Redeeming the Wolf: Educational Pack

In the company of wolves

Following our collaboration with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, we have developed wolf educational packs for sixth formers. Our approach has developed out of our Being Human Festival event ‘Redeeming the Wolf’ (2017) where we used flash cards to initiate a three-word challenge and to measure the audience’s perceptions of the wolf before and after our activities. We previously explored the representation of monstrous wolves, werewolves and wolf children in our innovative conference, Company of Wolves in 2015. Our research has since been published in the edited collection In the Company of Wolves: Wolves, Werewolves and Wild Children (MUP, 2020).

Our packs have been used by 16 sixth forms to date, in workshops facilitated by Dr Sam George and Dr Kaja Franck. Dr Sam George is Associate Professor of Research at the University of Hertfordshire. She specialises in the Gothic and in Literature and Folklore, including the representation of wolf children. Dr Kaja Franck is a Visiting Lecturer and Gothic scholar who holds a doctorate in the representation of the literary werewolf. The packs are now available online here for the first time so that tutors can hold their own sessions. The running time is 90 minutes. The object of these packs is to encourage students to think about literature’s role in shaping our perception of the wolf, to question why wolves are demonised in our culture and to learn new tales about wolves and benevolent wolf myths to prepare for their return.

The packs are also developed as a taster session to show sixth formers what it is like to study literature at university. Our aim is to demonstrate that literature is a living subject that feeds into current concerns such as extinction, climate change, otherness, and so on. The session is comprised of a workshop, two mini-lectures, and a seminar, with interactive tasks, to demonstrate how the teaching of literature is delivered in universities. Three short stories are provided to be read by students. These stories have been researched and chosen carefully to show three different representations of the wolf and the stereotypes that have emerged so that these can be challenged in the twenty-first century.

The pack has been put on line as a password-protected subsection of the OGOM website so that other institutions both nationwide and internationally can be encouraged to make use of them. To access this pack, you must first log in or join us as a member if you are not yet registered.

Pack contents:

Session 1: Big Bad Wolf Workshop – Pack Part 1

Workshop: 30 minutes.

Aim: students engage with studying literature at university and gain an understanding of how literature can influence and inform humanity’s relationship with the natural world.

Text: Perrault, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (1697)

Task: close reading.

Feedback: in response to the story students choose three words to describe the wolf and write them up on postcards.

Slides on wolf words and the persecution of the wolf

Text: ‘The Boy and the Wolves, or The Broken Promise’ (1894)

Task: close reading

Students turn over their postcards and write their final three words on the wolf. The groups then give feedback on their responses with the help of tutors.

Big Bad Wolf: Interactive tasks on how folk & fairy tales have shaped our understanding of the natural world

Session 2: Lectures – Monstrous Werewolves and Benevolent She-WolvesPack Part 2

Running time: 30 minutes.

2 * 15 minute (or less) lectures: ‘Raised by Wolves’ presented by Dr Sam George; ‘The Monstrosity of Werewolves’ presented by Dr Kaja Franck

Task: Listening – students to respond to the lecture; note taking is encouraged to help in the final session.

Study Questions: How do narratives of werewolves and children raised by wolves impact on the representation the wolf and its relationship to humanity? What image/text did you find most effective in changing your opinion of the wolf and why?

Monstrous Werewolves and Benevolent She-wolves: Exploring literary representations of the wolf

Session 3: Seminar: Redeeming the WolfPack Part 3

Running time: 30 minutes.

Aim: To understand whether literature can positively and negatively impact on the depiction of wolves.

Text: Bernard Capes, ‘The Thing in the Forest’ (1915)

Task: Group Task (3-5 max) – groups to read the texts and then discuss how it differs from the previous readings.

Feedback: each group will write a short statement on how reading these wolf narratives (‘Red Riding Hood’, ‘The Broken Promise’, ‘The Thing in the Forest’) has impacted on or changed their understanding of the wolf. 

This section has further information on OGOM and the UK Wolf Trust and suggestions on how students can get involved in environmental issues around conservation and extinction.

Redeeming the Wolf and Preparing for its Return


Thank you for participating! To take further part in our project and help us continue, please could you download the questionnaire form for each student and upload their responses, then fill in the teacher feedback form. The most interesting responses will be posted on the website so that students can see their involvement in the project.

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