The High School English Classroom and HALO

Quick Introduction

  1. I have been a halo fanboy ever since the beginning. I got the original Xbox specifically for the first game, and I have gotten each game since (yes, even the shameless milking-the-cash-cow remake of the original…which I loved). Watching the Halo Universe expand and become what it is today has been an absolute pleasure.

  2. I’m also studying to be a High School English Teacher, and come this spring I will be entering the rigors of student teaching - that odd in-between where I have to teach a class that isn’t necessarily mine.

-Why Am I Telling You This?
I have a firm belief that students in High School English Classrooms across America can learn a lot through the HALO Universe. There are so many literary elements within the games and the books that it makes my head spin - especially HALO 4 with its beautifully crafted tension regarding Spartan 117/John and his humanity. I also think HALO will capture many of my student’s imaginations and writing ability in ways that traditional literature won’t.

My Question To You
-If you had the chance to involve aspects of the HALO Universe in a classroom what would you do and how would you do it? Would you focus on certain themes? What could thy write about? Remember, the objective is not to teach kids about HALO, it’s to teach kids how to think critically and write imaginatively through the lens of HALO.

Ex: Students will discuss whether Masterchief is more man than machine or vice versa. Or Students demonstrate what parts of the narrative structure are in HALO.

Here are some prompts for your responses
-Students will write about…
-Students will discuss…
-Students will analyze…

Feel Free to include details on how to run the class if your feeling saucy

Wish you were one of my teachers.

Could be used to demonstrate usage of vocab and literary devices and such.

All I know is my high school English teacher used to play Halo 2 with us, until the administration put the kebash on that. My brother is in his class now and he denied playing with us 6 years ago…so I txt my brother a pic of historical stats found on bungie.net. He finally admitted and told of how the admin shut him down.

That would be interesting to bring some of the aspects into a English classroom.

But you need to think of it this way. In order to understand Halo, you need to play it. Not every kid would be able to play it to fully get the gist of the game. Sure you can read it and the like but you won’t understand most of it unless you delve it that close.

Halo and John would get a better reaction then Macbeth or Hamlet sure, but at the same time you’ll have plenty of kids who’d feel as if it’s being forced to read into the universe. You don’t do that when it comes to games such as this. (Not to mention think of the CoD fanboys getting angry xD )

For an English class I don’t see this being a good idea. Psychology would bring a good amount of topics for John and Halsey though. Heck, even art and the like. I had a art class in high school where for one semester we delved into storytelling and mapping. Halo would have been a good choice to look into for in depth looks.

With English you look more at the actual books, articles and the like. If you delve into Halo via English classes you’d lose that very aspect of the class. Then again this is coming from a girl who excelled in English and loved her plays, canterbury tales, and the like.

Hmmm, I like your points about getting into the psychology of Dr. Halsey - she’s such an interesting character. But I think you might have a narrower view of what goes on in an English Language Arts classroom than I do.

Remember, my job isn’t to get kids to “learn literature,” nor is it my job to teach kids about HALO. My job is to get kids to use texts to apply critical thinking skills. I need them to read texts and get an understanding that is deeper than the surface. Then, perhaps I want them to write about it. Think of HALO simply as a tool I use to achieve my goals for my class.

For example, maybe I ask kids to examine the relationship between Dr. Halsey and Chief through questions such as “what does the author want us to feel about the two characters relationship?” This type of question forces students to think and take a stance. It could be used for any text, but in this case, it’s applied through the lens of HALO.

Why HALO? Cause I love it, and many high schoolers love it as well, and it may be an effective way to engage them. And I believe people should examine all types of text - including movies and video games - at a high level to fully appreciate them.

Well, I think you have to address the fact that, because this is- on the surface- a good ol’ shoot’em up, a lot of kids would instantly question its credibility as a tool to get them to think creatively. If I’m a kid sitting in the room and my crazy teacher enthusiastically presented the idea that some game is really super deep and interesting, I’d assume you were an idiot. You’d have to present it in a way that doesn’t make you look like a dopey fanatic. Even kids that do play Halo aren’t necessarily invested in the story, so you’d also have to get them on board.
That said, I can’t imagine that any sci-fi/fantasy readers in the room would gripe too much at having to read it. At the same time however, (And this is obviously a stereotype), there are probably a lot of girls who would immediately be turned off by the military aspect of the series.

