Teaching Literature


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Teaching Literature

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Teaching Literature

  1. 1. Reading and Teaching Fiction
  2. 2. Key Ideas  Everyone is interested to know something about someoneand about the experiences of other people. Whenever we hear story that is all made-up and is not presented as objectively as possibloe, it is called fiction.
  3. 3. Key Idea   Because fiction is not factual, we are transported to a make-believe world. The world of fiction, however, resembles our world for we can see real-life characters that play roles in situations and places almost similar to our conditions and surroundings. Sometimes, we even see ourselves in the characters or we relate them to some reallife people we know. Since the beginning of time, human beings have taken pleasure in following and participating in the imaginary adventures and experience of imaginary people.
  4. 4. Key Ideas    The first stories belong to the realm of myth and legend – of origins and extraordinary events as our ancestors told about their wars, conquests, births, deaths, as well as the phenomena of nature. Thus, even before the invention of the printed page in the middle of the 15th century, oral literature, which included epics, myths, legends, and fables had been circulating by word-of-mouth for centuries. The elements of oral storytelling became the bases for all later narratives but with the invention of writing the basic form of the story changed. Fiction is any imaginative recreation and reconstruction of life. It includes short stories and novels. The novel and short story differ from each other only in length and complexity. The novel is made longer because of several complications and twists to its plot.
  5. 5. Fiction as a literary form is distinguishable because of its elements, which are as follows:   Setting is the time and location in which the story takes place. This also consists of the use of local colar that is defined as the superficial elements of setting, dialects and customs. Characters are the representations of a human being – the complex combination of both inner and outer self. There are five ways of revealing lietrary characters: 1. what the characters do along with the circumstances in which the do it. 2. how the characters are described – both by their persons and their environment.
  6. 6. 3. What the characters say and think 4. What other characters say about them 5. What the author says about them In addition fictional characters are classified ito two types namely: The round and flat characters. The round character is a dynamic, fully developed character that recognizes chnages with or adjusts to circumstances. The flat character does not grow and remains the same. This type of character exhibits conventional traits and is known as the stock or stereotype.
  7. 7.  Plot is the way the actions are arranged in the story. The following are examples of plotted stories: Linear actions or events arranged chronologically. This is the most common plot because it follows the natural order of events. Circular – this type of development combines linear with flasback. The opening scene will be repeated in the series toward or at the end. En medias res – the story begins in the middle part of the action.
  8. 8.    Point of view determines who tells the story. Omniscient point of view delves into the minds of the characters at any point in the story. First person point of view, the narrator may be the protagonist, an observer, a minor character, or the writer him/himself.
  9. 9.       These three types of plots are called closed plots because they normally follow the pyramid pattern of devlopment. The following aspects form the skeletal pattern of closed plots: Exposition lays out the main characters, their backgrounds, characteristics, interests, goals and limitations, potentials, and basic assumptions. Complication is the onset of the major conflict in the plot. Crisis is the point in which curiosity, uncertainty, and tension are greatest. Climax is the story’s highest point which may take the shape of a decision, an action, an affirmation, or a realization. Denoument is the finishing of things right after the climax.
  10. 10.  Theme is described as a significant truth about life and human nature that is illustrated in the actions, preoccupations, and decisions of the characters. Some principles in stating the theme of the story have to be observed: 1. It should be expressed in complete statements. 2. It must be stated as a generalization about life. 3. It must account for all major details of the story. 4. It may be stated in more than one way. 5. It should avoid statements that reduce the theme to some familiar saying or moral.
  11. 11.      Fiction follows a complex design. The narrative technique, point of view, and plot contribute to form patterns. Other elements like setting, characters, theme and conflict help develop a certain effect or unity. The language of fiction, which is as important as patterns and structures, relies on images and symbols. These images and symbols convey meaning that appeal to the senses, emotions, imagination and intellect. Images are usually characterized by concrete qualities rather than abstract meanings. They appeal to the senses of tastes, smell, feel, sound or sight. Symbolism can appear almost anywhere in fiction, in characters, plots, objects and situations. Symbols stand for something other than themselves. They bring to mind not their own concrete qualities but the idea or abstraction that is associated with them.
  12. 12.  Enjoyment is the first aim and justification of reading fiction. Unless fiction gives something more than pleasure, it hardly justifies itself as a subject of study. If fiction does not expand or refine our minds or quicken our sense of life, its value is not greater than watching a movie or playing basketball. Therefore, the reading and teaching of fiction must yield not only enjoyment but also understanding.
  13. 13.       The following strategies proposed by Purves and beach (1987) point out five basic categories of response strategies, for literature assignments that would contribute to student’s appreciations and understanding of short stories: Engaging: defining one’s emotional experience or relationship with a text. Connecting: relating similar experiences, attitudes, knowledge of other texts to the texts. Describing: describing the nature of a charactre’s acts, traits, beliefs, plans, goals or an author’s use of language. Interpreting: inferring, explaining or interpreting the symbolic meaning of acts, author’s intentions, character’s perspectives, themes, social norms, predictions, or difficulties in understanding the text. Judging: judging the characters ot the quality of the text.
  14. 14.  It is important to establish a number of ways in which a text can be explored. Role play, improvisation, creative writing, discussion, questionnaires, visuals and many other activities can help encourage and sustain the students’ interest in reading fiction specially the longer type of narrative which is the novel. Studen-centered activities are particularly important when working with students who are not literature speacialists and who may not as yet have developed the desire to read literature on their own initiative.
  15. 15.  Journal writing is a good example of an engaging task. The recording of experiences, ideas, insights, or reflections on a regular basis encourages students to articulate their ideas than merely restating or recasting information. In a study by Newell and Weingart (1986), students who were asked to write their own opinion about a text wrote significantly longer essays at a higher level of interpretation than did students who were assigned a definite topic.
  16. 16.  The more involved the students are in narrative writing, the better able they are to write. In the process of writing their journals, students become more aware of and begin to trust their own thinking processes. As their self-esteem increases, more students, including those reluctant writers, compose with passion and genuine interest.
  17. 17.  Alice Stalker suggests five ways to help firsttime journal users: • Explain the journal assignment in detail by using students’ examples as much as possible. • Set aside regular class time for journal writing as a way of establishing routine. • Stimulate journal writing through quotations , songs, poems, stories, etc. • Encourage disgressions in the entries. • Enclose clippings and cartoons and other trivia that the students may be familiar with.
  18. 18.  A show-and-tell activity provides opportunity for students to talk about their choice readings and share their journal entries on a vocabulary basis.
  19. 19.  Movie poster making is a novel way of discussing the important elements of fiction. Instead of the typical question and answer discussion, the students present their arguments with regard to their ‘production’ that is, their choice of performers, setting, costumes, and highlighting of events. In addition, their choice of illustration and ad blurb induicate their understanding of the theme. Overall, the students are more involved and interested.
  20. 20.  Overall, the reading and teaching of fiction or literature for that matter must take into consideration the following reasons: • Maintain interest and involvement by using a variety of student-centered activities. • Tap the resources of knowledge and experience of the students. • Help students explore their own responses.
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