The Use of Literary Texts in Secondary Classes

Tags: literary texts, literature, teachers, silent film, foreign language, activities, teachers and students, worksheet, reading literature, S. Literature, G. Literature, reading centre, Thomas Ricketts, Chapter IV, Ebenezer Scrooge, speaking and listening skills Students, environmental group, A. Literature, lesson plan, students interest, English language learning, listening activities, Reading Students, extensive reading, Jeremy Harmer, Stephen Krashen, intensive reading, secondary teachers, literary text, English lessons, reading results, Productive skills, English lesson
Content: MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO FACULTY OF EDUCATION Department of the English Language and Literature The Use of Literary Texts in Secondary Classes Diploma thesis Brno 2008
Supervisor: Mgr. Nadzda Vojtkovб
Written by: Kateina Bielikovб 1
Acknowledgments: My sincere thanks to Mgr. Nadzda Vojtkovб for her kind help, comments, views and valuable advice that she provided me through the work as my supervisor. 2
Prohlбsenн: ,,Prohlasuji, ze jsem diplomovou prбci zpracovala samostatn a pouzila jen prameny uvedenй v seznamu literatury. Souhlasнm, aby prбce byla ulozena na Masarykov univerzit v Brn v knihovn Pedagogickй fakulty a zpнstupnna ke studijnнm ъcelm." Declaration: "I declare that I have compiled this final work by myself and that I have used only the sources listed in the bibliography."
V Brn 20.4. 2008
Content: Introduction.................................................................. 5 PART ONE 1.1. What is literature................................................ 7 1.2. Approach to using literature................................... 7 1.3. Motivating students............................................. 10 1.4 Selecting suitable literary texts................................ 12 1.5 Literature and cross-curricular links.......................... 13 1.6 Literature through receptive and productive skills......... 14 1.6.1 Reading.......................................................... 14 1.6.2 Listening......................................................... 15 1.6.3 Speaking......................................................... 16 1.6.4 Writing ........................................................... 18 1.7 Literature and using video clips.............................. 19 1.8 Literature and lesson planning ............................... 21 1.9 Literature and assessment..................................... 23 1.10 Organizing a reading centre................................... 26 PART TWO 2.1 Literature in ELT at secondary schools...................... 28 2.1.1 Teachers` questions............................................. 29 2.1.2 Students` questions............................................. 33 2.1.3 Conclusions...................................................... 36 2.2 Literary project.................................................. 38 2.2.1 Introduction...................................................... 39 2.2.2 About Christmas Carol......................................... 39 2.2.3 Charles Dickens's biography.................................. 40 2.2.4 Lesson plans..................................................... 41 Conclusion................................................................... 61 Bibliography................................................................. 62 Summary..................................................................... 66 Appendix..................................................................... I - XXX 4
Introduction "Some people see things as they are and ask `why'? I see things as they have never been and ask `why not'?" George Bernard Shaw When I was 12 years old, I remember myself standing in front of the blackboard with my friend Lenka. She was considered to belong among the worst students in the class. Despite of this fact, something was telling me that nothing was, as it seemed and that there was something to be done about it. As I was writing the Czech grammatical rules on the board, I noticed that Lenka was looking out of the window and not paying too much attention. After a while, I got an idea and soon we found ourselves deep in reading a story from our Czech Reader ­ Cнtanka. Today I do not remember exactly the content of the story, but I do remember that Lenka liked it and in the end, we managed to come across most of the grammatical aspects I originally wanted to cover at the beginning. I will never forget the feeling of satisfaction, achievement and pride when after a month of afterschool teaching Lenka achieved an excellent mark in writing a dictation... At that very time and place, I knew exactly that one day I would become a teacher. Some time has passed since it all happened. Once again, I find myself in front of the board ­ the interactive whiteboard surrounded by students. It feels as if nothing has changed since then. I still feel the pleasure in discovering best ways to both teach my students and learn from them at the same time. 5
Undoubtedly, such life experience provoked interest in using literary texts in my own teaching practice, which in the end, resulted in writing diploma thesis. Diploma thesis is divided into two parts. In the first theoretical part it answers the question what is literature as such, its role in history of English teaching, tries to find answer to how literature can help language learners on their way to language development and how to introduce a literary text to students. Further, it analyses secondary teachers` and students` approaches to literature, compares their opinions, tries to discover some possible problematic area and attempts to open up different perception to the topic of using literary texts in English classes. Moreover, it stresses the necessity of change in strategies for teaching methods as well as assessing and discusses the important role of multimedia in today's computer age. Theoretical part closes with presenting Charles Dickens's life and work as an introduction to practical part. Practical part consists of a set of specially tailored activities which were designed and realised with a group of secondary students. 6
PART ONE 1. 1 What is literature Since this thesis deals with literary texts, let us first investigate the meaning of literature as such. Broadly speaking, literature, according to various comprehensive dictionaries, is a term used to describe both written as well as spoken material. It can be anything from creative writing to more technical works. However, the term literature is generally associated with ,,written works, especially whose value lies in beauty of language or in emotional effect." (Fowler: 1995) 1. 2 Approach to using literature Over the past 100 years the role of literature in English language learning underwent various stages from glorious heights of grammar translation pedestal to the lowlands of communicative movement where literature seemed to be side-lined or even irrelevant and definitely out of fashion. Therefore, most people when hearing the word literature have bad connotations and associate it with either grammatical drills and boring lessons or with critical comments on literary texts from their literature lessons or using poetic language to express poet's possible feelings. Nevertheless, current approaches attempt to re-examine the value of literature from a different point of view, primarily, literature as means for language development, improvement and cultural enhancement. 7
Carter and Long (1991) argue that including literature in language teaching assumes particularly these LEARNING OBJECTIVES: · The cultural model · The language model · The personal growth model (Carter, 1991) Teaching literature within a cultural model enables students to understand and appreciate cultures and ideologies different from their own and at the same time enhances students` own cultural roots. It is usually the traditional teacher-centred approach. Literature also enriches learner's language variety and offers authentic samples of a very wide range of styles and registers. Nevertheless, Carter draws attention to a possible danger in ,,over-exploiting literature with language-based approaches" which, as he confirms, initially do develop personal and linguistic growth. However, such approaches do not necessarily deliver a full interpretation of texts and therefore are useful in initial stages of reading literature. This model aims to be a studentcentred and activity based. Through the eyes of author, literature also offers a unique insight into life experience which exposes readers to their own personal growth. It is based on readers` engagement with literary texts. It is a more student-centred model. Duff and Maley (1991) offer more practical insight to literature. They offer teachers a wide variety of interesting ideas for using literature in the language classroom with no previous knowledge of literature both by teachers or by students. Their primary aim is ,,simply to use literary texts as a resource for stimulating language activities". (Duff and Maley, 1991) They are more interested in engaging 8
the students interactively with the text and with their classmates and regard any literary insight as an extra gain. The main guideline in their approach is as follows: · The text itself is most important, not literary commentry or background information · Student is an active agent not a passive recipient. · The activities should offer opportunities for students to contribute and share their own experiences, perceptions, and opinions. · Texts can be presented in a variety of ways: cutting it up, using fragments and can also be used with other texts or media. · The text is not the only element in the activity, but only a key for different sets of activities. · Literary quality is not the only criterion for choosing appropriate texts. There are three main types of justification for using literary texts in English language classroom: linguistic, methodological, and motivational. · Linguistic ­ literary texts offer samples of wide range of styles and registers at many levels of difficulty · Methodological ­ literary texts initiate various interpretations and thus propose genuine interaction among students · Motivational ­ literary texts can bring a personal response from students` own experience Ur's (1996) attitude to including literature in language teaching is, in principal, a positive one. She considers it to be a rich source not only of language itself, but also of its intrinsic educational and aesthetic value and its contribution to motivation and enjoyment. On the other hand, she also has in mind some problems of length, 9
