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5 Lessons From Bob Dylan

Jag fick frågan av Elisabet Tegelberg, redaktör för Lingua, Språklärarnas riksförbunds tidning, om jag skulle kunna tänka mig att bidra med en artikel till nästa numret? 12000-15000 tecken (ca 2400-3000 ord)? Det var ju ett fint förtroende att få, och nu har jag äntligen börjat skriva. Titeln blir "5 Lessons From Bob Dylan". Det går givetvis inte för sig att släppa artikeln i förtid, och det kommer också att ta sin lilla tid att bli klar. Nedan följer dock ett utkast till inledningen samt uppslag till fyra av de fem dylanska lärdomarna, och då får vi se var vi hamnar till slut. Kallas väl work-in-progress. Den som läser Lingua får läsa resten, när väl det blir dags.


I never was a Dylan-man. Yet, having received a copy of his autobiography, Chronicles (2004), as a birthday present I eventually decided to give it a try during Christmas. A friend of mine who is indeed a connoisseur with regard to everything that is dylanish, has been giving me hints over the years, throwing in quotes in conversations, off-handedly mentioning a rare album he purchased the other day. Still, it never really made an impact on me. Time is limited, the amount of books and artists not so. However, when it was announced that Bob Dylan was to receive the Nobel Prize in literature my senses were seriously awakened – I am, after all, an English teacher. When moreover one of my students in year 3 recently revealed he has a playlist on Spotify with Dylan´s songs that is a mile long, while knowingly and confidently assuring me I would love the lyrics, given its richness of metaphorical language, I was beginning to get the message. Previous years (but far from every year, to be honest!) I have been giving a number of laureates a fair chance, among these Modiano what with his gloomy, rather endless and not so happy stories from Paris, and Tranströmer, with his short, yet extremely elaborated verse on the essence of life - now, I decided, I was going to be equally open to this year´s champion. Perhaps there could indeed be a new world waiting for me there? The metaphor thing tickled my curiosity.

Having now read Chronicles I am not surprised to learn that Dylan might well have embarked on a teacher´s career, had he not become an artist. Teachers come in many shapes and colours, and Dylan most likely would have proved to be a fine one. On top of that, I now believe we who are in the teaching profession can in fact learn a lot from his legacy. 

In this article. I will point out five things I believe we as teachers can learn from him. Assuming no position nor learnedness with regard to his musical production over the years, I will not be delving into deep interpretations of what Bob Dylan might really be saying. There will be no looking for hidden messages or psychoanalytical insights. Instead my reading will be at a rather basic level, taking his words at face value, allowing him to be as iconic as he is while not ascribing to him a role he never wished for, that of a Messiah. I suggest we just listen to him, trying to learn what may be learnt. 

So - for all it is worth - five lessons from Bob Dylan:
Och sedan följer fem avsnitt bland vilka dessa förmodligen kommer att utgöra två av dem:
  1. Humility – expressing admiration for and learning from - as well as cooperating with - others
  2. Crisis – a pathway to something new
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
Artikeln är färdigskriven och inlämnad till redaktören. Det blev "Three Lessons From Bob Dylan". 15500 tecken. Första underrubriken blev "Teaching as performing art". Vilka de övriga blev kommer att uppenbaras om någon månad.