CLANDFIELD, Lindsay. Teaching materials: using literature in the EFL/ESL classroom. Available in http://www.onestopenglish.com/methodology/teaching-articles/teaching-materials/teaching-materials-using-literature-in-the-efl/-esl-classroom/146508.article. 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: