Pupils working in groups study the Maclise painting without being told its title or any explanation of its origin, nor the purported event it illustrates. They have five minutes to compose an agreed account of the story the painting tells and whenabout it may have been painted. After five minutes, the groups share their ideas.
Suggested Classroom Activity cont...
Video 1. ‘Victorian Saxons’
The class is then shown ‘Victorian Saxons’ following which they have a brief discussion about which group came closest to guessing correctly and why the most common guess is likely to be that it is about an Arthurian theme.
The class is shown the above extract from Dickens ‘a child’s History of Engalnd’ about King Alfred and the Cakes and asked to plan and execute an evaluation of its historicity using internet searches.
Either as an individual homework, group work in class, or group homework using a learning platform wiki if avail- able, pupils are given a copy of Kipling’s ‘Dane-geld’ poem and asked to use the internet to track down examples of the Dangeld incident being used by politicians in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The classic book on Victorian Alfredism is Dr Joanne Parker’s ‘England’s Darling: The Victorian Cult of Alfred the Great’ ISBN-10: 071907356’. Her excellent essay ‘The Dragon and the Raven: Saxons, Danes and the Problem of Defining National Character in Victorian England’ is freely downloadable as a doc file from the foot of the page at http://hdl.handle.net/10036/4162 .
Full text of Dickens’ ‘A Child’s History of England’ is available in most formats from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/699 or as an easy online read from https://archive.org/stream/childshistoryofe01dickrich#page/n7/mode/2up (the passage about Alfred’s spying effort is on page 30 and the first British Bake-off Disaster starts on page 28).