difficulty and even alien content which she attempts to solve by careful selection of texts. Ur encourages teachers to use simplified and abbreviated versions, in spite of lacking possible literary quality and emphasises the focus on enjoyment instead of the language teaching aspect. (Ur, 1996) The above mentioned approaches to literature can be summarized into three main points: · literature expands students` language and cultural awareness · literature cultivates the person as a whole · literature incites further discussion 1. 3 Motivating students It is an important part of teachers` job to motivate language learners. Students need to see a point in working with literary texts. Many of them have grown up with watching television, reading magazines, comics or adventure stories. Such media provide a short-term satisfaction, they change topic or scene very fast and do not actually require our full concentration. On the contrary, literary texts are demanding in terms of time and they need considerable patience. Therefore, many teachers see the task of encouraging students to read literature as very difficult and demanding. Carter (1991) claims that students will be motivated to read if the process of reading is somehow related to their own individual experience. He suggests that a good starting point may therefore be ,,to elicit their own ideas, feelings and attitudes as possible before they begin reading" (Carter 1991) 10
He goes further in explaining a detailed activity called ,vote a quote`, where a class is given a list of quotations from famous literary authors, or proverbs or familiar sayings and students have to choose two of the list: o one that they would like to have framed in a place of honour; it should express their idea they of which they approve o one that they would to have engraved on their tombstone; it should express a key feature of their personality. Ur (1996) divides motivation into two categories: o extrinsic motivation o intrinsic motivation Extrinsic motivation derives from the influence of some external stimulus, for example student's desire to please an authority figure such as parents, teachers or their wish to be better accepted by their peers. On the contrary, intrinsic motivation derives from the student's desire to invest their effort in the learning for its own sake. Such motivation is deeply rooted in the previous learner's attitude: whether they like the language, its culture or even its political background. Certainly, teachers can further foster these attitudes by simply making it clear that they approve of them, or by providing additional interesting information about the language background. (Ur, 1996) What has not been mentioned here is also the teacher's own enthusiasm for literature that also contributes a great deal to students` motivation. 11
1. 4 Selecting suitable literature Many students find reading in a foreign language difficult and laborious. Students often complain that there are too many new words they do not understand and so initially, they give up. Bearing this in mind, Ellis and McRae (1991) indicate that their literary competence in foreign language has a significant and logical link with reading literature in their own mother tongue and they suggest asking students some questions about what sort of books they enjoy reading in their language and also about any possible attempts to read in English. Teachers or students can design a questionnaire to find out about their class's reading habits which can enable teachers to choose the appropriate genre of literary texts as well as level. (Ellis and Mc Rae, 1991) The majority of authors such as Ur, Carter, Long, Duff and Maley generally recommend to use simplified books for learners who do not feel secure in reading texts with a heavy ,overload` of unknown vocabulary. But what about the `real` literature? Can simplified text still satisfy its reader aesthetically? Carter and Long have an answer to this question. They claim that ,,any argument to the effect that a lazy student will read a simplified reader to save him or herself the trouble of reading the original is unproductive" and argues that the role of simplified versions only ,,whets the appetite for the real thing". (Carter and Long, 1991) How about the length of the text? Should it be a complete work or an extract? And what about the availability of the printed text? How does it correspond to the teacher's syllabus? These are further questions to be answered before selecting the right material for students. 12
The length of the text mainly depends on the teacher's aim if he or she wants to teach it for the sake of the text only or as a part of series of an author or period, also on a wider range of techniques and teacher's creativity and most importantly, on the time available for literary texts in the class. The fact of availability is important especially in case of students` self-study and further exploitation. The question of fitting literary texts with syllabus links with methodology the teacher often uses. For example, as Lazar suggests, ,,if students are used to Multiple Choice or True/False questions when doing reading comprehension, then teachers are advised to use similar techniques when working on a literary text." (Lazar, 1993) 1. 5 Literature and cross-curricular links Literary texts offer plentiful opportunities in linking the literary content to other school subjects. It is nothing new that other subjects` topics have been included into English language learning. It is thought that students often benefit from focusing less on language itself, grammar, functions and structures, and more on the content or topic. Tennant (2005) explains that only a thoughtful selection of topics that the students are either familiar with, currently studying or interested in, may cause them to learn more and faster. This familiarity enables them to pay attention to details that they would otherwise miss. Learning should be about discovering new horizons together and enjoying the whole process. 13
1. 6 Literature through receptive and productive skills Receptive skills are those through which people extract meaning from the discourse they see ­ reading or hear ­ listening. Productive skills are those through which people produce something, whether it be for example a speech ­ speaking or a letter ­ writing. 1. 6. 1 Reading Students who read a lot seem to acquire English better than those who do not. In other words, one of the main advantages of reading for students is that it improves their general English level. It means that without a lot exposure to reading students are unlikely to make much progress. However, secondary teachers frequently complain that their students do not read very much even in their own language not to mention reading in English. Here comes once again the question of appropriate motivation. Teachers should know better their students` interests through which they could try at first place to get them excited about reading literature by introducing short literary texts for reading out loud and analysing at school. Such reading is generally called an intensive reading. ,,It is a close study of short passages of texts, including syntactic, semantic, and lexical analyses and often includes translation into the mother tongue to study meaning." (Susser and Robb 1990) An individual reading for pleasure is therefore called an extensive reading. Students usually read silently outside the classroom and at their own pace. Stephen Krashen is a well-known supporter of voluntary reading and he claims that "reluctant" 14
readers are often those who have little access to books. ,,A number of studies confirm that given access to comprehensible and interesting reading material, children and adolescents take advantage of them. More access to reading results in more reading; this result applies to books in the home, classroom libraries, school libraries and public libraries." (Krashen, 2004) In short, reading intensively can be a good starting point for developing students` interest in literature and its further exploration in extensive reading. 1. 6. 2 Listening Listening and reading come close together when speaking about literary texts. Sometimes it is hard to decide what to do first, if to let students read the text first for a gist or rather let them listen to it. One way or the other it is up to the teacher which strategy she or he chooses. Listening is generally considered a harder work and students get sometimes frustrated if they do not understand everything they hear word by word. Therefore, it is inevitable for teachers to know how to foster and maintain this skill by choosing appropriate listening tasks. Students should not listen to literary texts without providing some idea of what they are going to hear and what they are asked to do while listening, which helps them raise motivation and interest. Penny Ur (1996) recommends some listening activities which may be suitable for listening to literary texts: · True/False ­ the listening passage consists of a number of statements, some of which are true and some false. Students either make brief responses or write ticks or crosses to indicate whether the statements are right or wrong. 15
· Detecting mistakes ­ the teacher describes a story that the class knows, but with a number of deliberate mistakes or inconsistencies. Students raise their hands or write down when they hear something wrong. · Skimming and scanning ­ a short listening text is given, improvised or recorded; students are asked to identify some general topic or information (skimming), or some limited information (scanning) and note the answers. · Answering questions ­ one or more questions are given in advance and students provide their answers after listening to the text. · Note-taking ­ students take short notes from what they hear · Paraphrasing and translating ­ students rewrite or retell the listening text in different words · Gap filling ­ a long gap is left at the beginning middle or end of a text; students try to guess and write down, or say, what might be missing. (Ur, 1996) 1. 6. 3 Speaking It has been mentioned in 1. 2 that literature is a source for plentiful discussion. Yet it is difficult to design such speaking activities. Therefore the main focus should be to define what is meant by ,an effective speaking activity`. (Ur, 1996) Its typical characteristics according to Penny Ur are: · Students speak as much as possible · All students get a chance to speak and not only a few dominant ones · Students want to speak because they are interested in the topic 16
· Language is of an acceptable level Unfortunately, students very often feel reserved about trying to say things in a foreign language in the classroom. They feel worried about making mistakes or they are simply shy of being in the centre of attention. In addition, even if they do not feel reserved, they may complain that they cannot think of anything to say. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which teachers can help students overcome such difficulties. Teachers should ensure according to Jeremy Harmer that students have sufficient vocabulary for the task by supplying key language to them before a spoken activity, secondly, they need to see outcome and be aware of it, teachers should not forget about helping students who are not used to speaking spontaneously and should provide restricted tasks first. (Harmer, 2001) Role-plays after reading are very useful activities in which each participant is given her or his specific role in a particular situation usually written on a piece of paper. Very often, the role play is done in pairs; sometimes it involves interaction between five or six roles. This is practically the only way teachers can give their students the opportunity to speak in the classroom and at the same time very effective technique providing that the students are confident and cooperative. On the other hand, more anxious or distant people can find role play difficult or even embarrassing. Therefore, Ur suggests making sure that the language demanded is well within the learners' capacity; teachers should express their own enthusiasm and present the activity in careful and clear instructions. (Ur, 1996) Another very similar activity to role-play is called `simulations' where ,,the individual participants speak and react as themselves, but the group role, situation and task they are given is an imaginary one." (Ur, 1996) They usually work in small groups, with no audience. 17
Reading literary texts should therefore enrich students' vocabulary in spoken interaction by means of carefully chosen speaking activities. 1. 6. 4 Writing Reading literary texts reveals students the highly skilful language usage and its rich and powerful impact. Thus teaching a foreign language is not only about the language as such, it is also about what that language can do. As students read literary texts they, in fact ,,study the ways in which a craftsman can shape language and make it richer and more powerful." (Bassnett and Grundy, 1993) Some people may claim that they will neither speak such language nor write it. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities in life which prove the opposite such as writing birthday cards, anniversary cards, Valentine cards or wedding cards. All of them frequently contain messages written in a special literary style. Everybody is involved in making and reading literature, whether one realises it or not. There are many activities connected with reading literary texts. Hedge (1985) suggests writing a critical review in form of a letter to the author, which can be sent off to the publisher with a possibility of getting a reply from the author. Sometimes, the content of a story provides a natural context for writing. For example a description of place, a famous life story or writing a biography of a main character. (Hedge, 1985) 18
1. 7 Literature and using video clips For the majority of teachers using films in language classes is still a synonym to not-doing-anything approach - it works fine and no extra preparation is needed. They usually associate watching films with relaxation and pleasure and not with a process in which students should take active part even though films have recently proved to have its indispensable part in a foreign language classroom. Literature, and particularly the novel, offers a plentiful resource for films. They can be used with or without subtitles or they can be stopped at any time to explore the scene. Moreover, the books theme can be more easily discovered from the film especially if the text is complex. Stempleski and Tomalin (1990) have had a wide experience in training teachers in primary, secondary and adult education worldwide and they are convinced that the introduction of a moving picture component as a language teaching tool is essential. Further, they state that such technique greatly enhances students` motivation and communication by putting the language into context. Film sequences can be used at every level. However, the priority for using them should be given to elementary students. (Stempleski and Tomalin, 1990) It is also essential for the English teacher to become familiar not only with the technology that enables using films but also with suitable methodology. Walker (1999) offers a wide variety of practical activities and suggestions in using video clips and divides them into three parts: o before reading the book or sections of the book o after reading short sections of the book 19
o after reading the book In the section before reading the book, she argues that watching video scenes will help students better understand the text and form mental pictures, build expectations of events and plot and also enable them to become familiar with some of the key vocabulary. At the same time, the students will have practice in listening comprehension. After reading short sections of the book describes ideas for individual students` activities which are designed to extend their comprehension through discovering differences between the clip and the literary text. At the same time the activities will help students gain some insight into the difference between film-making and storytelling and how films may sometimes change and condense the narrative of the text. After reading the Book Activities encourage students` individual response and critical approach to the story. They also naturally integrate the four language skills ­ reading, listening, speaking and writing. Lynch (2008) offers five reasons for using films in English language classes: 1) wide popularity of films 2) easy access to films 3) different media formats to choose from (DVDs, video tapes, internet) 4) length of viewing is controllable 5) use of sub-titles and close-captioning is controllable Harmer (2001) examines using films not only from its positive view but he also mentions some of its negative aspects. Among the positive ones he includes: · Seeing and hearing language: it helps students with deeper comprehension · Cross-cultural awareness: this is especially useful if they want to see for example some typical ,Body Language` 20
· Motivation: most students show an increased level of interest if they have in fact a chance to see how language works in ordinary life The negative aspects include problems with teachers` bad manipulation with technology or when it does not work the way teachers want it to or simply a poor picture or sound quality. To sum it up, using films in English language classes does not mean depriving students of their ability to read and enjoy literature. The opposite is true. It is advised to use films to strengthen students` motivation and ability to read literature and at the same time help them develop their critical thinking in terms of media influence. 1. 8 Literature and lesson planning ,,Lesson planning is the art of combining a number of different elements into a coherent whole so that a lesson has an identity which students can recognise, work within, and react to." (Harmer, 2001) However, lesson planning is a proposal for action rather than a script to be strictly followed. The way that teachers plan depends upon the circumstances in which the lesson is to take place as well as on the teacher's experience. Some teachers take the ,jungle path` (Scrivener, 1994) as an approach to lesson planning, where they walk into the class, ask students what they want to do today and take in an activity to start the class with no real idea of what the aim is. Such approach is favoured by Mario Rinvolucri, who suggests that being a teacher is more like a doctor prescribing a medicine upon accurate diagnosis. (Rinvolucri, 1998) On the contrary, Malamah-Thomas (1987) believes that if teachers have no clear idea of what their aims are, and if the students cannot or will not help with shaping the 21
lesson, then ,,nothing useful or meaningful can be achieved at all." (MalamahThomas, 1987) On the other hand, there are teachers who write formal plans for their classes with precise details what they are going to do and why, simply because it makes them feel secure during the lesson. The vast majority of lesson planning probably takes place between these two extremes. There is no omnipotent rule for a concrete lesson planning since every class has its own specific features. However, there are some general recommendations on how to proceed in making a plan. Harmer (2001) suggests starting with a preplanning background where the teacher should take into account the following: · class level, number of students, their age, their temper · students` specific needs (for example if they need to be ,woken-up` at the beginning of the lesson, if they need more oral fluency, writing skills..) · classroom equipment and setting (is it too far from teacher`s office) · teacher's next item on her or his grammar syllabus On the basis of such pre-planning, teachers can make their own lesson plans where they should include: o Lesson aims o Activities, procedures and timing o Anticipated problems and their solutions Lesson aims should reflect what the teacher hopes her or his students will be able to do, not what she or he is going to do. A lesson will often have more than one aim. The overall objective may be to improve students` reading ability, but the specific aims are to predict content, to use guessing strategies to overcome lexical problems. 22
