News from the editorial team

Or should I say, Lanoitan Drawkcab Yad ?

Suggested activities to try on Backward Day include eating breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast, adding coffee to your milk (something I weirdly do already) and starting a book on the last page: Something I’m sure Lewis Caroll would approve of! His classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland combines language and logic into a world of magical realism and ‘literary nonsense’. This book makes me think of all the things that are completely ridiculous but capture my attention as a reader, like the concept of an ‘Unbirthday Party‘… Stories that help me think outside the box. It is exactly why I think Backward Day can be a fun way to escape your routine, as ridiculous as it sounds to do something the other way around, “just because”.

This post actually describes how reading backwards can improve children’s reading skills, using Dr. Suess’ books as an example! Reading the sentences backwards removes the factor of predicting what the next word will be, letting the reader focus solely on the words instead of the content, which is an intriguing idea!

So, whether as an exercise or just for fun, try doing at least one thing backwards today! Maybe I’ll pour my milk into my coffee for once…

Stay safe and happy!

Sarah

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are.”

– Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland


“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
– Edward Snowden

How often do you use Google per day? What do you upload on Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and the like? Do you use any voice assistants? How many jokes and sarcastic comments do you exchange with your friends that could be misunderstood taken out of context? What about pictures of any kind of precarious situations?

I recently started reading some of Margaret Atwood’s works. Although I was interested in dystopian literature and the surveillance aspect before, her books got me thinking even more about privacy as a human right, but even more so as a privilege. The Handmaid’s Tale has gained popularity since the series was launched which also experienced hype. However, it is quite different from the book and I feel the surveillance part isn’t dealt with as nicely as in the book. Atwood started writing the novel during a visit to West Berlin in 1984 through which she experienced the GDR system which definitely shows in the book. And even though mass surveillance media wasn’t a real thing back then, the effect of a lack of privacy on a human being is terrifying as it is equated with a lack or loss of control over one’s life. The Heart Goes Last is another novel worth reading regarding this delicate topic. Who could imagine right now, in our soft cozy living circumstances, giving up privacy in order to gain safety? Giving up privacy because it’s the most convenient thing to do? This is basically what happens in The Heart Goes Last and the change of human behaviour is interesting yet shocking. How would you change if you knew, you were monitored in some way or another all the time? Would you speak about everything as freely as you do now?

Don’t get me wrong, some of the above-mentioned I’m guilty of, too. I am, however, always a little surprised by the vast number of people using the “I have nothing to hide”-argument. I find that hard to believe, to be honest. Or would you give away private information to random people, people you just met, friends, family? Don’t you carefully pick the personal information you’re giving to someone depending on who you’re dealing with? Because I know, I don’t need to have any secrets in order to want privacy. Anyways, it’s not my place to lecture anyone here right now but if you are interested in seven reasons why “I have nothing to hide” might not be a valid point, have a read through the article on the amnesty website. Forbes also published a piece about why it is so incredibly important and how to care about online privacy. What’s probably most important is to reflect on one’s own actions and start rethinking. It’s not necessary to change everything and get super paranoid, just be aware! For I think it’s often not so much that you don’t care but that diving into this abysmal rabbit hole is hugely inconvenient and, let’s be honest, freaking creepy. Nevertheless, I promise, it’s a step worth taking!

Sarah-Sophia


I don’t know how you feel about this but for me, the worst time of the year is not when days are getting shorter but when they’re just starting to get longer again. When the joy of Christmas time is fading again. When New Year resolutions begin to feel like more of a burden than a motivation. When the sky is a kind of mushy gray and temperatures are too high for snow you, however, still need to wear fat winter clothing limiting your ability to move. Work seems harder, it takes effort to concentrate, and gazing out of the window is tangibly dissatisfying.

Now, I must admit I have a hard time convincing myself that reading a book after a more or less frustrating day will lighten my mood. I’d rather lie around all day and watch some edifying but trashy movie or series for the 100th time and wallow in disgruntlement. Disgruntle…a great word, almost onomatopoetic, perfectly fitting the situation. Nevertheless, sinking into discontent is not an option, hence some ideas, some advice for fighting the winter blues.

