Prezentare lucrare metodico stiintifica gr.i

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  • 1. “Radu Vlădescu” Theoretical High School Pătârlagele April 9th, 2009
  • 2. “Female Characters vs. Victorian Values in English and American Literature”Coordonator ştiinţific : Conf. dr. TOMA Irina Prof. FRINCULEASA Emilia
  • 3. CONTENTSArgumentA THEORETICAL OVERVIEW1. Victorianism and its values2. Four female characters against Victorian values: Tess D’Urbervilles, Jane Eyre, IsabelArcher and Hester Prynne3. Feminism vs. VictorianismAPPROACHES TO TEACHING LITERATURE4.1. The role of literature inside and outside the English classroom4.2. Teaching literature - types of activities4.2.1. The Portraits of the Ladies: teaching character description4.2.2. Using literary quotes4.2.3. Debates in the literature classroom4.2.4. Biographies : a way of raising students’ interest4.2.5. Learning with literary translations4.3. From novels to movies and into the classroom (gains & losses)4.4. Evaluating literary skills through essays, project-work activities, portfolios, selfassessment and web pages4.5. Teaching moral values : a cross-curricular approach with Counselling and Orientation4.5.1. Character assessment and character improvement4.5.2. Literature for character (in) formation4.5.3. Why these four novels in particular?4.5.4. Setting the scene: the role of the teacher4.5.5. Types of activitiesConclusionsAppendices : 4 Lesson PlansBibliography 3
  • 4. Aims:- to develop character features and values such as tolerance,empathy, dignity, respect, integrity, non-discrimination – with thehelp of four Victorian novels- to enable the Ss to become critical thinkers, capable ofdiscerning between the relativity of moral conventions ,acknowledge the permanence of moral values and identifydifferent facets of morality- to provide the Ss with moral dilemmas and different historicalcontexts and life- styles in order to increase their acceptance ofdiversity and cultivate more open - minded attitudes, characteristicto the 21st century- to familiarize the Ss with the stories of Tess D’Urbervilles, JaneEyre, Isabel Archer and Hester Prynne 4
  • 5. 4.1.The role of literature inside and outside the English classroom- literature has a deep, personal, emotional andintellectual impact upon the reading students(it stimulates reflective responses and individualperceptions)- literature provides valuable cultural insight- literature is an agent for language learning- literature is a vehicle for educational developmentand improvement 5
  • 6. Is Character Education necessary?Today’s children need to build a strong character because, justlike the characters of Hardy, Brontë, James and Hawthorne:- they are living in a society of reversed and contradictory values- they need to to be guided by a credible and moral authority(the teacher)- they often have to cope with challenges they are not preparedfor by their parents, a few (modern) obstacles of adolescencebeing: peer pressure, failure, depression, juvenile delinquency,alcohol and drug abuse problems, pregnancy, social and genderdiscrimination, racism, prejudices, intolerance etc 6
  • 7. Character Education- creates a necessary culture of character- prevents, rather than solves, behavioural and attitudinalproblems- can be taught with the help of fictional heroes ( who become rolemodels/ an inspiration for our Ss)- informs the Ss about controversial issues, such as sexuality,violence, depression, prejudice, discrimination etc.- provides the Ss with the necessary information in order to dealwith these issues later in real life situations- develops students’ moral reasoning skills so necessary for ameaningful and dignified existence 7
  • 8. Teaching morality with the help of literature“Will my Ss choose to “do the right thing” after leaving theclassroom?”They may if…- they are provided with the right knowledge to face theirresponsibilities and make moral decisions in life- they are given the possibility to fully examine the moralgrowth of other characters - fictional or real ones- as readers, they examine their own moral values whilewondering what they would have done under the samecircumstances 8
  • 9. Teaching morality with the help of literatureThe ethical themes and dilemmas in these four novels addressboth the female and the male students of today.Each main episode of these four stories is able to awake the moralimagination of all students, regardless of gender, age and evenlevel of English competence.The young reader who is engaged in the personalized journey ofinitiation, which is the reading of a novel, eventually emerges abetter character.Since every reader is influenced to a certain extent by his/herreadings, timing becomes an important issue to address by theteacher as, sometimes, the Ss are faced with similar choices tooearly in life (before reading the book) or they read the novel toolate (after taking the wrong decision). 9
  • 10. 4.2.Teaching literature - types of activities1. Teaching character description2. Using literary quotes3. Debates in the literature classroom4. Biographies : a way of raising students’ interest5. Learning with literary translations 10
  • 11. 4.4. Evaluating literary skills • essays • project-work activities • portfolios • self-assessment • web pages 11