The main body of a lesson plan lists includes activities, procedures and the times the teacher expects them to take. It is also a good idea to include some anticipated difficulties which may arise plus suggestions how to deal with them. It could also include some alternative activities in case of diverting from the original plan. (Harmer, 2001) Traditionally the activities used with literary texts for lesson planning have been divided into: · Pre-reading activities · While-reading activities · Post-reading activities According to Lazar (1993), pre-reading activities should help students with cultural background, stimulate their interest in the story and introduce vocabulary. While-reading activities help students further understand the plot, characters, deal with difficult vocabulary and the story`s style and language. Post-reading activities are then helping students summarize the text, understand the narrative point of view and should follow with further writing and fluency practice. 1. 9 Literature and assessment Most of the feedback that teachers give to their students is an ongoing assessment with the clear aim of achieving students` improvement. According to Ur, there are two types of assessment: 23
· formative ­ is generally performed throughout a course; its purpose is to ,,enhance, not conclude a process". (Ur, 1996) It can be a teacher's formal feedback during a class which would not be necessarily graded. · summative ­ is generally carried out at the end of a course when teachers evaluate learners` knowledge in order to summarize the learning process for which grades are usually used. It is vital for the teacher to decide what areas of students` learning progress she or he will monitor and also, more importantly, how. Students can be tested in the area of their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills as well as in the field of grammar and vocabulary progress in a form of traditional formal assessment such as tests, oral examination or dictations. Whereas informal assessment could include teacher's feedback, observations, discussions, checklists, rubrics, self or peer assessment or portfolios all of which are usually performed in a more casual manner during the class without the need for grading. The area of such assessment would include for example students` attitude to literature, their ability to cooperate in group, cultural awareness or learning to learn skills. If teachers are to assess objectively, explicit criteria and outcomes should be developed to prevent potential misunderstandings. ,,Such ,pre-defined descriptions of performance` say what students need to be capable of in order to gain the required marks." which creates a ,fair play` atmosphere in the class. (Harmer, 2001) It is not only the learners` assessment being in the centre of attention nowadays. Equally, it is also the teacher whose self-reflection is essential in the process of effective learning and consequently her or his professional development. Gillian Lazar (1993) suggests a self-observation and a student observation as a means of 24
teacher's evaluation of the literary lesson. In the part of self-observation she advises teachers to ask themselves questions before, after and during the lesson: Before the lesson o What is the lesson's aim? o What particular text was chosen and why? o What tasks and activities were created and why? o What opportunities are there for students to participate During and after the lesson o Did students find the text interesting and suitable? o Was there evidence that the tasks helped students understand the text? o Did students respond to the text and participate personally and what helped them to do so? o What did the teacher learn from this lesson and how would she or he improve it or develop in future? In the part of students` observation in the literature class, Lazar advices to note down some further difficulties students could have with: o linguistic features in the text o cultural aspects o literary aspect such as stylistic devices (Lazar, 1993) Answers to these questions can have a very important developmental function. They can help teachers to become more aware of what they do in the class as well as their students in order to set the future goals more clearly and realistically. 25
1. 10 Organizing a reading centre It has been previously mentioned that reading literary texts intensively at school can stimulate students interest to read extensively. Setting up a class a reading centre appears to be a good way how to encourage students to enjoy literature by themselves. Undoubtedly, such decision requires time, enthusiasm and commitment from the teacher. On the other hand, if students take part in the organization, it can be very productive. The reading centre may be represented by only an open bookcase in the classroom, with an attractive display of books and a wall display of relevant and interesting material. Students can use it whenever they finish their work during an English lesson or they can borrow a book home to read. There is a number of preliminary steps to be done before establishing the centre. According to Hedge (1985) it is a question of: · choosing books · classifying books · designing a borrowing system Choosing books can be assigned to students themselves. Each of them can choose a book which appeals to them personally and which they think their classmates may be interested in as well. Such chosen books can form the core of a library. Classifying books means sorting the books according to either their level or genre in order to help students choose a book of their choice without the teacher's help. Designing a borrowing system also requires some preliminary thought and organization. The easiest method appears to be a lending book in which students write their names, title of book, date of borrowing and date of return. (Hedge, 1985) 26
Another interesting thought is setting up a literature self-access centre where not only books could be easy to get, but also a small collection of literary texts, video recordings, listening exercises on CDs or MP3s, worksheets done by both teachers and students which students could work on by themselves with minimal teacher's involvement. Having a computer or a notebook with Internet connection in the literature centre would be an indisputable advantage. There is a huge range of work for self-access on various web pages such as radio online radio programmes, videos, television programmes and much more. Sites like the British Council's 'LearnEnglish' provide students with a plentiful amount of learning materials, which can be used by students at different ages and levels, and with different language needs. Students are not accustomed to such independent work so they will need teacher's help and clear instructions about procedures at first. Teachers may want to schedule self-access lessons into their teaching syllabuses to help students ,learn to learn independently`. Lazar (1993) summarizes her reasons for setting up a literary self-access centre in five points: o It enables students to read and listen to literary texts of their own choice o It fosters the students` enjoyment of literature o It promotes students` language acquisition o It develops students` reading and listening skills o It enables students to become more self-confident and independent learners (Lazar, 1993) 27
PART TWO 2. 1 Literature in ELT at secondary schools In this part, I would like to present my personal investigation into the field of using literary texts in English lessons in secondary classrooms. The aim of the investigation is to discover teachers` and students` approach to using literature in their classes and their own beliefs in literature contribution. The project was realized with a sample group of twenty teachers and forty-two students from six secondary schools during the first half of the school year 2007 ­ 2008 and was divided into the following stages: · Mapping situation - personal discussion with teachers about using literary texts in their lessons · Creating questionnaires ­ teachers` and students` beliefs · Conclusion Mapping situation ­ after my personal discussion with all twenty teachers, I came to a conclusion that most of them were not keen on using literature in their English lessons due to the general assumption that ,students do not read as much as they ought to` and that ,there is a little interest in literature as such`. Their view on literature in English classes was therefore considered something redundant, a waste of time and energy. The following task was therefore to discover the number of such 28
pessimistic teachers, unveil the reasons for such negative attitude and discover if the teachers` beliefs match the ones of their students. Creating questionnaires ­ in this phase teachers and students were personally delivered specially designed questionnaires (see Appendix) to find out about differences in their approach to literature usage. All questions were personally discussed and made clear. 2. 1. 1 Teachers` questions
The vast majority of teachers (see figure 1), i. e. sixty-five percent, have already
used literary texts in their classes out of which only thirty percent proceeds in using
10% 25%
Used literary texts and stopped Used literary texts and still use them Never used literary texts
figure 1
As another graph clearly shows (see figure 2) the three main reasons for giving up using literary texts are:
· lack of time ­ which represents not only the teachers` preoccupation with administrative tasks but also the syllabus push (being afraid of falling behind their plan due to the new maturita exams) · lack of students` interest ­ teachers` own experience with literary texts in class and also their personal belief that is not based on any evidence · demanding preparation ­ includes a complaint about the need of photocopying and therefore the lack of sufficient material at schools such as papers or toner.