  1. Getting up early
    The sun might not do it, but I do! Being independent from daylight gives me a feeling of power. Also, I noticed that I get the more unpleasant tasks of the day done more properly and have some spare time for procrastinating with a cup of tea or coffee in-between working sessions.
  2. Sports aka any kind of exercise
    Going hand in hand with my early bird action, I also started going jogging for half an hour every morning. It gets the circulation rolling and afterwards I get to enjoy the graet feeling that I accomplished something already. Took a while getting used to forcing myself out of bed, totally worth it though!
  3. Books I found pleasing
    Since we’re at Lit4School here, some literary recommendations mustn’t be missing.
    I adore famous Paddington bear’s numerous little adventures. Admitting it being more of a children’s book, it nevertheless makes me smile involuntarily.
    Bob: No Ordninary Cat also made me quite happy. James Bowen’s adorable story of how a stray cat gave him the strength to turn his life upside down and inspired him to write this book is amazing.
    Holes was a fascinating novel as well. Not only did Louis Sacher create, what I think is a brilliant omniscent narrator. But he also invented unique characters making up a perfectly round and heartwarming story.
    I’m quite aware of the subjectiveness of this little list and often I am also guilty of being a fair-weather-reader, at least in Winter. When I asked around what books and other media made people happy, many different ideas came up. All time classics Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson series, and The Hunger Games were on the list for nostalgic reasons which I think makes a valid point. And I was told, I shouldn’t leave out all the Disney movies, always useful for a delightful movie night.
  4. Fairylights
    Just because everything is better with fairylights, they chase away the greyness from outside.

What are your favourite books or movies for brightening your day?

I hope you can take something with you from this post if only the knowledge that you are not alone. Have a great day and a big smile!

Sarah-Sophia


January 25th each year is a time to celebrate all things Scottish – it’s the birthday of one of Scotland’s national poets Robert Burns, or short: Burns Night. Yes, you certainly should try to wrap your tongue around one of Burns’ poems – the Address to a Haggis would be a good one so start with. For a start, it beautifully demonstrates the richness of Burns’ language. It also reminds us that there is a wonderful tradition you can join in, the so-called Burns supper: Scottish food and drink (whisky, that is, if you are of legal drinking age) to be enjoyed with friends and family, albeit following certain steps. So be sure to hold your own Burns supper with this simple guide – even if this year your crowd may be connected online instead of gathering at the same table.

If you are looking teaching resources concerning Robert Burns, the article “How to teach… Robert Burns” published on January 20, 2017, in The Guardian might be useful. Stay safe everyone, and celebrate the arts!

Rico


Thirty white horses on a red hill, first they champ, then they stamp, then they stand still.

‘Teeth! teeth! my preciousss; but we has only six!’

Can you guess who answered that riddle? The fact that a character like Gollum can be recognized by two words alone speaks volumes on the talent behind Tolkien’s writing. His magical storytelling has shaped the fantasy genre of today, with readers all around the world falling in love with his novels. In honour of Tolkien’s birthday, I’d like to revisit some of my favourites!

The Hobbit transports you to the magical world of Middle-earth, filled with magical creatures, some more pleasant than others… and a rather unadventurous hobbit. Bilbo Baggins never wanted an adventure, he was very content staying at home. But when a company of dwarves drags him on a journey of battling goblins and trolls he discovers a side of him he’s never seen before.

Written in verse, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is a collection of illustrated stories ranging from poems about magical elves to hungry trolls. The stories are a joy to read and are ideal for a short coffee-break.

Bonus The Hobbit riddles at the bottom at the page!

Sarah

A box without hinges, key, or lid. Yet golden treasure inside is hid.

What has roots as nobody sees, Is taller than trees, Up, up it goes, And yet never grows?


