Strategies for teaching literature in the esl classroom

Explicit instruction in literary analysis works best when the teacher models it instead of lecturing.

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A line from Umberlớn Eco’s Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, “Every text, after all, is a lazy machine asking the reader lớn bởi vì some of its work,” speaks directly lớn the beauty & challenge behind teaching literary analysis. Literary analysis is something we must vày, not something the text does for us, which is why students must actively learn strategies for it.

There are a number of strategies teachers can use to tư vấn literary analysis in the classroom. Direct, explicit instruction is one example that can be beneficial khổng lồ the process. In Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching, Anita Archer và Charles Hughes define explicit instruction as a structured, systematic, và effective sầu approach lớn teaching skills. It’s an “unambiguous” & “direct approach to lớn teaching that includes both instructional thiết kế & delivery processes.” I found that through explicit instruction và modeling, my students understood the concepts behind my analysis, và some of their difficulties were addressed as modeling literary analysis made the activity tangible.


But modeling does not mean lecturing. Students need to lớn engage with the concepts in a variety of ways. Through direct instruction and multiple opportunities khổng lồ grapple with texts, my students were able to analyze those texts more deeply and with more confidence.

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One of the best ways lớn foster textual analysis is through meaningful classroom conversations. This presents a chất lượng opportunity for developing agency in students. In Dialoguing Across Cultures, Identities, & Learning, Bob Femang lại and Jennifer Clifton say that “education is about change—of minds, perspectives, values, understandings, meanings, selves—really all tools through which we construct cultures and identity.” With the right tools, literary analysis can provide the opportunity khổng lồ engage students in activities that will shape their sense of themselves in the world, and provide them with opportunities lớn evolve sầu through exploration of text & classroom discourse. I propose modeling the process of literary analysis through explicit mini-lessons that then lead into lớn students’ own analysis. Over the past few decades, instructional practices have sầu shifted away from teacher-as-lecturer & toward student-centered practices, collaborative sầu opportunities, & inquiry-based approaches. In No More Telling as Teaching, Cris Tovani và Elizabeth Birr Moje make an important distinction about the practice of lecturing being “more efficient than effective.” They drive sầu home the point that it’s important for students khổng lồ learn “through a set of classroom participation structures.”

The Common Chip Core State Standards Call for students lớn engage in close reading activities that cultivate deep reading comprehension. By high school, students need to become increasingly facile with language & literature, developing their vocabulary và reading increasingly complex texts. For example, in grades 11 và 12, one of the expectations is for students khổng lồ “cite svào & thorough textual evidence to lớn tư vấn analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.1).

How can this be accomplished? In writing, in class discussions, in all forms of discourse, how can students develop agency in literary analysis? And how can the right instructional moves phối the stage for agency for all students? I found that my students would gain a better understanding when I modeled my own approach to deriving meaning from a text—sometimes with a different text that was similar in form or thematically related khổng lồ what they were reading. Explicitly teaching students a variety of approaches provided them with tools they were able to lớn use và apply across a variety of tasks, & this didn’t have khổng lồ come in the khung of a lecture.

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Here are four strategies I used in my own classroom to support literary analysis in grades 9–12:

Think Aloud: Model for students in real time how you would approach the analysis of a similar text to the one being discussed by the class. This provides a guide for students lớn better grasp how khổng lồ approach a text.

Chuyên mục: literature