5% 22%
24% figure 2
38% 11%
Unavailable methodology Lack of time Lack of financial motivation Lack of students' interest Demanding preparation
Appropriate choice of literary texts is crucial. The next question was therefore aimed at discovering the way teachers select them. Teachers were separated into the groups of those who ,stopped using LT (literary texts) and those who ,still use LT` in order to find out if their answers differ. The most frequent answer for the ,stopped using` group (see figure 3) was teachers` selection from magazines and textbooks whereas for the group of ,still use LT` (see figure 4) it was students` own selection.
Teachers who stopped using LT
7% 13%
teachers' selection from magazines and textboks
teachers' selection from their favourite books
students' own choice
figure 3
Teachers still using LT 0% 0%
figure 4
teachers' selection from magazines or textbooks teachers' selection from their favourite book students' own choice
Another source of interest was the teachers` aim in using literature in their lessons. It was interesting to find out that the majority of teachers have already used or would use literary texts mainly for language development and grammar study. Unfortunately, cultural awareness and moral values seem to be slightly neglected (see figure 5)
5% 10% 36%
Language development Grammar study Cultural awareness Moral and social values
figure 5 It was also interesting to find out how much time teachers who claimed having used or using literary texts devoted or still devote to preparation for their literary lessons. The graph below (see figure 6) clearly illustrates that almost two thirds of teachers spend approximately one hour with preparation for one lesson with literary texts. 0%
31% figure 6
1 hour 2 - 5 hours more than 5 hours
Final question was aimed at teachers` own interest in literature and reading for pleasure which should reflect their own approach to literature as such. The results (see figure 7) indicate that more than one half of teachers reads regularly. However, the whole quarter of teachers admitted that they read only sometimes confessing that they mostly spend time reading educational and legislative papers, textbooks,
newspapers, magazines, internet articles or manuals. The rest of twenty percent of teachers admitted no interest in reading for pleasure.
20% 25%
Regularly Sometimes No
figure 7 2. 1. 2 Students' questions The first question was about students' attitude to literature or more precisely, what literature means to them in general. Students were presented with a set of predetermined answers which they marked according to their own experience. The most frequent answer, representing thirty-six percent, was time to relax, following with interesting lessons at school. On the other hand boring lessons are in close succession representing eleven percent. (see figure 8)
7% 5% 1% 7% 8%
9% 11%
figure 8
time to relax interesting lessons at school boring lessons at school source of pleasure phone directory difficult texts childhood memories sharing experience nothing
Further step was to learn something more about students' interest in English literature. More than eighty percent of students claim to have read books by English writing authors. The most frequent names on their lists were authors known either from their Czech literary lessons such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen and Brontл or through media, for example Rowling or Tolkien. Other mentioned authors of students' interest were Pratchett, Groom, Hemingway, Christie, Kipling, Doyle, Twain, Scott, Swift, Burton, Wild, Joyce, Gregory or King. By naming all the authors, it is not difficult to spot students' taste in books. The next question was therefore asked to find out exact data for further literary project. It is evident (see figure 9) that the majority of students like to read novels, following with interest in fantasy and the third place belongs to HISTORICAL FICTION.
6% 2%
15% figure 9
22% 19%
novel fantasy historical fiction Crime fiction sci-fi adventure novels fairy-tales comics
Finally, students were asked if they would be interested in spending some time reading English literary texts and what they would expect to learn through them. It was necessary to explain that the term: · language development includes not only individual vocabulary, but also useful collocations, idiomatic or social phrases. · grammar means either learning new grammatical structures or their consolidation. · cultural awareness is learning about multinational cultural values and tolerance. · moral values are personal qualities such as truthfulness, honesty, goodwill, helping others, unselfishness and many more. · social values are those of a particular society for example religion, faith, family, marriage
5% 16% 29% figure 10
language development grammar cultural awareness moral and social values
More than eighty percent of students admitted that reading literary texts during English lessons would prove useful and they were encouraged to specify the area of their expected improvement with the following results (see figure 10 above). Half of the students would like to use literary texts to enrich their language potential, more than one quarter of students would aim to improve their grammar and the rest of sixteen percent would be interested in culture whilst only five percent of students expressed their wish to learn something more about moral and social values.