I’m sure most of us are experiencing yet another stressful Christmas time, for the older you are the more you have to think about, organise, and remember. And what’s more, you don’t even get to keep the mysterious magic of Christmas with believing in Santa Claus, the Christkind, or another Christmas entity. No, at some point it’s just *poof* and it’s gone. The holiday itself doesn’t change so much, most of you and your families have their traditions I assume. Maybe you like to go to church and savor the festive service, maybe you have lovely afternoon tea or coffee time with your loved ones. In my family, we like to dress up, we even sing under the tree, and Christmas Eve in general usually has the same procedure every year which I indeed take pleasure in. Most problematic and unnerving is probably the gift-giving. I’m in my mid-twenties and there still is a hidden expectation that I awaken my creativity and actually make something by hand. And let’s be honest: you’re studying or working, do you really set your top priorities on gift-making?

Now, I don’t want to rant, I really do love Christmas time! I particularly adore all the fairy lights and candles, the colours and comfy blankets, all the warm homes radiating their cozy vibes. I admit, it certainly is kind of stressful but that’s a reason to take a step back, have a hot beverage and take an hour just to take care of yourself. So long story short, here are some warm literature and media suggestions for these special decelerating hours or of course for bringing some Christmas vibes into your classroom:

A Christmas Carol: An all-time classic and one of my favourites! I think it captures the spirit of Christmas brilliantly and conveys positive values that we should pay more attention to. It’s also not that long and it’s ideal for reading it to someone.

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Correspondence): This collection of letters tells the story of the 12 days of Christmas from the recipient’s point of view. What starts out as a grand romantic gesture quickly becomes increasingly strange. Receiving two doves is lovely, but can the same be said for eight maids milking cows in your front yard? This book could be the perfect lighthearted story to read for those who love this classic Christmas carol!

The Real Mother Goose Book of Christmas Carols: You want to include some music and singing in your lessons? This is a perfect medium to implement with a great variety of Christmas carols.

Miracle on 34th Street: This is a magical movie about believing in Christmas and Santa Claus. Despite being quite old, I think it is a great movie for the whole family.

Dash & Lily: Maybe some of you know the Netflix series from last year which was lovely. The books about the couple, the misanthropic Dash and the enthusiastic always happy Lily, are in my opinion definitely worth reading. It’s easy to read and still provides a wide vocabulary range. I liked how the contradicting views of the two are described and combined.

I could and also want to go on and on and on with my list but I want to keep this at a length that isn’t so overwhelming. In the end, we read or watch whatever makes us feel good, and statistically the consumption of wholesome movies and literature goes through the ceiling during Christmas time. If you need some more inspiration for classroom media, have a look at our collection and feel free to recommend your own Christmas favourites!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sarah-Sophia


November 26th: Black Friday

English · 26 November 2021

Every year, I notice how many newsletters I’m subscribed to when Black Friday promotion codes start rolling into my inbox. Companies promote their “once in a lifetime deals” that seem to happen, well… definitely more than once. Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season and is used by many to get a head start on gift shopping, while also saving some money. And although it’s wonderful to get a great deal on an item you were going to buy anyway, it’s incredibly easy to get lost in a shopping frenzy. So, if you want to read up on consumerism and its effect on us and our environment, take a look at these titles!

Black Friday by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: This collection of twelve dystopian short stories exposes institutionalised racism, social injustice and the devastating effects of consumerism on contemporary and near-future society. And ironically, it’s named after the very day known for promoting excessive consumerist behavior.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: This novel is both a psychological thriller and an essential critique of contemporary capitalist society on consumerism, perfection, masculinity and rebellion. Fight Club’s narrator lives a regular life, working for an insurance company and collecting Ikea furniture in his free time. When one day his apartment mysteriously blows up, he moves in with a man named Tyler Durden, a charismatic stranger he just recently met. Together they start an underground bare-knuckle fighting club which quickly develops into an anti-capitalist terrorist organisation that attacks the global financial system. The book has since been adapted into a wildly successful film that is definitely worth a watch.

The True Cost by Andrew Morgan: This documentary explores the world of fast fashion, consumerism and the many questions it raises. How much do clothing pieces actually cost to make and what is behind that number? What is the psychology behind overconsumption along with the ethical and environmental implications that follow?

On this note, happy (and hopefully stress-free) shopping! Have you discovered any thought-provoking texts or films recently? We’d love for you to share them with us!

