Showing posts with label teaching literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching literature. Show all posts

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Teaching English Language through Literature - Teacher Resources

Teaching Language and Literature

Teacher Resources: The Teaching of Language through Literature

Above topics are taken from:
Literature and Language Teaching: A guide for teachers and trainers 
- by Gillian Lazar (1993, CUP)

Handouts - by Dr. Atanu Bhattacharya

Teaching Literature

Why teach literature for language classroom?

Sunday 11 May 2014

Teaching Literature through Technology: Play / Drama

As the use of technology in classroom is increasing day by day, it becomes important to make some serious observations on its usage and impact on the learners. I wish to write a trilogy of blog posts on poetry and fiction, as well. This is the first one one Play / Drama. 

Gujarat University, Ahmedabad

 I make extensive use of technology in my literature classes. The statement is not made in self-eulogy or from a sense of pride. I know, all teachers these days are using technology in their classrooms. So, it is neither new nor unique. Mine is just a humble attempt to see how far it works in the literature classrooms. And if I get some success with it, I am happy to share it with other teachers. This presentation was made for/in the Refresher Course in English Literature, organised by Academic Staff College, Gujarat University.
These were the points discussed with the help of various videos and select scenes from the stage performance of the plays:

Happy-Sad: Twin Masks
  • Literature is made up of words. Colours, visuals, musical notes etc have no space in the aesthetic delight which literature gives through words to the readers.
  • The use of visual mars the free play of imagination which words are capable of.
  • There should be no medium between the words and the reader - if the literature is to be relished.
  • But when it comes to plays, it becomes necessary to understand that plays are not meant to be read as poems or fictions are.
  • Plays are to be performed and visuals of the performance is to be relished. Words on the page are not enough to give the beauty of play - the aesthetic delight lies in viewing the performance, rather than in reading it. Though, reading a play is also equally satisfying.
  • To prove this point an interesting example is given in the presentation: refer to the slide on which Tom Stoppard and performance of 'The Tempest' is discussed.
  • Well, some interesting scenes from 'Doctor Faustus' by Christopher Marlowe, 'Hamlet' by Shakespeare, 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett, "The Birthday Party' by Harold Pinter were presented with important points. 
    All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players
  • It was proved that the nuances of plays lies in the acting, dialogue delivery, pauses, silences, stage spectacle and several other stage devices. Reading a play, never gives the satisfaction which viewing a performance gives.
  • However, in the classroom, while teaching the plays as texts, we cannot take students to the theatre to view the plays. Henceforth, we have bring in the video recordings of the play performances.
  • Hey, there is a rub! There is a problem. The problem is inherent in video recordings of the performance which happens through 'camera'.
  • This limitation is discussed in the slide on 'Camera as Technopoly'.
  • Your queries, observations, suggestion are welcome in the comments below this blogpost.

Dilip Barad: In deliberation with participants of RC, ASC, Guj. Uni

Questions on session by Dilip Barad on ‘Teaching Drama through Technology’.

1.      The word ‘theatre’ has Greek theatron < theasthai at the root of its meaning. What does it mean?
a.       To read
b.      To watch
c.       To peform
d.      To act
2.      Which of the following gives appropriate difference between ‘Play’ and ‘Drama’?
a.       Play is a literary composition consisting of dialogues between various characters, epilogue, monologue, prologue and an end. Drama is the set up of the play, which includes the theater, the hall, the accessories, the green room, costumes, music and the like.
b.      They are synonymous without any difference as such.
c.       Play is ‘performance text’ and Drama is ‘play text’
d.      Drama is a literary composition consisting of dialogues between various characters, epilogue, monologue, prologue and an end. Play is the set up of the play, which includes the theater, the hall, the accessories, the green room, costumes, music and the like.
3.      With reference to which play, Tom Stoppard explained the difference between the performance text and play text to prove the point that visual/spectacle of the play is more important than textual reading?
a.       The Tempest
b.      Othello
c.       Hamlet
d.      Ariel
4.      In movie adaptation of which of the following play director has replaced curtains with mirror?
a.       The Birthday Party
b.      Waiting for Godot
c.       Doctor Faustus
d.      Hamlet
5.      In which of the following play, the menacing effect of silence and pause is generated with the help of tearing sound of newspaper and no dialogue or background score?
a.       Hamlet
b.      The Tempest
c.       The Birthday Party
d.      Doctor Faustus
6.      In which of the following play’s stage performance the fight between Good Angel and Bad Angel is presented quite dramatically?
a.       Doctor Faustus
b.      Waiting for Godot
c.       The Birthday Party
d.    Hamlet

Friday 8 November 2013

How to teach poetry? : An Enigma!

(One of th M.Phil students Alpesh Parmar posted message on FB asking to share something on 'how to teach poetry?'... this note is written extempore for him... which may be helpful to others as well... I request all the readers of this note to contribute something by sharing your experince of teaching poetry by commenting on this note)

Dear Friends,
Teaching poetry is not everyone's cup of tea. There is no fun in the world as great as teaching it to those who love it... there is nothing as boring as teaching poetry to those who hate it. It is so because (to quote Yuri Lotman) - ‘A poem is both a system of rules, and a system of their violation’.

Reading/Teaching poetry is not as easy as one thinks. It necessisates undertanding of culture (in/for which it is written), history (historiography of metaphors, semantics etc) and above all linguistic competency.
Here is the list of books and websites which may help teachers and students in reading/teaching poetry:
  • Books:
  1. Terry Eagleton: How to read a poem? Blackwell Publisher (2006). TERRY EAGLETON’S book seeks to teach its readers how to read poems through a combination of literary history, theoretical discussion, and leading by example. The book develops a simple and unshowy working definition of poetry (‘a certain memorable or inventive use of language, and a moral insight into human existence’), but at the same time suggests a correspondence between the best poetry and a kind of productive contradiction … (read Jonathan Baines's  full article on
  2. I.A. Richards: Pratical Criticism (1920) From his practical experiments into 'reading poems' at Cambidge University, I A Richards drew 'a list of principle difficulties that may be encountered by any reader in the presence of any poem. This analysis was in part intended to develop educational method to teach poetry in the classroom. (read Robert Shaffer's full article on
  3. Elaine Showalter: Teaching Literature Blackwell Publisher (2003). Drawing on 40 years of international teaching experience, as well as the real life experiences of friends and colleagues in the field,Showalter offers original and provocative reflections on teaching literature in higher education, and addresses practical, theoretical, and methodological issues.
  • Websites:
Whenever students come with such questions which can't be answered, the easy way is to give him 'list' of books - whcih are unattainable... there are at least two benefits of doing this - (i) As teachers, we can create a favourable impression - of knowing names of so many books and we speak on those books with such an air of authority - as if we have written it or 'read' it - (ii) it helps in establishing superiority over student's lack of knowledge. But the best of all is - students will never dare to come agian to ask for anything.
I believe, if teacher 'really' want to 'share' with students, he should give books instead of lists - or atleast photocopies of important pages. I find easy way in sharing weblinks. Click and go...

Well, these weblinks are not as goos as the books listed above but it will serve the purpose of two-minute-maggie to hungry child - just as maggie does not give nutritions but helps in satisfying hunger - similarly, these weblinks are not 'nutritious' but it surely will cater the needs of hungry mind - i would be glad if it makes you more hungry to read the books.
  4. (read chapter 4 on Teaching Poetry from Elaine Shawalter's book 'Teaching Literature')