2. 1. 3 Conclusion
Using literature in English language classes at secondary schools, according to both teachers' as well as students' answers, is obviously not at its prime but at the same time it may be said that it is not as unfavourable as originally thought. The majority of teachers have already tried using literature but only a small number still use it. Those who stopped using it, blame the failure mostly on the lack of time and not enough students' interest. Unfortunately, the first statement reflects the everyday teachers' life which is filled not only with overgrown administrative work but also with more and more demanding lesson preparations in order to meet all students 36
individual needs without actually creating reasonable conditions. The second complaint about students' no interest in literature may be considered as a result of teachers resigning from trying hard without actually seeing the ongoing unsatisfactory state of affairs changing. On the other hand, the claim that students are not interested in literature is baseless. It was pleasing to find out that most students associate literature with pleasure which is a good sign as well as the fact that most of them are interested in reading English literature. Genres such as novels, fantasy and historical fiction were mostly mentioned. Did the teachers who stopped using literary texts know their interests and how did they select the literary texts? The study has shown that the more successful colleagues closely cooperated with the students asking them about their opinions and literary taste by means of questionnaires or discussions. Thus, their role was and still is more of a facilitator who guides rather than manipulates. In conclusion, it seems that applying literature to English classes depends both on the Ministry of Education's changes as well as in qualitative changes in teachers' attitude. 37
2. 2 Literary project 2. 2. 1 Introduction I would like to introduce a literary project which was realized at a secondary school where I currently teach. The project was implemented into a syllabus of two groups of pre-intermediate secondary students, specialized in tourism and environment, on the previous careful consideration and lasted two weeks. The first group of ,environmental group` consists of 19 students ­ 11 girls and 8 boys where English is their main language but it is not a compulsory subject for maturita exam yet. The other ,tour guide group` has 16 students ­ 15 girls and 1 boy. English is not their main language and therefore taking maturita exam in English is not compulsory for them as well. There is, however, one girl who expressed her wish to take her leaving exams in English. Students in both groups expressed their interest in working on something different than only a course book and they happily took part in my research about literary texts. The research results clearly showed students` interest in novels and fantasy, moreover the vast majority of them expressed their wish to see the film adaptation of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist again. It was not difficult to present students a list with similar books out of which they spontaneously chose another book written by Charles Dickens ­ the ghost story Christmas Carol. Considering coming Christmas time, it seemed to be the right choice in the right time. The element of drama and fantasy corresponds with students` age and interests and there are also many shortened versions of this book found both in libraries as well as on the internet. Moreover, 38
Christmas Carol has an inexhaustible variety of adaptations for theatre, radio, television, film as well as opera. Such variety includes many retellings, modernizations, parodies and sequels that may be a subject of further students` interest and exploration. As far as the length of the text is concerned I decided to pick up a short abridged version of the whole book for the reasons of slightly archaic vocabulary of the original which would, in my opinion, rather put the students off reading. 2. 2. 2 About Christmas Carol Christmas Carol was published on 19 December 1843 and at its time an immediate success and left a big impact on British culture. Charles Dickens was considered the ,father of Christmas` who brought its traditional values back in life and it was the very Christmas Carol that was the subject of Dickens's first public reading, given in Birmingham Town Hall on 27th December, 1852. Extracts from this popular novella remained part of his public readings until his death. As Ackroyd (2006) explains Dickens's boyhood Christmases were possibly inspired by his father, John Dickens, who until he was nineteen would have celebrated the season with his family, their butler and maid at the luxurious Crewe Hall, where they would have danced country dances with servants and tenants and played card games. Due to the fear of drinking contaminated water, numerous kinds of gin were served to people of all ages just like in the festivities in the Cratchet's house. (Ackroyd, 2006) 39
2. 2. 3 Charles Dickens's biography Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870), was an English novelist of the Victorian era. He was born on 7th February 1812 at a house in Landport, Portsmouth in Hampshire. His father John Dickens was a clerk in the Naval Pay Office. He had a difficult time managing money and as a result was eventually sent to Marshalsea debtors prison in 1824 and 1834 with the entire family except for Charles, who had to leave school and go to work to Warren's blacking boot factory. During this period, Dickens lived alone in a lodging house in North London. Such dreadful life experience left a deep scar in him and shaped most of his future writings mainly reflected in David Copperfield or The Greatest Expectations. After a few months, his family was able to leave the prison due to a heritage from his father's family. In spite of this, Dickens's mother did not release him at once from the factory and Charles never forgave her for this. When Dickens was only fifteen years old, he began work as a law clerk where he gained his knowledge of the law and where he saw so many injustices together with inefficient bureaucracy which stayed with him for the rest of his life. At the age of seventeen, Charles worked as a shorthand reporter in the courts, and later as a parliamentary and newspaper reporter. With new contacts in the press he was able to publish a series of sketches under the pseudonym ,Boz`. At this point Dickens came with a highly successful novel The Pickwick Papers, and from that moment, it was obvious that there was no looking back. Within several months, he became internationally popular and shortly afterwards in 1836, Charles married Catherine Hogarth with whom he had ten children. Since then, Dickens's career 40
continued at an intense pace producing Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, he Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge, all published in monthly instalments before being made into books. Due to so many projects, Dickens was barely able to stay ahead of his monthly deadlines. After a short working stay in the United States in 1841, Dickens began to publish annual Christmas stories, starting with A Christmas Carol in 1843. After living briefly in Italy in 1844 and Switzerland in 1846, Dickens continued in writing with successful Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. As his career was moving on, Dickens became more and more embittered. More and more his works reflected the pains of the common man, and works such as Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend articulated his growing anger and disillusionment with society. After the break-up of his marriage with Catherine in 1860, Dickens moved permanently to his country house near Chatham where he began writing on Edwin Drood, which was never completed. Charles Dickens died suddenly at home on June 9th, 1870 at the age of 58 and was buried in Westminster Abbey in the Poets` Corner. (Ackroyd, 2006) 2. 2. 4 Lesson plans It this part of my diploma thesis I would like to present a series of six detailed lesson plans, divided into five language based and one cross-curricular based, that were realised with both groups of students in a language laboratory with headphones and an interactive whiteboard for which usage the lesson plans were adapted. 41
Language based lesson plans Lesson plan # 1 Level: Pre-intermediate Time: 45 minutes Assumptions: students know some basic vocabulary about Christmas students can communicate on a pre-intermediate level students will participate with joy because they asked for the change Materials: cover book picture, worksheet # 1 (appendix II - III), dictionaries, MP3 file or a CD with a Christmas Carol ,,Silent Night", notebook with internet connection (not necessary for this lesson, only if available)
A) Aims: eliciting curiosity and interest in Further Reading Teacher plays a Christmas carol at the beginning of a lesson to create the Christmaslike atmosphere and asks students questions:
Do you like Christmas?
What do you like about Christmas?
What are the people like at Christmas?
(teacher aims the answers to: family together, people are kinder and more generous,
people donate money to the poor...)
(5 minutes)
B) Aims: getting students acquainted with the story motivating students for further reading
Picture of a book cover is presented to students. (see Appendix I)
Students are encouraged to work in pairs and they ask each other the following
questions written on the whiteboard. (Appendix...)
What do you think that the story is about?
Who are the people in the picture?
(Teacher reveals the name of the main character ­ Mr Scrooge)
What is the relation between them?
Do they look happy?
(5 minutes)
C) Aims: presenting new vocabulary from Chapter I language work ­ adjectives and their antonyms working with dictionaries Individual, pair work or group work with dictionaries or a notebook with internet connection for students` needs Teacher: Look into your worksheets. There are adjectives occurring in the text. Find the right synonym and antonym for each word. If you are not sure about the pronunciation, check it either with your dictionary or ask me and note it down.
Adjective scary /skeri/ heartless stingy cheerful
figure 11
(15 minutes)
teaching students a reading technique ­ scanning
Teacher: Read quickly Chapter I in your worksheets (see Appendix II, III ) and find the answers to these questions: What are the names of the main characters in this Chapter? (key: Jacob Marley, Scrooge, Fred, Bob Cratchit) What is their role?
