segunda-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2017

Fichamento 3 - "Teaching materials: using literature in the EFL/ESL classroom"

Por Camila Dias da Silva e Jenny Yoshioka.

CLANDFIELD, Lindsay. Teaching materials: using literature in the EFL/ESL classroom. Available in Access in February, 28th.

Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced.

Literature has been a subject of study in many countries at a secondary or tertiary level, (...). It has only been since the 1980s that this area has attracted more interest among EFL teachers.” (p. 1)

What is literature?

(…) using literature in the classroom must take as a starting point the question: What is literature?” (p. 1);

“One broader explanation of literature says that literary texts are products that reflect different aspects of society. (…). Other linguists say that there is no inherent quality to a literary text that makes a literary text, rather it is the interpretation that the reader gives to the text (Eagleton 1983). (…) literature is only literature if it is considered as art.” (p. 1)

Why use literature?

"Literature is authentic material." (p. 1);

“Literature encourages interaction. Literary texts are often rich is multiple layers of meaning, (…).” (p. 1);

“Literature expands language awareness.” (p. 1);

“Literature educates the whole person. By examining values in literary texts, teachers encourage learners to develop attitudes towards them.” (p. 1);

“Literature is motivating. Literature holds high status in many cultures and countries. (…). Also, literature is often more interesting than the texts found in coursebooks.” (p. 1)

Different models of teaching literature in class

The cultural model views a literary text as a product. (...). The cultural model will examine the social, political and historical background to a text, literary movements and genres. (…). This approach tends to be quite teacher-centred." (p. 2);

“The language model aims to be more learner-centred. As learners proceed through a text, they pay attention to the way language is used. (…), the teacher can choose to focus on general grammar and vocabulary (…) or use stylistic analysis.” (p. 2);

“The personal growth model is also a process-based approach and tries to be more learner-centred. This modal encourages learners to draw on their own opinions, feelings and personal experiences. It aims for interaction between the text and the reader in English, helping make the language more memorable.” (p. 2)

Using literature over a longer period of time – the set novel or reader

Extensive reading is an excellent way of improving English, and it can be very motivating to finish an entire book in another language. In addition, many international exams have certain optional questions on them that pertain to set novels each year. One option that is now available to language teachers is the wide range of simplified and inexpensive versions of literary texts, called reader (…).” (p. 2)

DIY literature lesson plan

Stage one: warmer

“Devise a warmer that gets students thinking about the topic of the extract or poem.” (p. 2);

“Devise a warmer that looks at the source of the literature that will be studied.” (p. 2)

Stage two: before reading

“Pre-teaching very difficult words (…) should be approached with caution. (…). Limit the amount of words you cover in this stage.” (p. 2);

“Predicting. Give students some words from the extract and ask them to predict what happens next.” (p. 2);

“Giving students a ‘taste’. Read the first bit of the extract (…).” (p. 3)

Stage three: understanding the text, general comprehension

“It is important to let students approach a piece of literature the first time without giving them any specific task other than to simply read it. One of the aims of teaching literature is to evoke interest and pleasure from the language.” (p. 3);

“Once students have read it once, you can set comprehension questions or ask them to explain the significance of certain key words of the text. Another way of checking comprehension is to ask students to explain to each other (…).” (p. 3)

Stage four: understanding the language

“See how many of the unfamiliar words students can get from context. Give them clues.” (p. 3);
“You could also look at certain elements of style that the author has used.” (p. 3);

“If appropriate to the text, look at the connotation of words which the author has chosen.” (p. 3)

Stage five: follow up activities

·         Using poems;
·         Using extracts from stories or short stories;
·         Using extracts from plays.

Questionnaire about books, reading and literature:

Poem The Road not Taken:

Literary extract from For Whom The Bell Tolls:

10 Questions for Compositions on Set Texts or Readers:

terça-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2017

Fichamento 2 - "Why should literature be used in the language classroom?"

Por Camila Dias da Silva e Jenny Yoshioka.

DASKALOVSKA, Nina; DIMOVA, Violeta. Why should literature be used in the language classroom? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 46, 2012, p. 1182-1186. Available in Access in February, 21st.

Communicative methodologies that emerged in the 1970 s stress the importance of using authentic materials and activities in the classroom in order to help students achieve communicative competence that will enable them to use the language for communicative purposes in the real world. However, the materials and classroom activities focus on the referential function of the language and do not offer opportunities for imaginative involvement. Therefore, students do not acquire the ability to understand the creative uses of the language or to function in situations in which they have to make interpretations and evaluations, and give their personal response and reaction. This paper argues that inclusion of literature in language teaching materials will provide students with the opportunities to experience and use the language more creatively and to develop greater awareness of the language they are learning.

Palavras-chave: literature; language acquisition; authentic materials; language awareness; communicative competence.


1.      Introduction

Since the 1970s the language-teaching trends have centered on communicative teaching methods and approaches which emphasize that since language is primarily used for communication, the best way to learn a foreign language is through communicative activities in the classroom.” (p. 1182);

“Communicative competence, as generally accepted goal in ELT, consists of grammatical, sociolinguistic and strategic competence which enable the learners to cope with the most common situations they are likely to face (Canale and Swain, 1980: 29-31). (…). The tendency to use authentic materials has brought into the classroom such teaching materials as maps, letters, recipes, newspaper articles, advertisements, postcards, brochures and the like, but this has resulted in students achieving ‘only a competence limited to the referential function of language and hardly any ability to handle the expressive function’ (Donnerstag, 1996 :1). If learners are to be encouraged to participate in a conversation in the classroom, they should be given a meaningful content that will provoke their interest, (…).” (p. 1182).

2.      Referential versus representational materials

“The language normally used in the language classroom is referential, which means ‘language which communicates on only one level, usually in terms of information being sought or given, or of a social situation being handled’ (McRae, 1991: 3). (…), it will only allow for ‘communicative survival in carefully circumscribed environmental contexts’ (McRae, 1991: 6). (…), they do not offer scope for imaginative involvement and self-expression, and what is more important, they do not enable students to develop the so important ‘fifth skill, thinking in English’ (McRae, 1991: 5), which is essential for interpreting and understanding different kinds of texts and for developing language awareness.” (p. 1183);

“(…), we have to expose them to a wide range of representational materials which invite learners to respond and react, to question and evaluate, to interact with the text, to get involved emotionally and creatively, and to relate it to their own experience.” (p. 1183).

3.      Creativity as an omnipresent phenomenon

The skills obtained while studying texts will help learners become better, more aware readers of the world they live in. For it is not only in literature that we can see the creative and imaginative use of language. (…), examples of it can be found outside literature’. Even ordinary everyday conversations show creative uses of language such as idioms, metaphors, proverbs, play with words, and so on, ‘which are strongly associated with criteria for literariness’ (Carter, 1997: 49), but people are so used to them that they are not even aware that they are using the language in a creative way.” (p. 1183);

“(…), giving foreign language learners opportunities for discussion, evaluation and understanding the meaning of words and phrases, and developing their interpretational and inferential skills will make them more reflective and effective learners and users of the language.” (p. 1183).

4.      Authenticity and motivation

“The use of authentic materials is in line with the experiential strategy of language learning which ‘involves learners in authentic communication and in genuine experiences which have value, importance, or significance for them’ (Stern, 1992: 302).” (p. 1184);

“As literature is authentic text, the activities used with literary texts 'are genuine language activities, not ones contrived around a fabricated text' (Long, 1986: 58). (…) they also give students the satisfaction of knowing that they are reading literary texts in their original form (Ur, 1996: 155), which, on the other hand, helps build their reading confidence and gives them assurance in their ability to use the language.” (p. 1184);

“(…) by discussing linguistic choices, syntactic structures, rhetorical organization, tone and so on, students are trained to think not only about what the text means but also how the meaning is achieved, which leads to ‘a heightened awareness of how language can mean, how its resources can be exploited to express different perspectives on familiar reality’ (Widdowson, 1992: 32).” (p. 1184);
Finally, if students want to continue to learn the language after completing their formal education, they will have to use the skills, strategies and habits they have acquired while learning the language in the classroom (Allen, 1983: 82). (…), offering learners opportunities to develop the necessary reading skills will equip them for autonomous and self-directed learning. In Barnett’s words, ‘authentic texts are vital; they motivate students, offer a real context, transmit the target language culture, and prepare students to read outside the classroom’ (Barnett, 1989: 145).” (p. 1184).