Well, this may perhaps be a solution: make it as a end of the year project, or use this idea whenever a new Halo game launches. That’ll perhaps rile the students to get motivated. However, as a general, all day learning tool, I don’t think that it will be appealing to some students, yet I am viewing this on both sides: it is wonderful to implement a student with a particular game they love (Halo, for instance) and develop a strong, active sense, and give tribute to the Halo universe.

Yet, I believe that there should be a balance between education and fun, and this may be a little bit risky. That’ll consist of a lot of scrutiny to make sure that the students are learning and not procrastinating. However, the students might not oppose this but the administration will. They are $$ hungry bigots who view children as profit and may view your idea as a ‘distraction’ to the students education in their working field and that requires a lot of convincing to make it happen.

However, it’s not impossible, since now that universities are using best-selling games (e.g. Skyrim) for literature and other courses, so I do not necessarily see this as a problem, but be ready to explain why. You can use it as a learning tool too, except that figuring out how to express that is the problem.

Actually, no h8t, but how exactly are you going to fund for about 200 students for one novel? Unless the school approves it, it’ll be very difficult, or you could purchase over 25+ books for the class alone and teach that way. All in all, plan it first, gather it collectively as a class (for ideas), take notes on what can be added or removed and then talk with the admins. As long as you aren’t quizzing them about where the humans live in the galaxy or tract away from a group learning assignment into a self worksheet packet that’ll become ‘too much’ for them to handle and procrastinate instead, you’re cool.

Also, compare and contrast it with other stories as well; I don’t think that everyone can pronounce ancilla or define reconciliation, but you’ll figure that out in time. I also agree with the last post above me as well.

Oh yeah, by the way, welcome to Waypoint!

DinoRob, thanks for the welcome. I would never intend to use HALO as an everyday teaching tool. It would be part of a science fiction unit, or perhaps an option to use for a project analyzing texts rarely scene in a classroom. I’m simply looking for themes and ideas that students could delve into and engage with. I would never care if they could tell the difference between a Sangheli and a Jackal.

I simply care about ways to get kids excited about thinking about the complex ideas that surround us in everyday life, and I believe Halo contains many of these questions - such as does the end justify the means? (The Spartan II Project) and what makes a human a person? (Masterchief - man or robot)

I’m just curious what pieces of the Halo universe the community thinks kids could examine and relate to real life.

Coming from a 9th Grade Honors Literature student, I’m just saying what I’D like to analyze from the view of a student. Halsey’s choice for kidnapping the Spartan-II’s. (Was it worth it?) Why did the Prophets make humanity an enemy? (Give the reasoning behind it; questioning their power and authority, possibly persuading them their beliefs were wrong, as it would cripple their Covenant, etc.) See what I mean? You could give a fair amount of backstory to all of this, or perhaps even convey the story in different context. I’d happily brainstorm ideas for you. Honestly, I wish my Lit. teacher would teach this kind of stuff. (He’s pretty awesome as it is, though.)

Thanks for the questions man. Really appreciate it - especially the ones that deal with the prophet’s point of view. I had completely forgotten about those guys.

> Thanks for the questions man. Really appreciate it - especially the ones that deal with the prophet’s point of view. I had completely forgotten about those guys.

No problem, I’ll brainstorm tomorrow and see if I can hop on the computer to give you what I think of.

