literature in the EFL classroom with specific reference to
children's literature and literature and film - by Emma Metcalf
- lesson plan 1
To develop reading strategies: inferring meaning from context.
In turn this will promote learner autonomy in that the questions
I have asked the students are the type of questions the students
should be asking themselves when faced with a difficult text.
To encourage students to read a wide variety of texts in English
and how reading children´s literature or popular fiction
is still a valid source of text to learn from.
To expose students to some authentic texts which contain colloquial
Aims: Promoting peer teaching in the classroom as well
as team work since students will have to work together in
order to negotiate the meaning of the various vocabulary items.
fit: The previous lesson looked at men and women and the
texts I will be looking at focus on male and female 'issues.'
My colleague will follow my lesson by looking at textual patterns
in short stories, thereby keeping within the framework of
literature, but focusing more on discourse rather than individual
The students will have heard about Bridget Jones´Diary
because of recent release of the film. Some students may have
also read it in Spanish. Students probably have not read lots
of books in English for pleasure.
problems: The vocabulary I have focused on is difficult
and therefore, as students are working out the meaning, I
will be closely monitoring and I will step in if I feel they
need more help.
Class profile: Class generally made up of young professionals,
although one older man, Troyano, is present. Students often
arrive late and tired because they have been working all day.
It is important to keep the pace up in class, changing activities
fairly frequently to make sure they do not 'drift off.' Students
are also receiving the lessons for free,therefore it may be
tempting to skip a few classes. The group, so far, consists
of the following:
A lawyer who mainly uses English when reading legal documents.
She appears quite serious but participates well, especially
with pair work.
Montse: Works in an electrical company. Very happy and responsive
student, often the first to volunteer an answer. Pronunciation
Troyano: Eldest in group but works well with peers and can
be very funny! Has quite a wide range of vocabulary but often
not appropriate to context. Has a tendency to ask a lot of
questions and can sometimes interrupt and talk over other
Beatriz: Fully participates in activities though sometimes
does not listen to teacher. Very bubbly. Fluent but this presides
over accuracy. Very motivated.
Antonio: Works well in group and a very good level. Asks intelligent
questions and is happy to explain things to peers if they
have any problems. Has lived in Britain for one year.
Africa: Good level and likes grammar! Also interested in business
English. Again, works well with peers.
Pablo: Good level. Reads a lot of English. Gives the impression
that he is a busy business man so maybe time to study may
be a problem for him.
Yolanda: Very personable. Colloquial/informal vocabulary very
good as lived in London for a while. Has a Greek boyfriend
with whom she communicates in English because he does not
Rocio: Recently joined group. Very good level. Has travelled
to Britain and to Ireland and wants to return to Britain once
she has finished her degree. Extremely motivated.
Short extracts taken from Bridget Jones´Diary (Fielding,
1997, pp.57-59) and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Townsend,
1982, pp. 16-17)
Ideas to include for writing a diary entry, in White and Arndt´s
Process Writing (1991, p.63)
have chosen to use literature for this experimental lesson
because I have always been interested in incorporating it
in my classes, but I have never really thought about how to
do it. I have decided to look at reading strategies with a
focus on using context to infer meaning. It may be argued
that, at advanced level, students have already developed reading
strategies. However, from my experience, most students do
not read outside of class as much as they should do. If they
do read in English then it is often the case that they have
to do it, rather than they want to do it. Most of the texts
they are exposed to are probably work-related (most of the
group are young professionals) and therefore fairly technical.
This particular group also use the internet a lot which is
a useful medium for English but many of the texts contain
spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar. I have chosen the
text Bridget Jones´s Diary because it is very topical
at the moment with the recent release of the film. I thought
it might be interesting for the students to see the text in
its original version. Many of the issues in the book are 'women
related' and there is high proportion of females in this group.
The second text I have chosen is The Secret Diary of Adrian
Mole because firstly it takes the perspective of a man. Secondly,
the format is the same (a diary.) Finally, because it is a
children´s book, I thought it might be more accessible
for my students. I also wanted to choose texts that were funny
to make the lesson more light-hearted. Finally, the diary
entries are manageable 'chunks' of text to look at, which
solves the problem of looking at too much text in a short
period of time.
want to find out what kinds of books my students are interested
in reading and therefore using the book reviews seems the
logical place to start. When the students read the reviews
they will then give their opinion on whether the books described
sound interesting to them. This will hopefully lead on to
a quick discussion about whether students read books in English
(if so, which ones?) and what the advantages are of reading
in English for improving their general English language.
next stage of the lesson will help students predict the personality
of the main character in each of the books. By looking at
the New Year´s Resolutions students can decide whether
the characters are male or female, what habits they have and
which things are important for them. This part can be personalised
as I can ask the students if they write New Year´s Resolutions
and what they are. Students can also establish the format
of the texts they will be reading as most New Year´s
Resolutions are written in diaries.
want to do some reading for specific information before students
start looking at the vocabulary so they can have a clearer
idea of who the main character is and how their current situation
stands. Because I am only using an extract from each book,
the students need this 'background' information before trying
to work out what the vocabulary items mean. Therefore, the
students read the text and fill in the 'biographical' details
about their character. Because some of the details are not
really obvious in the texts, I will encourage the students
to compare their answers before they start work on the vocabulary.
of the vocabulary items I have chosen to look at are quite
colloquial which I think is useful for advanced students.
I want the students to work together when deciding on the
meaning of the items basically because it will be easier for
them and the communication that takes place between them is
genuine. I will monitor carefully and be available to help
only if the students ask for it. The final activity of exchanging
information and explaining the meaning of the words to each
other is important because peer teaching is taking place,
changing the focus to learner centredness rather than the
focus being on the teacher who imparts the information.
think the homework of writing the next diary entry is fun
and a useful way to perhaps incorporate some of the vocabulary
already looked at in class.
page 2 of 3 - the lesson procedure
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