5.      Active involvement of learners

One of the benefits of using literature in the language classroom is that it encourages 'dynamic learning - (…), literary texts ‘have potential for meaning’ which can only be realized in the interaction between the text and the reader (Wallace, 1992: 39). (…). Language development cannot occur if students are only passive recipients of the teacher’s input.” (p. 1184);

In order to make sense of the text, readers have to ask questions, make predictions, form hypotheses, use their imagination, background knowledge and personal experience until they arrive at a satisfactory interpretation, (…)." (p. 1184);

“What is important is not the result of the interpretation but the processes involved in arriving at that interpretation. The ultimate goal is not understanding that particular text, but developing procedures for understanding similar texts that learners may choose to read outside the classroom.” (p. 1184);

“The active involvement of the learners in interpreting the text through noticing, inferencing, negotiation, interaction and imaginative involvement promotes language acquisition.” (p. 1184);

6.      Extensive reading

A valuable contribution of teaching literature is that it serves as a gateway to extensive reading which increases students exposure to the target language. (…). Sinclair (1996: 142) argues that when teaching literature, the role of the teacher is to help students ‘gradually develop the capacity for selecting English texts according to their own preferences and interests, as well as dealing with and understanding the language, discourse, style, form and contexts of these texts’.” (p. 1185);

“Hedge (2000: 204) summarizes the benefits of extensive reading as follows: ‘Learners can build their language competence, progress in their reading ability, become more independent in their studies, acquire cultural knowledge, and develop confidence and motivation to carry on learning.” (p. 1185);

“Reading authentic literary texts outside the classroom is highly desirable for foreign language learners because it increases the exposure to the target language, reveals unusual and unexpected uses of the language, stimulates language acquisition and provides a motivating and enjoyable way of learning the language.” (p. 1185).

7.      Conclusion

Using literature as a resource offers teachers possibilities for basing language learning activities on materials that can stimulate greater interest and involvement than is the case with other texts (Carter and Long, 1991: 3). Duff and Maley (1990: 6) formulate three types of justification for using literary texts: linguistic, methodological and motivational.” (p. 1185);

“Literary texts enrich the language input in the classroom and stimulate language acquisition by providing 'meaningful and memorable contexts for processing and interpreting new language'." (p. 1185);

"Using literary texts in the language classroom can make the students more aware of the language they are learning, help them develop skills and strategies they can apply in many different situations and contexts, increase their interest and motivation, and make the learning of the language a more enjoyable and worthwhile experience." (p. 1186). 

terça-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2017

Fichamento 01 – "Use of literature in teaching English"

Por Camila Dias da Silva e Jenny Yoshioka.

KESHAVARZI, Abdollah. Use of literature in teaching English. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 46, 2012, p. 554-559. Available in Access in February, 14th.

Teachers in general and English teachers specifically, are always concerned with the kind of material they are going to present to their students. One of the most challenging kinds of material for English classes is literature. Although some scholars have pointed out to the shortcoming of literature use in practice, it is so vast and so practicable that instructors cannot stop using it. Language learning requires acquiring four skills of reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking. Some sources provide materials that can meet some of these abilities, but literature has proved a good source that fulfills these four skills. Also, language learning deals with culture, and hence with social understanding. It is this feature of language that demands materials dealing with culture. Literature is culture; that is, it is not to say that literature deals with culture, but it should be said that literature is the culture of the people using that language. Besides, it can be claimed that the use of literature in language classes encourages more thoughtful and purposeful language learning. In this respect, the learners are not only exposed to the real use of language, but also they become critical thinkers. As such, the present paper will debate the reasons behind using literature as a good source in teaching English language.