(key: Marley ­ Scrooge's business partner; Scrooge ­ the main character, Jacob's business partner, a stingy old man; Fred ­ Scrooge's nephew; Bob Cratchit ­ Scrooge's clerk) (10 minutes) E) Aims: individual silent reading Students now read Chapter I individually from worksheet # 1 (see appendix II,III). At the end of the Chapter I there is a vocabulary list with assumed problematic words. Nevertheless, students are encouraged to underline any unknown vocabulary and note it down into their vocabulary list. If they do not manage reading it at school, they are advised to read it before going to bed and then after they wake up according to the suggestopedia method which should help them memorize vocabulary. (10 minutes) Homework: Students are assigned reading Chapter I EVALUATION The main aim of this lesson was to get the students acquainted with the story and its main characters. Students from both groups worked with enthusiasm and obvious joy throughout the whole lesson. Some of them realized that they were familiar with the story because they have seen it on television when they were little children. The only problem appeared in the environmental group where students lacked confidence in speaking. They needed a lot of encouragement and even in spite of making such 45
effort, students appeared to have problems with creating sentences using single words only. On the contrary, the group of tour guides seemed to be better trained in rhetoric because they had no such problems and communicated very well trying to put all the new vocabulary in use. Lesson plan # 2 Time: 45 minutes Assumptions: students have read Chapter I at home students have downloaded the MP3 audio format into their MP3 players students will participate with enthusiasm Materials: worksheets # 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (see Appendix IV ­ XIII); a notebook with an internet connection; dictionaries, audio file in MP3 format recorded by the teacher which is sent to students' emails for downloading well in advance. A) Aims: reinforcing vocabulary pronunciation practice reading, listening and speaking practice practising past simple Students are given worksheets # 2, 3 (see Appendix IV, V) with a set of comprehension questions and a criss-cross for some vocabulary check from Chapter I. 46
They are encouraged to work individually at first and then compare their answers with their neighbours asking each other questions. (10 minutes) B) Aims: getting familiar with Chapter II reading practice putting paragraphs of Chapter II in order Students are divided in groups and each group is given an envelope with jumbled up paragraphs of Chapter II ­ worksheet # 4 (see Appendix VI ­ VII). Teacher observes the students and makes notes about their teamwork into worksheet # 7 (see Appendix XIII) Teacher: This envelope contains paragraphs of Chapter II. Your task is to put them in the correct order. The first group with correct order will get a mark into their registers. (10 minutes) C) Aims: listening and speaking practice students will be able to find answers in the text in order to answer the questions practising past simple Students work in pairs. They can see the text on their desks (jumbled up paragraphs form the previous task) and a set of questions written on the interactive whiteboard 47
(see Appendix VIII). One student reads the question, the other one answers. Then they change their roles. (10 minutes) D) Aims: Chapter II vocabulary practice: verbs in infinitive, past simple, phrasal verbs reading practice grammar practice ­ past simple Students are given worksheets # 4, 5 (see Appendix IX - X) with highlighted verbs and phrasal verbs in past simple. Their task is to complete the table in worksheet # 6 (see Appendix X) with infinitives with the help of dictionaries. When they are finished, they are encouraged to learn the pronunciation by playing the story for themselves (on the computer or on their MP3 players) through headphones. If they do not make it in time, they are asked to finish it as their homework. (15 minutes) Homework: Finish the task in worksheet # 6 at home. EVALUATION The main aim of this lesson was to grasp the general idea about Chapter II which has been fulfilled by successful completion of task C. At the beginning of this lesson, students were asked to answer a set of comprehension questions based on their previous knowledge of Chapter I. The ,tour guide` group clearly fulfilled the assigned homework because they worked much 48
faster than the ,environmental group` where the same activity took longer than predicted. Activity B was a nice surprise. Both groups were able to put the paragraphs in the correct order in a very short time. The more able students were naturally helping the weaker ones. In the end, everybody got an excellent mark for their enthusiastic teamwork. Answering questions in activity C appeared to be without any major difficulties in both groups. Students liked working in pairs and they fulfilled the task in a predicted time. When doing vocabulary task in Activity D working individually always seems to be the best choice for most students especially when they have a chance of listening to their own MP3 players with Chapter II recording. Both groups worked quietly at their own pace trying not to disturb one another. Lesson plan # 3 Time: 45 minutes Assumptions: students have read and listened to Chapter II at home students will participate with joy and enthusiasm Materials: prepared material for interactive whiteboard (see Appendix XV), worksheets # 9, 10, 11, 12 (see Appendix XVI - XX), dictionaries, audio file in MP3 of Chapter III 49
A) Aims: vocabulary consolidation from Chapter II Students are given worksheet # 9 where they are encouraged to fill in the missing verbs in the correct form. (Lewis, 1997) (5 minutes) B) Aims: speaking skills ­ description of a picture Students are presented a picture of the Second Ghost of Christmas and they are to describe the scene with the help of some key words written on the interactive whiteboard (see Appendix XVI) starting with ,,Suddenly the clock..." (Walker, 1999) (10 minutes) C) Aims: reading strategy ­ scanning Students are given worksheet # 10 with a set of questions on text from Chapter III and worksheet # 11 with Chapter III. Their task is to scan the text and find the correct answers. They can work individually, either in pairs or in groups. (Ur, 1996) (10 minutes) D) Aims: adjective ­ noun formation pronunciation practice work with dictionaries 50
Students are encouraged to work individually, in pairs or in groups. They are given
worksheet # 12. Their task is to work with dictionaries and find a noun for each of
the adjectives in the table.
(10 minutes)
listening skills
pronunciation practice
Students are listening to Chapter III on their MP3 players, reading the text and at the
same time practising their pronunciation.
(10 minutes)
Students are assigned reading Chapter III.
EVALUATION All activities were designed specially for individual, pair or group work. Students could work in any form they liked according to their individual Learning Strategies. Students accepted this form of learning much better than the traditional teachercentred approach. They felt more responsible for their own learning. Both groups worked without any difficulties through all stages. Activity B which was aimed at speaking, appeared to be a bit difficult for some people from both groups. It was probably caused both by the insufficient home preparation as well as their traditional negative approach to English learning.
Lesson plan # 4 Time: 45 minutes Assumptions: students will participate with joy and enthusiasm students read Chapter III as homework students are familiar with future simple from previous lessons Materials: prepared material for interactive whiteboard (see Appendix XXI), worksheets # 13; 14 (see Appendix XXII; XXIII - XXIV), dictionaries A) Aims: revising and consolidating vocabulary from Chapter III Students get a worksheet # 13 (see Appendix) with a criss-cross where they check their vocabulary knowledge. (5 minutes) B) Aims: speaking: picture description grammar: making predictions Students are shown the picture of Ebeneze Scrooge and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (see figure 12) on the interactive whiteboard with some key words and teacher asks questions: 52
Who are the figures in the picture? Where are they? What are they wearing? What are the figures saying? What will happen next? figure 12 (5 minutes) B) Aims: reading skills Students work in pairs or groups of three. They are given strips of papers with selected sentence and the names of the characters. Their task is to put the sentences into the correct order and match them with the correct characters. After they finished, they are given worksheet # 13 (see Appendix) and can compare their answers with their neighbours as well as read the text to see if they were right or wrong. ,,I promised him that we would walk there every Sunday. My little, little child." "Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?" "He frightened everybody away from him when he was alive, to profit us when he was dead! Ha, ha, ha!" ,,I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall be within me. I will not ignore the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me that I may change my fate!" 53
"I fear you more than any other spirit."
figure 13
(Duff and Maley, 1990)
(5 minutes)
reading, writing and speaking skills
Students work in pairs. They watch the video sequence (see figure 14) from a 1908
silent film (taken from where Scrooge is visited by the
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Their task is to write down into their notebooks
script lines in English for Scrooge according to the text as well as the film and make
a rehearsal for ,,dubbing" the film. Teacher plays the sequence as many times as
needed for the rehearsals until students feel generally happy with their work. Then
one of each pair tries to act out the script lines in front of the whole class. Students
vote the best performer according to the criteria shown below (see figure 15) where
five points is for the best performance and one point for the weakest. Students were
also told that the film was the first movie adaptation produced by Essanay Studios in
Chicago, where Thomas Ricketts played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.