Sarah


Not enough appreciated and celebrated in my opinion, at least in Germany, is this special day. Here, unfortunately, you’re already bludgeoned with Christmas stuff in September, but there’s little room for Halloween or simply autumn decorations. But, even though we might not be the most halloweeny nation, we still want to suggest some texts and movies for a long eerie autumn night. Some may be useful in the English classroom, some are just for fun.

  • Edgar Allan Poe: To be honest, I’m not sure which of the 32 short stories to choose, they are all perfect for this time of the year. Apart from The Masque of the Red Death which I’m certain, many of you know, I find The Black Cat and Berenice to be absolutely horrifying and disturbing, just the right amount of horror and terror. And the length of the stories is an absolute bonus feature as they make for a great scary Halloween reading session with flashlight in the dark and everything. Poe’s stories are in the public domain and you may find them here for example: poestories.com
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne: Just like good old Edgar, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote many short stories, however, much less gruesome than his fellow dark Romanticism writer. Howthorne’s stories live more from mysticism and a certain intangibility. Rappaccini’s Daughter is one of my favourites because it shows that the monsters are not always the bad guys. The Wedding-Knell is also a delightfully bizarre story that combines marriage and death. These stories are also in the public domain, e.g.: americanliterature.com
  • Romantic Halloween/Autumn Novel: Not a big fan of all the Halloween hype and scary stories? Maybe you’d rather enjoy snuggling up with a steaming cup of pumpkin spiced latte and some cheesy romantic novel. The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine is about the annual Halloween party in a cosy little B&B and filled with romance paired with halloween traditions. It’s simply an uplifting belletristic story.
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show: Certainly doesn’t meet everyone’s taste but this hilarious cult film simply cannot be missing from the Halloween list. This quirky Frankenstein parody with its world-famous vocal interludes combined comedy, tragedy and transsexuality as far back as 1973. The film was released in 1975, something to keep in mind while watching.
  • Movies for children: We certainly don’t want to traumatise the younger audience but still get across a little spookiness. There are, of course, the lovely stop motion Tim Burton movies like Frankenweenie and Nightmare before Christmas which treat children carefully including the right amount of scariness and cuteness and thus introducing the genre quite gently. Hotel Transylvania is another, albeit definitely more amusing, Halloween children’s film. It is definitely suitable for an easy introduction to the scary film genre and even comes with a light moral lesson. And of course last but not least, Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh tells the story of Pooh’s Halloween and how Piglet overcame his fear.

I’m sure our little list includes something for everyone. If you feel otherwise feel free to suggest your Halloween favourites!

Trick or Treat!

Sarah-Sophia


Fall is here!

English · 16 October 2021

With more and more rainy days trickling into our lives, it’s time to accept that summer has inevitably come to an end. Now that fall break has arrived, take the time to enjoy some cozy autumnal literature with us! These picks are short and sweet, the perfect choice to accompany a steaming cup of coffee or tea! If you’re looking for an intriguing short story, take a look at Early Autumn by Langston Hughes: This short story shows that what appears to be small talk on the surface can be packed with emotions, love, and bitterness alike. Set in autumn, the falling leaves and cold weather reflect a complicated romantic relationship. A classic piece of poetry to get in the mood for autumn is, unsurprisingly, To Autumn by John Keats: Written in three stanzas, this romantic poem reflects on three different aspects of autumn: the power of nature, the consolation of beauty, and mortality and transformation.

Do you have any favourite autumn literature? Share your picks with us!

Take care,

Sarah


September 28th: Helen Mort

English · 28 September 2021

I’m a mum to a toddler, a step parent, a trail runner, climber and all round outdoor enthusiast. I love the Peak District and get out whenever I can. I grew up in Chesterfield. I love dogs, books, dancing and real ale.” – Helen Mort

Our congratulations to Helen Mort – award-winning poet, novelist and senior lecturer for creative writing at the Manchester Metropolitan University. We feature some of her poetry taken from her collection No Map Could Show Them (2016) that navigates proximity and distance, past and present, edges and extremes – such as: “Lil’s Answer” – a poem on gender prejudices and discrimination, “What Will Happen” – lines on new roles and old norms of society, “Oxygen” – on mountaineering and the elixir of life or “Ink” – reflecting upon the process of injury and healing after a tattoo session.

