Did you ever think as a kid that video games could be a useful teaching aid during school? Well, Poland seems to think so, as a government website is encouraging its high school teachers to teach This War of Mine to their students. It's being proposed as a "supplementary reading", with a free game download, informational brochure, scenario, and launch instructions provided for prospective teachers.
The launch instructions introduces the game and how it doesn't include a tutorial because "in a real war, nobody tells people what to do to survive." It then goes on to show teachers how to launch the game, choose the right version of the game, and how to launch the provided story. It's fairly basic, but there's still a lot of people who haven't played a video game before, as heretical as it may sound on here.
The informational brochure is 56 pages long and includes 6 chapters: a foreword, how to work a video game into a lesson, a polish language lesson scenario, a society lesson scenario, an ethics lesson scenario, and notes from the authors. The polish language lesson scenario compares the Diary of the Warsaw Uprising with the game. The society lesson uses This War of Mine as a springboard for discussion "about human rights in the realities of armed conflicts", which should hopefully be a great starting point for what could be a very useful lesson. The ethics lesson asks teachers to query their students on how video games as a medium could shape empathic attitudes. This is a good lesson base, as it's something we've seen for close to a century in movies and TV shows and thousands of years in performative arts. The interactive medium can help push these some, and it is very relevant in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The lesson scenario's topic is uniquely Polish, as it asks students about the reality of an occupied city in culture and pop culture through the Tadeusz Borowski's short story Pożegnanie z Marią and This War of Mine. Pożegnanie z Marią, or Farewall to Maria, is a short story showing the reality of an occupied Warsaw during WW2. Given that This War of Mine focuses on civilians surviving in an occupied city, Farewell to Maria seems like a great supplementary story to help make the game more relatable to students.
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