(35 minutes)
(Stempleski and Tomalin, 1990)
figure 14
reading matched the film
reading was fluent
reading was acted out
TOTAL points
figure 15 Homework: Students are assigned reading and listening to Chapter IV paying special attention to the underlined words and their explanation.
EVALUATION This lesson was probably the most successful. Students from both groups seemed to be enjoying it from the beginning to the end. They especially liked the last activity
with reading Scrooge's lines while watching the silent film and they asked for another similar activity in the next lesson. Students from the ,,environmental group" needed my assistance more than those from ,,tour guide group". They had slight difficulties with making up Scrooge's lines perhaps due to the lack of their fantasy and also sufficient vocabulary knowledge which pre-intermediate students should have. Despite all this, it was not easy to choose the best performer and consequently everybody was awarded with nice marks into their students` register for their enthusiastic work and actor-like performances.
Lesson plan # 5 Time: 45 minutes Assumptions: students will participate with joy and enthusiasm students read Chapter IV at home Materials: worksheet # 15 (see Appendix XXV), worksheet # 16 (see Appendix XXVI ­ XXVII), dictionaries, downloaded video for the interactive whiteboard
vocabulary revision of Chapter IV
speaking, writing and listening practice
Students can work individually, in pairs or in groups. They receive worksheet # 15
with a criss-cross and fill it in with the correct vocabulary. When finished, they are
encouraged either to compare their worksheets with neighbours or check it with
worksheet # 14 ­ Chapter IV
(10 minutes)
B) Aims: speaking practice performing still pictures of selected scenes Students are divided into 4 groups. Each group is given one strip of paper with a description of selected scene (see figure 16) taken randomly from the first two chapters. They are encouraged to rehearse a still picture which would correspond with the scene and perform it in front of the whole class. Other students describe the still image in English trying to guess the characters and the situation.
figure 16
(Dougill, 1987)
(10 minutes) C) Aims: writing, speaking and listening skills Students are divided into groups of four or five and given text of Chapter V, worksheet # 16. Teacher plays the silent film from the scene where Mr Scrooge wakes up on the Christmas day making good deeds. Teacher gives instructions as follows:
You are going to watch the silent movie which roughly corresponds with your texts of Chapter V. You have three tasks: Firstly, write down the names of all characters appearing in the scene Secondly, make up and write down lines for each character into your worksheets and make it a script. Thirdly, act it out while the film runs as if you were "dubbing" the film. Each group will make their performance in front of the whole class and will be awarded by points according to the criteria from our previous lesson. (25 minutes) EVALUATION This lesson was not as successful as the previous one. I observed that most students from both groups did not manage to write the crossword without constant looking into the text. In addition, Activity B proved to be an absolute disaster with the "environmental group" and it took much longer than predicted due to some arguing among members of the group which spoilt the next task with dubbing, too. On the contrary, the "tour guide" group fulfilled Activity B without any major problems and rushed into the next task with a lot of energy and joy. Students particularly liked Activity C for its creativity. Girls changed their voices to men's characters. The most challenging element was when students had to keep up with the speed of the old silent film. Even though the plan seemed to be carefully prepared, students from both groups had difficulties to manage everything in time. 58
Cross curricular-based lesson plan Lesson plan # 1 Topic: Children and work in Victorian society Time: 45 minutes Material: interactive whiteboard connected to internet with prepared websites, one computer equipped with sound cards for each student , worksheet # 17; 18; 19 (see Appendix XXVIII ­ XXX) Aims: students will learn about working conditions for children in Victorian times and how the situation changed throughout the period listening, reading and writing skills This lesson takes place in an IT classroom where there are enough computers for each individual student. Computers must be equipped with a sound card so that students can listen to audio files presented on the websites (see figure 17). Teacher introduces the topic and gives students their worksheets with a set of questions they need to answer in writing. figure 17 59
EVALUATION: This cross-curriculum lesson accomplished in such extent was my first experience. Students liked the responsibility of working alone or in pairs. They had everything at hand on the computer ­ websites, online dictionary, headphones for listening to the correct pronunciation. I deliberately chose the BBC web site for primary learners because its language level is adequate for pre-intermediate students and students are still able to learn a lot of new and interesting information. Students from both groups liked the lesson because modern technologies in lessons give them the feeling of being an active part of their learning process and not just the passive element. . 60
Conclusion The attempt of this diploma thesis was to present some suggestions and theories on how to use literary texts successfully in secondary classes as well as discover to what extent literature is used by English secondary teachers. The study, carried out both among teachers as well as students, has shown that the majority of teachers feel rather reluctant to using literature for many reasons out of which "lack of time" and "lack of students' interest" were the most common answers. While "lack of time" would need further deeper analysis about its causes and consequences, the teachers' belief about students' "lack of interest" can be easily disproved. The research into students' interest in literature presented in this diploma thesis showed that more than eighty percent of students would consider literature as the key element on their way to a successful language learning. For this reason, a special two-week literary project has been realised with two groups of secondary students in order to confirm students' positive approach to literature. Having in mind all six lessons it can be said that the project definitely had a positive outcome which resulted in students' enthusiasm in setting up an English library with a "self access corner" in their English laboratory classroom. At present their library includes more than thirty books, nine DVDs based on popular literary works and another ten books are currently ordered. Some teachers would probably want more evidence about what the students` have acquired throughout the project. They would certainly call for some kind of testing. However, is not the very testing the right reason of putting students off reading? And is the students` interest in reading English books not the reliable proof of success? 61
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SUMMARY Diplomovб prбce zkoumб vztah zбk a ucitel anglictiny na stednнch skolбch k literatue, mapuje do jakй mнry, zda-li vbec, ucitelй vyuzнvajн v hodinбch anglickйho jazyka literбrnн texty, zamэslн se nad soucasnэm stavem a pokousн se ukбzat, ze literatura mб ve vэuce anglictiny svoje opodstatnnй mнsto a ze za pouzitн vhodnй metodiky a zpsobu prezentace, mohou literбrnн texty pispt k upevnnн nejen jazykovэch dovednostн, ale takй, a to pedevsнm, k rozvoji osobnosti. Praktickб cбst obsahuje dнlo Charlese Dickense Christmas Carol rozpracovanй do literбrnнho projektu, kterэ byl pilotovбn se dvma skupinami stedoskolskэch student. The diploma thesis examines secondary students' and teachers' attitude to using literature, maps to what extent, if at all, literature is used in secondary classes, reflects on the current situation and attempts to show that literature has its indisputable potential in ELT and that its presence in secondary classes, if thoughtfully implemented, can encourage development of not only language skills but also, and primarily, students' personal growth. Practical part presents Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol in a set of lesson plans which were carried out as a literary project with two groups of secondary students. 66

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