> Quick Introduction
> 1. I have been a halo fanboy ever since the beginning. I got the original Xbox specifically for the first game, and I have gotten each game since (yes, even the shameless milking-the-cash-cow remake of the original…which I loved). Watching the Halo Universe expand and become what it is today has been an absolute pleasure.
>
> 2. I’m also studying to be a High School English Teacher, and come this spring I will be entering the rigors of student teaching - that odd in-between where I have to teach a class that isn’t necessarily mine.
>
> -Why Am I Telling You This?
> I have a firm belief that students in High School English Classrooms across America can learn a lot through the HALO Universe. There are so many literary elements within the games and the books that it makes my head spin - especially HALO 4 with its beautifully crafted tension regarding Spartan 117/John and his humanity. I also think HALO will capture many of my student’s imaginations and writing ability in ways that traditional literature won’t.
>
> My Question To You
> -If you had the chance to involve aspects of the HALO Universe in a classroom what would you do and how would you do it? Would you focus on certain themes? What could thy write about? Remember, the objective is not to teach kids about HALO, it’s to teach kids how to think critically and write imaginatively through the lens of HALO.
>
> Ex: Students will discuss whether Masterchief is more man than machine or vice versa. Or Students demonstrate what parts of the narrative structure are in HALO.
>
> Here are some prompts for your responses
> -Students will write about…
> -Students will discuss…
> -Students will analyze…
>
> Feel Free to include details on how to run the class if your feeling saucy

You could probably learn a lot more from Halo than you can from school these days. Make sure your students get to read the books and do reviews based on them. Perhaps you should even have your students look for literary devices in other games too.

The story of Bornsteller Makes Eternal Lasting evokes the concept of the Hero Journey, so you could tie it in with lessons on the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and plenty of other stories.

The Hero Journey chart: Here.

Bornsteller has a Call to Adventure in the pursuit of Precursor artifacts.

Bornsteller receives Supernatural Aid in the form of Chakas and Risers geas as they unlock the Didact’s Cryptum.

The Didact serves as the Mentor of Bornsteller.

Bornsteller goes through several Challenges as he looks at the true nature of his people and the ideas he has known throughout his life are destroyed before him.

The Return from the Abysses and Transformation occur when he receives the Brevet Mutation from the Didact and essentially becoming him and Returning to his people to fight the Flood.

The Librarian also plays the role of the Goddess found throughout epics.

This is the way modern teachers should do things IMO. English is one of those subject that is extremely important but that almost no student takes seriously. Books like Huckleberry Finn or Of Mice & Men are exceptional pieces of literature, but it baffles me that educators somehow expect children and teens to understand what the author is trying to convey beyond what is written on the pages, let alone appreciate and enjoy the art and creativity of the storytelling.

I think that students should be introduced to these difficult concepts of English (and really any) literature through things which they find familiar, interesting, and relateable. Students will want to learn about things that they already know that they enjoy and find interesting, and will find the subject easier and more fun as a result. Students will be able to learn complicated concepts more quickly, because they have already been exposed to examples of these concepts, they will be able to recall the information more easily because they are able to associate it to something which they are already very familiar with. This way, students can understand English literature more easily because they can make connections like “Ralph and Piggy doing such-and-such in Lord of the Flies is kind of like when Master Chief and the Arbiter did such-and-such in Halo 3, because…” and so on.

And the benefits of this will go beyond English literature. It can help students realize how things seen in English literature are seen in all sorts of modern media, from TV to movies to video games. It can make students inspired to write their own stories by making them realize that they can write whatever kinds of stories they want rather than just stories like the ones they typically read in school. In can expose non-gamers to try games like Halo that never would’ve otherwise, it can inspire gamers to pursue careers in writing, and it can inspire writers to pursue careers in gaming. It opes up a whole world of possibilities and benefits to students.

My advice to you OP, though, is to not just focus solely on Halo and what you like. Talk about other video games or movies or TV shows as well. This way you can not only connect with the Halo fans and the gamers, but to all of your students.

> DinoRob, thanks for the welcome. I would never intend to use HALO as an everyday teaching tool. It would be part of a science fiction unit, or perhaps an option to use for a project analyzing texts rarely scene in a classroom. I’m simply looking for themes and ideas that students could delve into and engage with. I would never care if they could tell the difference between a Sangheli and a Jackal.
>
> <mark>I simply care about ways to get kids excited about thinking about the complex ideas that surround us in everyday life, and I believe Halo contains many of these questions</mark> - such as does the end justify the means? (The Spartan II Project) and what makes a human a person? (Masterchief - man or robot)
>
> I’m just curious what pieces of the Halo universe the community thinks kids could examine and relate to real life.

Sounds good to me :)(applause)

I do believe that there is literature put into good use and philosophies to share with. What you told me seems to be brilliant,its just outside the class may be the spoiled bean in the bag, such as other teachers, the administration, and the commissions. But I am speaking beyond my head. You seem to have a plan to utilize a video game franchise into an educational experience.I say go for it.

It would also be interesting to bring a short topic about the Flood.

this sounds like a good idea (and i would love if my teachers did this) But it is a game rated for people 17+ there would be a -Yoink- storm about teachers useing it. that being said, Halo would sure beat the hell out of reading The catcher in the rye. Slightly of topic but a few topics ago i stumbled apon a great poem a student did in class about the chief, so it should work if you can make it past the -Yoink- storm of pissy parents( a teacher wasnt aloud to show a weegee boured in class at my school because perents -Yoinked!- about it)

Hmmm, making a poem about a video game character seems like a pretty sweet idea to me. Especially if it were tied in with great epics like Beowulf and the Odyssey. Kids could write their own epics based off the larger-than-life characters they have come to know and love in their video games.

I also think really like introducing short stories from the Halo Universe. Some of them are excellent examples of horror (i.e. anything written about the flood) and I think many kids would do well to ponder on the moral implications of the SPARTAN II Program.

Also, thanks for the suggestions gents, keep em coming.

Wish I had a teacher like you.

But anyways, some strong scenes in Halo 2 were where the story really got to me with the great schism. When Tartarus betrays Arbiter, then how Tartarus is blinded by the prophet’s lies and refuses to trust Arbiter was great.

How relationships are shaped such as the elites siding with humans, Gravemind making short truces but only just to stab the alliance in the back after.

Responsibility, such as Chief taking care of Cortana, the whole forerunner-human war with how the Didact and Librarian views things, especially the Mantle.

Plot twists for story elements, such as the Halo’s being a last resort against the Flood.

Students will analyze and discover as to how and why these events occur, they will discuss, even debate about the subject if it were the right or wrong or how it influenced others in the universe to make an event occur. For writing, have an Essay topic regarding a theme or scenario in the fiction, they can even write short stories or even some poems - https://forums.halowaypoint.com/yaf_postst152594_Poem-for-English--The-Green-Armored-Man.aspx

> Quick Introduction
> 1. I have been a halo fanboy ever since the beginning. I got the original Xbox specifically for the first game, and I have gotten each game since (yes, even the shameless milking-the-cash-cow remake of the original…which I loved). Watching the Halo Universe expand and become what it is today has been an absolute pleasure.
>
> 2. I’m also studying to be a High School English Teacher, and come this spring I will be entering the rigors of student teaching - that odd in-between where I have to teach a class that isn’t necessarily mine.
>
> -Why Am I Telling You This?
> I have a firm belief that students in High School English Classrooms across America can learn a lot through the HALO Universe. There are so many literary elements within the games and the books that it makes my head spin - especially HALO 4 with its beautifully crafted tension regarding Spartan 117/John and his humanity. I also think HALO will capture many of my student’s imaginations and writing ability in ways that traditional literature won’t.
>
> My Question To You
> -If you had the chance to involve aspects of the HALO Universe in a classroom what would you do and how would you do it? Would you focus on certain themes? What could thy write about? Remember, the objective is not to teach kids about HALO, it’s to teach kids how to think critically and write imaginatively through the lens of HALO.
>
> Ex: Students will discuss whether Masterchief is more man than machine or vice versa. Or Students demonstrate what parts of the narrative structure are in HALO.
>
> Here are some prompts for your responses
> -Students will write about…
> -Students will discuss…
> -Students will analyze…
>
> Feel Free to include details on how to run the class if your feeling saucy

A Spartan teacher, I feel so honored already to be privileged in replying to this.