Palavras-chave: Literature; English language; Culture; Language four skills.

1.      Introduction

“Choosing appropriate texts is the first step to teaching English in the ESL/EFL classroom. (…). An important goal of education is equipping learners with materials to improve their own futures and become contributing members of their own society, rather than burdens on society and others. (…). A vast part of this material comes from literature.” (p. 554);

“(…) language teachers are regarded as carriers of cultural messages, and understanding a language necessitates understanding its culture. In other words, an appreciation of certain key cultural concepts is required for a true understanding of the language being learnt.” (p. 555).

2.      Discussion

“Since literature is related to real-life situations, it deals with accurate diction. (…). Also, since literature deals with different moods as well as situations, it is prevalent with diverse forms of sentences. (…). As such, literature contains all these various forms of use of language. Besides, passion has its own value in literature. When reading literature texts, the reader is engaged with this passionate aspect of the text. (…) What is important is that conflict resolution and communication strategies are best mediums to create learning environment for engagement.” (p. 555);

“Language is associated with culture. That is, language is the carrier of cultural messages. As such, literature is very significant when employed in teaching a language. Literature is culture.” (p. 555);

“Undoubtedly, ‘the English curriculum is a place for enjoying and reflecting on… cultural resources, debating their values, and imagining and designing… futures’ (Goodwyn, 2009: 12).” (p. 555);

“(…) teachers should consider language as entailing social acceptability, that is, they should look to English classroom as carrying resemblance with the outside language. Besides, non-native students need to be exposed to various literary texts in order to be able to consider the other’s culture in their international communication.” (p. 556);

“(…) by culture, students explore hidden facets of English speaking culture. (…). The piece of literary work entertains and opens the eyes of students as they see how other people think, interpret, and act on a variety of things, especially those things ESL students are familiar with.” (p. 556);

“Literature is a good source for English language learners to develop inner speech. It is literature that provides them the source for internalization of various verbal practices of the community, and the learner is enabled to ‘think words’ and to be engaged in mental rehearsal and internal self-talks. Therefore, literature encourages more thoughtful and purposeful language learning. It exposes the learners to the real use of language.” (p. 556);

“Literature helps in incorporation of linguistic competence into communicative competence by putting language into use in different social situations.” (p. 556);

“Use of literature in English classrooms makes the learners focus on the meaning (Mourão, 2009). In this sense, language becomes a means for its own real function. It is not just a means for practice. Language becomes a means in the hands of learners and manipulated by them to use their background knowledge to understand authentic texts, (…).” (p. 556);

“(…) the focus is ‘on the process rather than product’, the emphasis is on ‘negotiation rather than pre-determination’, and the teacher ‘acts as facilitator’ and ‘not just instructor’ (17).” (p. 556);

“Literature develops learners strategies; they listen and read for general meaning, predict and guess the meaning of unfamiliar words. (…). Literature helps students to go beyond the surface meaning and dive into underlying meanings; that is, it enables students to go beyond what is written and dive into what is meant.” (p. 557);

“Literature provides the kind of subject matter that has the power to motivate learners and help them in exploring the possibilities of usages and meaning that enhances their language competence in a great way. (…). Literature evokes feelings through words, pulls learners out of the graded grammatical forms and helps them to communicate in a way that attracts language learning.” (p. 557);

“A main factor of learning process is the promotion of reflective thinking in the learner. A reflective process, or reflective thinking, is considered a critical component of transformative learning for learners (Kember et al., 1999; Mezirow, 1991). (…). This way, learners reflect on their own experiences and compare how their experiences are similar to or different from their expectations. (…) uses the language to communicate with his elders, to satisfy his demands, to attract the others, and to interact with those around himself. Literature creates exactly the same environment for the English learner.” (p. 557).

3.      Conclusion

Literature is intellectually stimulating because it allows a reader to imagine worlds they are not familiar with." (p. 557);
“(…) literary texts help them to acquire the language as a means of communication.” (p. 558);

“When English is taught through literature, it creates the power of self-belief in students, and hence, influences learner’s behaviors, motivation and attitudes towards English language learning.” (p. 558).