  • 12. 4.5. Teaching moral values : a cross- curricular approach with Counselling and OrientationThe Curriculum for the English language focuses not only on general andspecific language skills, but also on values and attitudes like:- understanding the contribution of English to contemporary culture- accepting differences and manifesting tolerance- perceiving stereotypes and fighting against them- developing autonomous, critical and reflexive thinking through receptionof a variety of texts in English etcSince Romanian schools can afford a rather reduced number of Englishclasses, alternative possibilities to compensate for this “lack of time”involve the areas of cross-curricular and extracurricular activities.A symbiotic relationship can be established between English (literature)and Counselling and Orientation, a Curriculum component responsiblewith character formation and preparing students for life. 12
  • 13. 4.5.1. Character assessment & Character improvementIn order to teach character following methodologicalstandards and improve students’ value systems, theirmorality has to be evaluated first. Afterwards, the students need to be provided with:• character - improving experiences able to shape theirmentality• teaching material which articulates ethical values anddilemmas and promotes commonsensical attitudes likedecency, discipline, integrity, self-esteem, respect etc.• the right circumstances which will enable them torecognize and blame negative behaviour and attitudes,praise and proliferate positive aspects and make informeddecisions in life• standards, alternatives and encouragement to respondin a positive, responsible way to similar circumstances 13
  • 14. Character AssessmentBefore trying to fix a character flaw or improve character in general,Ss’ problems or weaknesses as well as the threats to their characterdevelopment should be identified.In order to assess and build Ss’ character with the help of thefour novels, they are asked to complete a grid before and after reading/studying each novel, to record the improvement rate.The purpose of the following survey is to evaluate the cognitive,attitudinal and behavioural perceptions related to characterdevelopment, the most common targets being the prosocial values oftolerance, responsibility, kindness, obedience, forgiveness, altruism,respect for self and others, maturity. 14
  • 15. Character Assessment Grid (for Initial and Final Surveys) 10TH Grade: 30 Students Choose the most appropriate number to express your point of view:No. Moral Dilemma/Statement 0 1 2 3 4 51 What opportunities are there for you to forgive someone for something bad 1 6 7 9 5 1 they did in the past? (relatively to Angel Clare and Tess)2 What opportunities are there for you to forgive someone who committed an 20 8 2 - - - impardonable sin like murder ? (relatively to Tess D’urbervilles)3 What opportunities are there for you to consider that men are better than 13 4 1 5 4 1 women? (relatively to Angel Clare)4 What opportunities are there for you to urge your husband to marry your 25 3 1 1 - - younger sister after your death? (relatively to Tess D’urbervilles)5 What opportunities are there for you to sacrifice your happiness and dignity - - 3 7 9 11 for the well-being of your brothers and sisters? (relatively to Tess D’urbervilles)6 What opportunities are there for you to baptize your own child in order to 21 5 - 1 2 1 keep his/her illegitimacy a secret? (relatively to Tess D’urbervilles)7 What opportunities are there for you to marry a man who seduced you? 22 5 1 2 - - (relatively to Tess D’urbervilles) Gender discrimination and prejudices: the double standard 15
  • 16. Female Character Values(Moral) Values Tess Jane Isabel Hester1. Natural simplicity √ √2. Beauty √ √ √3. Gentleness √ √ √ √4. Responsibility √ √5. Self-sacrifice for the sake of √ √family6. Sincerity √7. Dignity √ √ √ √8. Self-control √ √ √9. Determination √ √ √10. Commitment √ √ √ √ 16
  • 17. Female Character Values(Moral) Values Tess Jane Isabel Hester11. Imagination √ √ √12. Strength of character √ √13. Independence √ √ √ √14. Courage √ √ √15. Forgiveness √ √ √16. Sense of humour √17. Patience √ √18. Faith √ √19. Modernity √ √ √20. Wit/Education √ √ √ 17
  • 18. 4.5.3.Why these 4 characters?Students sympathise with these female protagonists because:- they all choose or are persuaded to leave their native setting in searchof something- they are all pioneer spirits , causing strong public reactions within thenovels and among the readers everywhere- they all go and grow through strong conflicts eg conflicts between the protagonists and the other characters which generate emotional turmoil, anxiety and physical distress , conflicts between the protagonists and the society of their times and also conflicts of the protagonists with themselves, internal conflicts with their own morals in order to reach a certain decision- all these novels introduce the students to real-life values incontexts which are realistic and comprehensible 18
