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Fanfiction and Language Learning


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Slides for the workshop "A Study in Sherlock & The Blogging Hobbit: Bringing Fanfiction to the English Classroom" at Katedralskolan, Lund.

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Fanfiction and Language Learning

  1. 1. FANFICTION AND LANGUAGE LEARNING Shannon Sauro Malmö University
  2. 2. 1. Do you know how your pupils use English for fun (outside of school)? Does this help them develop their English in some way? 2. What are your pupils fans of? What are you a fan of? 3. Have you ever read or written fanfiction?
  3. 3. “…’fan’ is actually a much wider social category, referring to a mode of participation with a long history in a variety of cultural activities, including literature, sports, theater, film, and television.” (Cavicci, 1998 p. 3)
  4. 4. “A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional conviction about someone or something famous...” (Duffet, 2013, p. 18)
  5. 5. Online Fandom “the local and international networks of fans that develop around a particular program, text or other media product” (Sauro, 2014, p. 239)
  6. 6. Fanfiction "writing that continues, interrupts, reimagines, or just riffs on stories and characters other people have already written about." (Jamison, 2013 p. 17)
  7. 7. Fanfiction and Language Learning • Case studies of teen learners’ use of fanfiction in anime fandoms to transition from novice writer in English to successful writer (Black, 2006) • Bilingual fanfiction writing practices of young Finnish fans of American television shows to index multilingualism and global citizenship (Lepännen, et al, 2009) • Youth writing of self-insert fanfiction to confront and examine social issues in their local context (Lepännen, 2008)
  8. 8. The Blogging Hobbit A Study in Sherlock
  9. 9. The Blogging Hobbit Blog-Based Collaborative Role-play
  10. 10. Inspiration for task and technology and model from the Harry Potter role play fanfic community, Darkness Rising, on LiveJournal. • Communal Blog • Individual players/writers participated using blogs made for their character • Stories begin with a prompt or background in a post. • The story evolves in nested comments (Sauro, 2014)
  11. 11. A collaborative story of a missing moment from Tolkien’s The Hobbit: Task 1: Story outline and map Task 2: Collaborative roleplay fanfiction - each group member to write from the perspective of one character from The Hobbit Task 3: Reflective paper Detailed instructions available as a PDF here.
  12. 12. “this writing activity has influenced my language skills…. During this project I have been able to expand my repertoar [sic] of English words which are not so commonly used in everyday English anymore.” (Student 14, Cohort 2013)
  13. 13. “[a]fter a short while, the writing became very fluent and I did not have to think too hard before writing” (Student 40, Cohort 2013)
  14. 14. It is lying still, yet it spins around It tries to move but its body is bound All because of the precious it stole Fool us again and they eats it whole. (from The Mirkwood Mysteries)
  15. 15. “…I would choose another book. I felt it unfair to work with The Hobbit on such a project since a big part was to connect with a character from the book and write from that perspective. To choose a book with absolutely no women at all made me not wanting to take neither Tolkien nor this assignment to heart.” (Nonfan, Cohort 2014)
  16. 16. “…fanfics that get really popular, they kind of answer to some kind of fantasy that people have about the characters. Or something they really want to explore or they create an alternate universe … We didn’t have anything like that, really. I mean, I think ours was very, kind of, very much like the book it a way, so maybe it wasn’t as exciting as some other fanfiction because it wasn’t innovating in that way…” B, Dream Team Interview (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016)
  17. 17. A Study in Sherlock CollaborativeCasefic
  18. 18. Casefic Collaborative mystery writing 1. Retell a Sherlock Holmes mystery or tell an original mystery but in an alternate universe. 2. Tell an original Sherlock Holmes mystery in the original context (Victorian London) OR an alternate universe. Instructions available in PDF here
  19. 19. Swapping & Bending
  20. 20. Fusion & Alternate Universe
  21. 21. Example Fanfic Readings The Beleaguered Red-Head by moonblossom - Retelling of The Red- Headed League in the BBC Sherlock Universe The Adventure of the Bridegroom’s Photograph by spacemutineer Original casefic based on a real life mystery – ACD Holmes The Vast Profundity Obscure by mistyzeo - Original casefic - ACD Holmes/His Dark Materials fusion
  22. 22. In Class Fanfiction Workshops
  23. 23. A slice of moldy pizza
  24. 24. “…my interest in Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes world is still at an intermediate level…. On the other hand, my knowledge of the Scooby Doo universe is far greater and I could enter that verse much easier than the universe of Sherlock Holmes. As a child I loved the characters of the Mystery Gang and therefore I really enjoyed this task.” (Student 18, Cohort 2015)
  25. 25. “…instead of saying “he said”, we and Doyle instead used “said he”. Second, we and Doyle often, from Watson’s perspective, referred to Sherlock Holmes as “my colleague”, and from Sherlock’s perspective referring to Watson as “my friend”. Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes often said “pray” instead of “please”, and “I fancy” instead of “I believe”, which we also used in our fanfiction. “ (Student 16, Cohort 2015)
  26. 26. “First off, I am highly Americanized in my English use, and I blame Hollywood. It has been a welcomed challenge to write in British. My biggest inspiration has once again been the BBC show.…I truly enjoyed using the word ‘foggiest’ in a text, and it is now a part of my vocabulary. My American is being invaded, ‘the British are coming!’” (Student 54)
  28. 28. Workshop In this workshop, you will work in small groups on one of two options: 1. Fanfiction 2. Threaded Games Both will require you to go online. As you explore the fansites listed, take notes on the accompanying handout and prepare to present your findings and ideas to the rest of the class.
  29. 29. References Black, R.W. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-learning, 3, 180–184. Cavicci, D. (1998). Tramps like us: Music and meaning among Springsteen fans. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. New York/London: Bloomsbury. Jamison, A. (2013). ‘Why Fic?’ in A. Jamison (ed.). Fic: Why fanfiction is taking over the world. Dallas, TX: Smart Pop Books. Lepännen, S. (2008). Cybergirls in trouble? Fan fiction as a discursive space for interrogating gender and sexuality. In C.R. Caldas-Coulthard and R. Iedema (Eds.). Identity trouble: Critical discourse and contested identities, (pp. 156-179). Houdsmills, UK: Pallgrave Macmillan. Lepännen, S., Pitkänen-Huhta, A., Piirainen-Marsch, A., Nikula, T., & Peuronen, S. (2009). Young people’s translocal new media uses: A multiperspective analysis of language choice and hetero-glossia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, 1080–1107. Paran, A. (2008). The role of literature in instructed foreign language learning and teaching: An evidence-based survey. Language Teaching 41(4), 465-496. Sauro, S. (2014). Lessons from the fandom: Task models for technology-enhanced language learning. In M. González- Lloret & L. Ortega (Eds). Technology-mediated TBLT: Researching technology and tasks, (pp. 239-262). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Sauro, S., & Sundmark, B. (2016,) Report from Middle Earth: Fanfiction tasks in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 70(4), 414-423 . doi: 10.1093/elt/ccv075 @shansauro ||