trip I always thought of learning from one’s mistakes, something that I think I am a pro at now. But on this trip I learned how one can learn from all experiences, especially the good ones; one doesn’t always need a negative situation to learn something valuable.

Also learning about material culture, and how almost anything that you see can be perceived or thought of as material culture. I have never thought about architecture, statues, art, etc. being able to tell a viewer about the culture of the people and time in which it was made and even where it is kept. Often we look to understand what we are told about objects but when thinking about an object as material culture one must learn to think about it out of context, for example why certain materials were used in the piece or work and maybe why the object was made in this particular way?

Finally learning about myth and its use has been very interesting. I have noticed the use of myth in many paintings, sculpture and literature on this trip. Paintings such as Two followers of Cadmus Devoured by a Dragon is a fantastic example, for it tells the story of the founding of Thebes. I realized myth is often used to make a place or person seem more majestic or powerful than they are or it actually is. If the story of the founding of Thebes was to be about some regular guy founding a town it would not receive as much attention or fame. Myth increases the value of a place or person by adding in unlikely information which makes it seem grander. Over all I really enjoyed the trip and wish I could experience it again.

Matt

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