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Fan fiction Tasks in the Advanced Language Classroom

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This presentation builds upon work in media and fan studies to explore the use of fanfiction tasks as bridging activities for advanced language learners in a technology-enhanced university English as a foreign language class. Presented at TBLT 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.

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Fan fiction Tasks in the Advanced Language Classroom

  2. 2. Online Fandom “the local and international networks of fans that develop around a particular program, text or other media product” (Sauro, 2014, p. 239)
  3. 3. CALL in the Digital Wilds “informal language learning that takes places in digital spaces, communities, and networks that are independent of formal instructional contexts” (Sauro & Zourou, 2017, p. 186)
  4. 4. Online Fan Practices & Language Learning • Anime and manga consumption (Fukunaga, 2006) • Fan site web design (Lam, 2006; 2000) • Debating and moderating (Curwood, 2013) • Spoiling (Sauro, 2017) • Scanlation (Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2016; 2015) • Fanfiction (Black, 2006; Lepännen, et al, 2009)
  5. 5. Fanfiction "writing that continues, interrupts, reimagines, or just riffs on stories and characters other people have already written about." (Jamison, 2013 p. 17)
  6. 6. Bridging Activities Pedagogical activities that incorporate student- selected texts and provide “vivid, context-situated, and temporarily immediate interaction with ‘living’ language use” (Thorne & Reinhard, 2008, p. 562).
  7. 7. The Course • Teaching English literature course in a Swedish University secondary school English teacher education program • Emphasis on bridging literary competence and language development • B2-C1 level • Cohort 2013 (n=55), 12 stories • Cohort 2014 (n= 80), 19 stories • Cohort 2015 (n=68), 16 stories
  8. 8. The Blogging Hobbit Blog-Based Collaborative Role-play
  9. 9. Task modeled on Harry Potter role-play 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)
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. “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) (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016, p. 420)
  12. 12. “[a]fter a short while, the writing became very fluent and I did not have to think too hard before writing” (Student 40) (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016, p. 421)
  13. 13. 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)
  14. 14. Learner Fanfiction (172,911) • N=31 stories produced by Cohorts 2013 & 2014 • 2000-16000 words each • Rated Teen • Gen • Canon compliant Ao3 Fanfiction (92,760) • N=18 stories posted Dec 1 2013 – Jan 31, 2015 • 2000-16000 words each • Rated Teen • Gen (no het or slash) • Not alternate universe or other sub-genres
  15. 15. Top 10 Content Lexemes in Classroom Fanfiction Top 10 Content Lexemes in Online Fanfiction Thorin Bilbo Gandalf Dwarves Say Kili Time Fili Think Bombur Thorin Kili Bilbo Say Thranduil Eyes Time Head Fili Brother
  16. 16. Keywords Third Person Plural Pronouns: we, our, us Character Names: Gandalf, Beorn, Balin, Elrond, Gollum, Dori, Bombur, Bilbo Species: dwarves, goblins, wizard, elves
  17. 17. Negative Keywords Third person singular pronouns: she, her, his, him Kinship terms: son, sister, mother, brother, uncle Character names: Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel, Bifur Contracted forms: d, s, re, t
  18. 18. “…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 (Cohort 2014)
  19. 19. A Study in Sherlock CollaborativeCasefic
  20. 20. A Study in Sherlock 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). 3. Instructions available in PDF here
  21. 21. Swapping & Bending Fusion & Alternate Universe
  22. 22. The Fanfiction (Cohort 2015) • 16 completed casefics (avg. 5726 words) – 10 published to private blogs – 6 published to the fanfiction archives Ao3 and Fanfiction.net
  23. 23. “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, Cohort 2015)
  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. Reception in Fandom • A Study in the Electric Field – no data • The Morbid Poet – 71 hits, 2 kudos • The Second Generation Detective – 98 hits, 6 kudos • The Adventure of the Ghost of Torchwood Manor – 88 hits, 2 kudos • A Murder in Ink – 90 hits, 2 kudos • A Soon to be Royal Scandal – 209 hits, 3 kudos, 2 bookmarks
  26. 26. Acknowledgements Sherlock Graphics Fox Estacado of The Art of Fox Estacado: Fine Fan Art and Geekery (artbyfox.storenvy.com). All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. @shansauro | ssauro.info| shannon.sauro@mah.se | slideshare.net/Shansauro/