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“Your Majesty, your son is unable to learn?”: A Study of the Notions of ‘Learning’ and ‘Teaching’ Inscribed in a Sample of Southern Folk Tales from Ancient Lanka

Author:

Lal Medawattegedara

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Lal
Department of Language Studies
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Abstract

Despite textual and other historical evidence pertaining to ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ in ancient Lanka is sparse scholars have focused their attention on such notions. However, there is rich evidence for ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ in ancient Lanka’s folktales which treat these concepts as ‘lived experiences’ of protagonists occupying imaginary worlds. Yet, there has been minimal scholarly attention paid to folktales. This paper focuses on those folktales with the objective of locating what such story-telling tells us about the way common folks perceived education. Using a folkloristic standpoint which views folk speech acts as being carriers of not only cultural embellishments but cultural predispositions, this study attempts to locate what the notions of ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ present in stories told by southern Lankans tell us about their deep-seated attitudes to/understandings of education. The study uses Henry Parker’s Ceylonese folktales as its sample and attempts to locate the enabling conditions that uphold the ideas of ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ to achieve its objectives.
How to Cite: Medawattegedara, L., 2019. “Your Majesty, your son is unable to learn?”: A Study of the Notions of ‘Learning’ and ‘Teaching’ Inscribed in a Sample of Southern Folk Tales from Ancient Lanka. OUSL Journal, 14(2), pp.57–73. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v14i2.7474
Published on 30 Dec 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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