The Quest S/hero

Graffiti generator, Totally Pimped Out

Benedetti[1] once read something similar on a wall in Quito. You know the feeling, don’t you? Multilingualism, newcomers… Isn’t this, teaching by means of a foreign language I mean, an endless quest[2]?

“the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel especially over a body of water. Travel also allows the storyteller to showcase exotic locations and cultures.”

In fact, language teachers are no longer OOOONLY language teachers and subject teachers are AAAALSO language teachers. Coping with so many things at a time definitely means a huge exertion for us. We are well used to overcoming obstacles: lack of initial training, rigid classroom layouts and timetables, anachronisms, dramatic differences among seminar members, diverse interests (or none), multiple intelligences and the 1001 levels among students. We are also surfers keeping a delicate balance between competences and evaluation, concepts and skills in such a way that we are seldom certain about not drowning. We visit exotic locations and cultures on a daily basis as our school is no longer enclosed in a building and is located in downtown Global Village[3]. The whole experience is as demanding as rewarding.

The only problem with the definition comes with the shero: we can hardly see ourselves as Penelope or Sir Gallahad, can we? Keep your shirt on, here is the good news: Auden[4] brings out that the hero can also be:

“(…) The youngest son, the weakest, the least clever, the one whom everybody would judge as least likely to succeed, turns out to be the hero (…).”

… and adds,

“He owes his success, not to his own powers, but to the fairies, magicians, and animals who help him.”

Hidden behind acronyms, the fantastic creatures which assist us are, among others, CLIL (integrated, just as in real life!), SIOP (hurray! a systematic protocol), INEBI and BHINEBI (foretelling our present curriculum), TKT CLIL (evaluating, i.e. making our job valuable), SMUR (Self Made Up Resources)… and

Tune by diversitune

About the shero’s expertise to handle all of them and her/his attitude towards collaboration, Auden states:

“and he is able to enlist their help because (…) he is humble enough to take advice, and kind enough to give assistance to strangers who, like himself, appear to be nobody in particular.”

And, as if he were thinking of the LLP (Lifelong Learning Programme) while writing about the hero, he reckons:

“He can neither repeat the past exactly —every moment is unique—nor leave it behind—at every moment he adds to and thereby modifies all that has previously happened to him.”

So, provided this is a quest and if we are the sheroes, shall we keep on asking new questions and looking for bold answers? Design your own quest-ionnaire.

Ibone Amorrortu


[1] BENEDETTI, Mario: Poesía con los jovenes. Madrid, Visor, 1997. (Audio CD).
[2] “Quest” in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Last modified, 21 Mar. 2010. Retrieved, 1 May 2010.
[3] McLUHAN, Marshall: The Gutenberg Galaxy. Toronto, UT Press, 1962.
[4] AUDEN, W.H.: “The Quest Hero” in ISAAC & ZIMBARDO: Tolkien and the Critics. Notre Dame, UND Press, 1969.

Una respuesta a “The Quest S/hero

  1. Let the shero not come close to zero! Great article: I love digression!


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