Reading stories and making connections
We will read together a traditional story, retold at lower B1 level (from which country it comes will be a surprise!) and think about what connections we can encourage learners to make. We will explore the story’s connections with other stories as well as ‘real life’, and evaluate the kinds of activities which reveal these connections.
The overall aim is to take a traditional folk tale from Korea (often called ‘The Tiger’s Whisker’) and to explore how, after reading it, learners can be encouraged to explore the connections it suggests, such as intertextual connections with other narratives, connections with the real world, and so on.
Following a standard pre-reading strategy, the presenter will first show participants two illustrations from the story and ask them to predict the plot of story (the chatbox will be used here). But this procedure has a further agenda to that of encouraging prediction: very probably participants’ predictions will be predicated on other folkloric narratives they know, and this will provide an excellent introductory example of how we inevitably ‘map’ narratives on what we know, automatically making connections.
Then we will read the story and participants will briefly brainstorm what they think are the most obvious features to exploit in class.
The presenter will then show participants a list of elements that indicate connections that can be made. The list (not intended as exhaustive) will include: intertextuality (in particular with reference to characters, plot and themes); connections to the real world (places, objects and events); connections to the learners’ own lives. Participants will suggest which of the connections seem to them the most productive and stimulating to explore (the poll and chatbox facilities will be used here).
The presenter will then show participants some activity types which are intended to facilitate the connection-making process, which participants will be invited to rank and then discuss.
A graduate in English literature from Oxford University, Robert taught in Spain, Greece and England before moving to Italy. He taught English for many years at the universities of Verona and Milan and is now an author and teacher-trainer. He speaks at TESOL, IATEFL and British Council conferences worldwide and is coordinator of the IATEFL Literature Special Interest Group.