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How to teach English Literature (in the English Classroom)


What is Literature? “Stories, poems and plays, especially those that are considered to have value as art and not just as entertainment” (Macmillan Dictionary)  A text where one of the six features of communication (message, sender, receiver, context, contact, code) loses its simplicity and becomes multiple, ambiguous (Robert Scholes, Semiotics and Interpretation) Activity: Is this Literature? 


What is English Literature? Literature written in the English language. Examples: William Shakespeare, England  Edgar Allan Poe, USA  James Joyce, Ireland  Joseph Conrad, Poland  Dylan Thomas, Wales  Robert L. Stevenson, Scotland  V.S. Naipul, Trinidad  Vladimir Nabokov, Russia 


Why teach literature in the ESL classroom? (1) 

Literature is authentic material where reading comprehension can be practiced (CEF Objectives, B1-on: “Reading for pleasure”) Literature expands language awareness (different types of language, from sophisticated to non-standard dialects) Literature encourages interaction (multiple layers of meaning, leads to discussion) and creativity (writing after reading) Narrative texts are better suited to children’s cognitive processes than other texts. We constract meaning by creating stories, so language acquisition and literature can go together from early ages.


Why teach literature in the ESL classroom? (2) 

Literature is motivating (sense of achievement at understanding a piece of respected literature) MULTICULTURAL COMPETENCE:  Literature is a good example of cultural referents: writers, literary texts  Literature raises awareness of other cultures CROSS-CURRICULAR VALUES:  Literature educates the whole person (examining values in literary texts leads to develop attitudes towards them)


Which approach to use? (1) 3 models: - Cultural model: literary text as a literary product. Source of information. More traditional. Movements, writers, genres. Teacher-centred. - Language model: Learner-centred. Readers increase their awareness and competence in the language. - Personal growth model: Learner-centred. It encourages learners to draw on their own opinions, feelings and personal experience (Readers’ Response Theory). It aims for interaction between the text and the reader. Power of literature to move people.


Which approach to use? (2) 

Inductive approach (from text to rules) vs. Deductive approach (from rules to text) Textual approach (from text to context) vs. Contextual approach (from context to text).


Which texts to use? (1) 1.- Look around: 

Target readers 

Age: Kindergarten/Primary/Lower Secondary/Upper Secondary Level of English: A1-A2-B1-B2

Teaching context: English Language Learning Class/English Literature Class Teaching Objectives: Literary/Linguistic/Crosscurricular (cultural, ethical values)


Which texts to use? (2) 2.- Choose the type of text - Poetry/Prose (Fiction/Non-fiction/Traditional story) - Complete text/Extract - Original text/Adapted text (written/ - story-telling/film/video/hypertext)


What to do with the text? 

Type of reading:  

Time span: class period/several periods/whole term/year Design activities:    

 

Inside the class/outside the class Intensive reading/extensive reading

Warm-up Pre-reading While reading After reading

Evaluate the activities after use LESSON PLAN

How to teach literature in the English Classroom  

How to teach literature in the English Classroom

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