Happy Birthday Helen!

Simon


Every year at the end of summer break, I used to set goals for the new school year. I treated it kind of like New Year’s; a fresh start that makes you think you can suddenly be the most productive person in the world. So of course I thought: “If I want to read more, I may as well read a new classic every week!” By now, I’ve realized I need to keep my goals realistic so I can achieve them. Here are some book suggestions that aren’t overwhelming, that can be read in excerpts or are part of a series… for any age group and language level!

  • The Magic Tree House series is perfect for young history and mystery lovers looking to read regularly. The books follow two siblings, Jack and Annie Smith, traveling through space and time in a magic tree house. Their adventures range from watching dinosaurs and meeting Shakespeare to being dropped into the American Civil War. The stories are short and present a wonderful variety of topics for young readers.
  • Teenagers looking for a contemporary novel will enjoy the coming of age story Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon Spier is a 16-year-old high school junior with an affinity for musical theatre. Lately, he’s been flirting online with a boy he only knows as “Blue”. He isn’t out of the closet; and plans on keeping it that way for the foreseeable future. This choice is taken from him when a classmate starts blackmailing him with emails Simon sent to his crush. How will he navigate this invasion of privacy while staying true to himself?
  • And for those wanting to up their classics-game, give The Hobbit a try! It’s a short and sweet classic; and combines magical story-telling with fascinating creatures. Who wouldn’t want to read tales of outsmarting trolls and running from giant spiders? For those intimidated by a novel-length classic, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil captures the same magical essence wrapped up in beautiful poetry and illustrations.

I wish all of you a wonderful start to a new school year full of reading and learning!

Sarah


“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (2007)

In June 1990, Joanne Kathleen Rowling was on her way from Manchester to London by train when an idea came to her mind, which created the magical universe of The Boy Who Lived in Number 4 Private Drive. Her most successful story, published in a series of seven novels and translated in more than 80 languages, was adapted and commercialised as audiobooks, movies, games, theme park attractions, a sequel play, in-universe books and several other products – including chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s Beans and butterbeer. There is no doubt that the Harry Potter brand is one of the most influential media franchises in the world.

On Saturday, the 31st of July, when the author of the series turns 56, she will most probably receive good wishes and congratulations – but also critique from her fans. Last June, she had responded on Twitter to an article on “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate”. Rowling’s tweet caused a shit storm on social media accusing her of not regarding trans women as ‘actual’ women. Other tweets by her also indicated proximity to the arguments of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) and were perceived by the queer community as ignorant, intolerant and transphobic. Emma WatsonDaniel Radcliff and many others denounced her statements and stated that transgender women are women. In an essay, Rowling later emotionally pointed out that her intention was never to discriminate against trans people. “I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought […].”

However, Rowling also argued in the same essay that people should use the bathroom of the sex they were assigned at birth. “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman — and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones — then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.” This statement neglects that trans people are statistically more likely to experience hostility, violence and discrimination in a bathroom setting.

Words, as the initial quote indicates, have the power to heal, but the resonance on social media clearly shows that in this case, they were offensive and hurtful. One year after her controversial tweet, Rowling stated that she still receives threatening messages and comments. Recently, when talking to a good friend of mine about the Twitter scandal, he suggested detaching Rowling’s literary work from her intentions and statements when analysing and interpreting her novels – since we live in postmodern times and assume the ‘death of the author’.

If you are looking for empowering literature and media, which creates awareness for trans rights please check out the topic cluster trans rights on Lit4School.

Kind regards,

Simon


“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” – Aldous Huxley

A month ago, I wrote about George Orwell and his works, praising his writings for being uncomfortable and making us reflect on society‘s past, present, and future. And I thought, talking about another equally famous author of the same genre might be obsolete. However, I came to the conclusion that, especially, Orwell’s 1984 (1949) and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) kind of complement each other in addressing a similar topic while being so different. It’s also nice to know that Huxley was Orwell‘s French teacher at Eton and actually wrote a letter to his former student regarding 1984 praising and also criticising the novel.

