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Literature in the English lessons of German elementary schools - demonstrated at the example of Julia Donaldsons and Axel Schefflers book "The Gruffalo" (1999)

Term Paper 2005 13 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Literature

Excerpt

Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Definition
2.1 Principles about literature in foreign language lessons
2.2 The choice of different types of literature
2.3 Literature in the English lessons of German elementary schools

3 Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler “The Gruffalo” (1999)
3.1 Text analysis
3.2 Why to create a lesson on „The Gruffalo
3.3 Practical phase at a fourth grade of a German elementary school
3.4 Reflection

4 Conclusion

5 Bibliography

1 Introduction

Since English has become a part of the curriculum of German elementary schools already, methods of teaching had and still have to be found to make the young pupils get into touch with the foreign language.

The method of teaching as well as the according educational aids should cause the desire of learning and working with the English language.

In the history of education teachers of foreign languages have never been so knowledgeable about what to do in the classroom, or have had so many advanced tools at their disposal to help their pupils learn. [1]

But since the children in third grade are just about eight or nine years old when they get into touch with the English language for the first time, the teacher has to choose his subjects of instruction and his educational aids very carefully so his / her lessons make it possible for all the pupils to achieve a basic knowledge of the foreign language.

According to the title of the seminar I visited (“Poems in the Language Classroom”), I am going to talk about literature and in detail poetry as one important tool concerning language teaching. Emphasizing this importancy, I am going to present the results of an English lesson at a forth grade of a German elementary school that I created about Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s book “The Gruffalo” (1999).

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1 cf. Danesi, Marcel. Second Language Teaching. A view from the right side of the brain.

Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. (2003), Preface.

2 Definition

2.1 Principles about literature in foreign language lessons

Why should a teacher use literary texts within classes? One of the main reasons might be that literature offers a huge and extremely varied body of written material which says something about fundamental issues, and which is enduring rather than ephemeral. Literature is authentic material which means that most works of literature are not fashioned for the specific purpose of teaching a language.[2]

Travel timetables, city plans, cartoons or magazine articles are only a few examples which underline the authentic appearance of material in the classroom context.

Literature is a valuable complement to those materials. In reading literary texts, pupils also have to cope with language intended for native speakers and thus they achieve familiarity with a lot of different linguistic uses, forms and conventions of the written mode: with irony, argument, narration for example.[3]

This broadens and enriches their own writing skills. Besides that literature might be best seen as a possibility to increase the foreign language learner’s insight into the country whose language is being learnt. It can also be helpful in the language learning process because of the personal involvement it fosters in readers.

When a novel, play or short story is explored over a period of time, the result is that the reader begins to ‘inhabit’ the text. He or she is drawn into the book. Pinpointing what individual words or phrases may mean becomes less important than pursuing the development of the story.[4]

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2.2 The choice of different types of literature

The criteria of suitability of literature for use with language learners depend ultimately on each particular group of students, their interests, cultural background and language level.

If it is meaningful and enjoyable, reading is to have a lasting effect upon the learners’ linguistic and cultural knowledge. Therefore it is very important to choose novels, plays or poems which are congruent to the life experiences, emotions, or dreams of the pupils normal reading proficiency. That is why it is well worth the time spent in trying to hit a good match between a particular group of learners and the literary work they will be asked to read.

A brief summary of two or three possibilities or holding questionnaires on interests of the children could be a helpful way of proceeding in this case.[5]

The course components that should be followed by working with literature can be summarized as follows:

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According to these components and the learner’s level the teacher can decide whether it would be more suitable to deal with prose texts or poetry.

[...]


[1] cf. Danesi, Marcel. Second Language Teaching. A view from the right side of the brain.

[2] cf. Collie, Joanne & Slater, Stephen. Literature in the Language Classroom. A resource book of ideas and activities. Cambridge: Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers. (1987), p. 3.

[3] cf. ibid., p.4.

[4] cf. ibid., pp. 5 – 6.

Details

Pages
13
Year
2005
ISBN (eBook)
9783638592758
File size
504 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v66895
Institution / College
University of Cologne
Grade
2,3
Tags
Literature English German Julia Donaldsons Axel Schefflers Gruffalo Poems

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Title: Literature in the English lessons of German elementary schools - demonstrated at the example of Julia Donaldsons and Axel Schefflers book "The Gruffalo" (1999)