Approaches to using literature (PPP)

Approaches to Using
in the classroom
Literature means those novels, short stories, plays
and poems which convey their message by paying
considerable attention to language which is rich and
3 basic approaches
1. a language-based approach
2. a content-based approach
3. literature for personal enrichment
1. A language-based approach
• material is chosen for the way it illustrates certain stylistic
features of the language but also for its literary merit
 integration of language and literature syllabuses
 detailed analysis of the language helps students to make
meaningful interpretations or informed evaluations of it
 increase of general awareness and understanding of English
 encouragement to draw on existing knowledge of grammatical,
lexical or discoursal categories to make aesthetic judgements
of the text
2. A content-based approach
• texts are selected for their importance as part of a literary canon or
 concentration on history, the characteristics of literary
movements, the social, political, historical background,
literary genres and rhetorical devices
3. Literature for personal
• material is chosen on the basis of whether it is appropriate to students’
interests and will stimulate a high level of personal involvement
• material is often organised thematically (German: Unterrichtsreihe), and
may be placed alongside non-literary materials which deal with a similar
 literature as a tool for encouraging students to draw on their own
personal experiences, feelings, and opinions
 it helps students to become more actively involved both intellectually
and emotionally and hence aids acquisition
 excellent stimulus for groupwork
The NRW curriculum
Englisch Sekundarstufe II : Gymnasium/Gesamtschule (p. 30) says
the following about dealing with literary texts:
By dealing with exclusively authentic and thematically as well as
structurally complex literary texts, the students deal with demanding topics,
get to know different structural patterns, analyse examples of differentiated
uses of language, elaborate aesthetic effects and intentions while at the
same time taking into account factors that are external to the text, and are
asked to re-cast texts and create their own ones.
Which of the above-mentioned approach(es) can you find
What does that mean for your own (future) teaching?
A language-based approach to
using literature
Handout 1: Activities
Stylistics in the classroom
Stylistics is part of a language-based approach to using
Stylistics, which involves a close study of the literary
text itself, has two main objectives:
(1) to enable students to make meaningful
interpretations of the text itself;
(2) to expand students’ knowledge and awareness
of the language in general.
• Traditional practical criticism:
 students are presented with a text and expected to arrive
spontaneously at an appreciation of its literary qualities
 no explicit guidance as to how this is to be done
 differences in the linguistic, cultural and literary
backgrounds between a native speaker and a language learner
→ intuitions about the language may differ considerably
 being expected to appreciate a text without being given a clear
strategy for doing so → boredom, mystification,
Enable students to reach an aesthetic
appreciation of a text which connects its
specific linguistic features with intuitions
about its meanings.
Stylistics is such a way, as it uses linguistic
analysis to understand how messages are
Analysing a text for classroom
• objective: to design activities for our students
which use stylistic analysis;
• we ourselves need a procedure or strategy for
analysing the text;
• one possible procedure which involves two main
Step 1
While looking at a particular text, note down any
linguistic features which are particularly
These features may be noticeable because
 they recur with unexpected frequency in the text;
 they deviate slightly from what might be
considered grammatically or lexically usual;
 if these features were paraphrased or rewritten in
a slightly different way, a very different effect
would be created.
Step 2
Develop a series of questions which alert
students to these features, and encourage
them to reach an interpretation or
appreciation of the text bearing these features
in mind.
A two-step procedure for
stylistic analysis
Handout 2: Example & Task
Preparation for next week
Please read pp. 35-38 and pp. 41-43 in: Gillian
Lazar (1993), Literature and Language Teaching.
(reserved reading shelf).