Huxley believed his version of government rule to be longer-lasting and more efficient as it doesn’t use fear and violence to make people obedient but conditioning and happy drugs causing citizens to love their state. Moreover, unorthodox thinkers are not broken in Brave New World but given the choice of either becoming rulers themselves or leaving society suggesting relative freedom.

In his letter to Orwell Huxley writes: “I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. […]The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.”

Comparing and contrasting both novels and simultaneously looking at the present was highly interesting for me. Both draw on people’s fears of being controlled by the government and worst-case scenarios can be good means to discuss and reflect about our contemporary and future society in the EFL classroom.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALDOUS!

Sarah-Sophia


On July 21st, Hemingway would have turned 122 years, and of course, this date is often used as an excellent occasion to remind people of the genius he was.

Yet, Lit4School likes to take the opportunity to remember Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s third wife and one of the most adventurous women. She was the only woman who experienced the D-Day on the spot and attended the liberation of Dachau. She founded and renovated her and Hemingway’s home in Cuba, the Watchtower Farm, after their stay in Spain as war correspondents during the Civil War. Her braveness and continuous outstanding journalistic work are honoured in the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. It is awarded annually for journalists writing in the style of Martha Gellhorn, which she understood herself as a “view from the ground”: Capturing human stories that, on the one hand, shake up official news reported in magazines and newspapers, and on the other hand, reveal humanity in places and times on which the world refuses to look closer at.

Her relationship with Hemingway started in Spain as clandestine love in the 1930s: Only a mile away from one of the fronts in the Spanish Civil War and always in danger of getting hit by shell attacks. Also, Hemingway was still married to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, and they had two sons. Hemingway and Gellhorn had lived in an on-and-off relationship until they married in 1940. But their marriage was overshadowed by Hemingway’s seek for domestication, which he soon became bored of, and Gellhorn’s wish to continue reporting of struggles all over the world. Finally, in 1945, after unsteady years of marriage, she said that she has enough and divorced. Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. Especially in the case of Ernest and Martha, it is exciting leaving the well-known paths of Hemingway and investigate the life and achievements of the woman who influenced his life and works.

Melanie


Recently, one of our students asked whether we could provide resources on the current legal rules for watching films in the classroom. Since our platform features a number of film suggestions and students easily engage with audio-visual material, we took this opportunity to navigate the muddy waters of screenings in schools in Germany.

There are uncontroversial cases of audio-visual content which teachers can show for educational purposes (no public advertising, no entrance fees) without issue according to both IPAU e.V., which represents the interests of the film industry, and German education authorities:

  • Using a DVD or stream with a special screening license (as available in Landesbildstellen and Medienzentren)
  • Working with selected scenes of up to 15% of any legal DVD or stream (cf. § 60a UrhG)
  • Showing expressly educational materials by public broadcasters (cf. § 47 UrhG)
  • Streaming documentaries provided with a special education license (cf. Netflix’s policy)
  • Using films and clips with a Creative Commons license
  • Attending a cinema screening
  • Holding a written permission of the copyright holder allowing a screening

Interest groups such as IPAU e.V. will often attempt to convince teachers that screening any off-the-shelf DVD or stream without a special licence is not permitted in classrooms at all. This is not entirely true, however, since German copyright law is generally understood to provide the option for non-public screenings (nicht-öffentlich). This adds the following option in addition to the above:

  • Using any legal DVD or stream as long as you are showing it to a particular group that regularly studies together (i.e. Klassen- or Kursverband in accordance with § 15 UrhG)

Any screening to students from more than one group (that regularly studies together) is not considered nicht-öffentlich any more and thus requires one of the more restrictive but uncontroversial options outlined above.

This outline is written up to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication, but it is not legally binding advice since we are not lawyers. Make sure you check the guidance provided by your education authority before you stream a video or show a film in your classroom.

Jonatan and Simon


“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” – Winnie the Pooh

Above are some very wise words from one of our most favourite bears of all time: Winnie the Pooh. And I know, Pooh and his friends loved having Picnics in the Hundred-Acre-Wood. As did I when I was quite a bit younger, maybe four or five. It was at this age when I got my favourite teddy bear up to this day and called him Puh-Sonnenbär. I imagined him to be a relative of Winnie the Pooh and I wouldn’t go far without him and my other favourite cuddly toy, they even had to come to the Samaria Gorge where they were carried by my poor father in the end. Also quite disastrous was the one time I thought it a good idea to take Puh-Sonnenbär into the pool with me (“The bear must sweat horribly with his thick fur”, I thought). I am sure, stories and memories like these are present in everyone’s mind and they are good ones. I guess many of you also had tea parties or picnics with your teddy bears or maybe also took them to more exciting adventures.

Here, I also want to present some of the loveliest bear stories I know. However, I am always open to suggestions!

  • Winnie the Pooh: The adventures of the beloved bear who loves honey and his friends before anything else in the world is perfect for enoucarging tolerance and understanding for the little perks of people.
  • Corduroy: This cute picture book may be for really young students but it still is a heartwarming story about a teddy bear and a little girl who find each other.
  • Paddington: The bear who taught us to always bring a marmalade sandwich in case one gets hungry also shows us a great deal of how to act and behave with others respectfully.

Upon all this, I almost feel like taking my Puh-Sonnenbär for a Picnic myself today and I think the beloved companion is a wonderful source for imagination and of course comfort.

Have a lovely Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day!

Sarah-Sophia


“We want hope, not racialism, Brotherhood, not ostracism, Black advance, not white ascendance: Make us equals, not dependants. […]” Oodgerou Noonuccal, “Aboriginal Carter of Rights” (1962)

In 1931 Doris Pilkington’s mother Molly Craig escaped with two other Aboriginal girls from the Moore River Native Settlement, an internment camp for Aboriginal children in Western Australia. Walking more than 2.400 km along the rabbit-proof fence, they finally returned to their families in Jigalong after nine weeks. Molly Craig told the story later to her child Doris, who wrote the biographical novel Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996) in reflection of the victims of Australia’s racist child removal policy. Her novel became a great success, was adapted by Phillip Noyce as a movie (2002) and is read in EFL classrooms all around the world. Stolen Generations describes the brutal act of removing mixed-descent children (e.g. with an Aboriginal mother and a European Australian father) from their communities. Under the guise of education, the children were taken to Christian missions and state agencies that believed in ‘converting half-casts’ disconnecting them from their cultural heritage. The report “Bringing Them Home” (1997) concluded that approximately 250,000 children were forcefully removed and separated from their families. On 13. February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a formal apology to the native people of Australia, known as the “Apology to Australia’s IndiIndigenousples” Doris Pilkington, like her mother, was one of these children. She was taken from her family by Australia’s Department of Native Affairs against her will to Moor River and later Roelands Native Mission. Aged 18, Doris was able to leave the camp, received training at a nursing school, later studied journalism at Curtin University and became an award-winning author.

Apart from Doris Pilkington’s novel, Lit4School offers the play Stolen by Jane Harrison and a collection of poetry by Oodgerou Noonuccal on similar topics. Also, these myths, legends and stories by James Vance Marshall provide an authentic insight into the Aboriginal storytelling culture.

Kind regards and stay safe,

Simon


Climate Solidarities

English · 6 July 2021

As you know, on Lit4School we aim to recommend literature and media relevant to current events, climate change being one of them! Therefore, the following project caught our eye: Climate Solidarities will offer five different workshops on Gather.town all about the various aspects of climate change. All workshops will be held in English and are suitable for students, adults and educators alike. In her presentation “Lit4School: Reading about and Discussing Current Affairs in the Classroom”, Sarah Clart will introduce ecocritical and socially engaged literature and media on our database.

Join the international youth congress CLIMATE SOLIDARITIES on the 15th and 16th of July 2021 during the Globe21 festival. Take a look at the trailer and register if you’re interested; admission is free!