  • 19. 4.5.4. Setting the scene: the role of the teacherDeveloping participatory skills and moral values depends on theatmosphere in which the activities are performed. While teaching a novel,the instructor re-creates the social setting of the book in which, if thestudents feel relaxed and confident, they will be motivated to assume anactive role.Mutual trust, respect and open mindedness are essential attitudes whenit comes to genuine engaging in purposeful learning.A context of shared responsibilities between the T and the Ss, withreduced authority from the part of the T, will meet even the mostunexpected needs and positive results on both sides as far as fightingprejudices and stereotypes is concerned.Teaching, just like learning character, can be a long process requiringcareful selection, flexibility, willingness and effective, genuinecommunication.To integrate these four reading texts into the classroom with the purposeof building character, especially moral values, the teacher has to designthought-provoking, stimulating and problem-solving activities that willengage the students both intellectually and emotionally. 19
  • 20. Types of activitiesfor building moral values with the help of literature• question-answer exchanges• role play• simulation• improvisation and dramatization• discussions• problem-solving activities 20
  • 21. The question-answer exchange encourages the Ss to understand question-answer relationships, develop strategies, synthesize their knowledge, speculate, make judgements and justify them 1. Why did Tess accept to go and claim kinship with theD’Urbervilles ? 2. Would you have made the same choice Angel madewhen he found out Tess’s dark secret? Why? Why not? 3. What must Jane have felt when she discovered Mr.Rochester was married? 4. Why did Jane run away from Mr. Rochester? 5. What do you know/ think about Gilbert Osmond? 6. Do you think Isabel eventually left her husband? Why?Why not? 7. Why doesn’t Pearl recognize her mother without thescarlet letter? 8. What would you have done if you had been RogerPrynne? 21
  • 22. Role play and simulation activitiesencourage the learners to engage into effective interpersonal relations and use their social skills to perform a task eg if the general objective of a lesson is “to help the Ss becomemore emphatic, more tolerant and learn to look at a situation frommany perspectives”, one possible way to “teach” this would be toask two students to choose two characters from a novel they haveread and act out an imaginary dialogue in front of the class. Theconversation will involve: - initiative - imagination - real-world language and skills - factual information from the novel - the students’ personal points of view The objective will definitely be reached only after we have askedthe students to exchange their roles and look at the sametopic/conflict from a different perspective. That will definitelyincrease both the leading pair’s and the audience’s empathy leveland understanding of alterity. 22
  • 23. Improvisation and dramatization require facing hypothetical situations with instant and plausible results through participation, cooperation, criticalthinking etc, releasing the Ss’ creative potential, spontaneity and enthusiasm, emphasizing a deeper understanding ofthemselves, of others and of the moral content of a situation. 1. Tess is your best friend and she visits you before/aftershe commits murder 2. Hester Prynne has just arrived in your class to face trial 3. Thomas Hardy wants advice about how he should endthe novel 4. Isabel Archer asks Gilbert Osmond for divorce 5. Jane Eyre gives an interview to “Teen” Magazine 6. Angel Clare faces Alec d’Urberville 7. Roger Prynne forgives Hester Prynne and ArthurDimmesdale 8. Two female characters meet to share experience 23
  • 24. Discussions - teacher-controlled or student-led, in smaller or class-large groups, are another way of raising students’ interest and making them develop serious reflection, communication and understanding1. Tess’s pursuance by Alec should be labelled “a case ofsexual harassment”.2. Should people of different background/ social classes/education decide to get married?3. Orphans had better be raised by relatives than by institutions.4. Children born outside of marriage are not happy.5. Victorian education was better than contemporary education.6. Individual happiness depends on the social and historicalcontexts.7. Gender equality is an utopian concept.8. Forgiveness cannot be granted without repentance. 24
  • 25. Problem-solving activities prepare the Ss to face real or imaginary situations and use their minds to solve a problem. This activity type is generally intellectually demanding, but also useful and highly authentic as the Ss have to address real-world problemsStages for problem-solving activities:1. clarify the problem2. analyze its causes3. identify and assess the alternatives4. present the best solution to the problem 25
  • 26. ConclusionsLiterature motivates and helps the readers to develop critical thinking,encouraging them to express their opinions and feelings about the fictionalworld of books, much more easily than if they were to speak about actualpeople, characters and situations.The future of humankind depends on the value systems we build within ourfamilies and communities for physically, mentally, socially and ethicallydeveloped society members.Students need to develop the confidence that will allow them to articulate theirthoughts, feelings, needs and become better people and better advocates forthemselves in any context, no matter how challenging.Even if our resources are limited and there is a shortage of role models, it ishigh time we realized the full potential of literature not only in language learningor cultural understanding, but also in Character formation. 26
  • 27. Thank you all for being here!!! 27