In most English classes, a book is assigned to be read in a certain number of weeks, long lists of vocabulary words are thrown at the students, and tests are slammed onto the desks of the students who are probably about to fall asleep from staying up until 3AM in the morning to study for this said test. It’s a very standard, normal way of making sure that the students actually read the book but it’s not a great way for the us students to learn the material. So, when our teacher introduced the BRAWL to us, I was really hyped. Our assignment was to create three questions per group, in which our teacher would choose 10 questions that we’d have to research on. Then on a chosen day, two groups will go against to see who has the better argument and evidence. It’s somewhat like a debate, but a little shorter with more freedom for opinions from the audience.
For our BRAWL, my job was to focus on finding evidence to support our arguments. I wanted to connect as much of the novel to relatable things that people knew about, such as the current news or personal experiences. And judging from the reaction of the audience during the BRAWL, I feel that I did a solid job intertwining All Quiet on the Western Front with our lives. In doing this, I feel that people are able to grasp a better understanding of our arguments, even if they didn’t agree with us.
As I was searching for evidence, I was able to realize a few things that I wouldn’t have normally noticed if I only just read the book by itself. When I read the book, I was able to see that war was horrible and atrocious and ultimately a waste of lives. But I didn’t make a connection between the book and the real world until I saw how war affected our society. It kind of blew my mind. It’s one thing to see someone suffering inside a novel, but it’s another thing to realize that this suffering applies to the victims of war. It’s all coming together now and I feel the same sense of satisfaction when I finish a connect the dots activity.