What a tangled
web we should weave: Teaching English, promoting critical awareness
and using art in EFL classes by
Alexandre Dias Pinto & Carlota Miranda Dias Pinto
the original article
To the original lesson plan
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of EFL classes in the
education of young people and to suggest a methodological path that
can be productive and effective in learning English as a Foreign Language.
According to the aims of this subject of the Portuguese school system
(and, for that matter, of other school systems), EFL students are expected
to learn English as well as to find in these classes the conditions
and the stimuli that will allow them to expand their knowledge of the
cultures of the English-speaking world and to develop their personality.
We believe that an adequate approach, supported by motivating, culturally
rich materials, will enable students to acquire cultural, historical
and social knowledge, to develop their critical awareness and to reflect
on issues of the contemporary world and of their day-to-day life. In
order to achieve these objectives, the methodology followed hinges on
the use of appealing literary texts and works of art integrated in the
interactive strategies of the task-based learning (Nunan, 1989; Skehan,
1996). Despite the fact that several authors advocate the use of art
and literature in EFL classes, our approach selects the development
of the students' critical awareness along with learning English as its
two main aims. An example of a unit plan about parent-child relationship
will also be presented so as to illustrate the ideas and guidelines
stated in the first part.
As it once happened with alchemists, teachers dream that they can combine
different ingredients - motivation, personality development, didactic
and language contents (language skills, grammar, culture, etc.) - in their
classes and come up with a complex chemical compound that, by the end
of the lesson, would turn into gold. Teachers are not real alchemists,
alas! But the risk they run of playing the role of Victor Frankenstein
(another pseudo-alchemist) and of turning their students into insensitive,
brainless creatures is not as far away as teachers would like to think.
We fear that the main role of school - contributing to the education of
young people and helping them to become constructive, enlightened members
of society - is being underestimated by several EFL teachers. Therefore,
after revising the main pedagogical and didactic principles and the general
aims of the English as Foreign Language syllabus of the Portuguese school
system, we will present a methodological path that can motivate students
- so experience tells us -, putting them into contact with facts and issues
of our world (past and present) and making them reflect (critically) upon
these issues in order to expand their knowledge and develop their critical
awareness. Several activities and practical suggestions will be put forward.
and Didactic Principles
The task of the EFL teacher is to promote the conditions and to promote
the circumstances that will enable students to learn the English language;
in other words, the main objective of EFL classes is to teach English
to foreign students and this priority must never be underestimated. Nevertheless,
because EFL teachers are integrated in a national school system (in this
case, the Portuguese school system), they have to follow the guidelines
and the educational policies defined by the Ministry of Education. Consequently,
they are expected to contribute to the holistic education of their students.
Along with parents, teachers play a crucial role in building up the values
and the personality of a teenager as well as his concept of citizenship.
This means that, apart from helping students to develop their language
skills in English (reading, listening, speaking and writing), EFL teachers
should take advantage of this golden opportunity, which is learning a
foreign language and contacting with different cultures - not only the
British and the North-American, but also the Irish, the Australian and
other African, Asian and American cultures that find expression in the
English language -, in order to allow students to explore and reflect
on different aspects and problems of their day-to-day lives and of the
world in general and to make them think (critically) about these facts
and issues. School has been regarded as a place where young people acquire
different skills and a wide range of information on different matters
and fields of knowledge; in other words, it has been seen as the institution
that teaches adolescents what they need in order to find a suitable profession
or trade when the time comes. However, more and more, parents, teachers,
pedagogues and even politicians realize that the education of young citizens
- i.e., the building of a creative, responsible, constructive, open-minded
individual - is, at least, as important as teaching them facts and abilities.
In one sentence, we believe that teaching English and contributing to
the education of the students are two objectives that should walk hand
in hand in EFL classes.
According to the
general aims defined in the EFL syllabus (those that go beyond learning
the English language and are related to the personal development of the
student), English classes should be a place where students are able to
discover and explore aspects of their own character as well as of the
world around them. In the introductory text to the Portuguese syllabus
of English as Foreign Language it is stated that:
A language is a
potential space of expression of the Self, a space that facilitates the
relationship between people and the establishment of social interaction.
As a determining factor of socialization and of personal self-esteem,
a language gives one the means to develop the consciousness of oneself
and of the others, to translate attitudes and values and to have access
to knowledge and to demonstrate his skills and abilities. (Translated
from Programas de Inglês, 1997: 5)
to the same text, EFL teachers are expected to facilitate the achievement
of pedagogical aims such as:
to combine the language competence with the student's personal
and social development;
to make multidisciplinary approaches possible;
to promote the understanding and the respect for socially and culturally
to emphasise the social and the cultural dimension of language.
to explore aspects of the Anglo-American culture, reflecting on
the different patterns of life and social behaviour. (Translated from
Programa de Inglês, 1997: 5-6)
No matter how much
we believe that the task-based learning, which hinges on a communicative
approach to language learning (the dominant method followed in EFL classes
in Portugal), is an effective method to teach a foreign language, we must
agree that on its own it does not provide a satisfactory answer to the
aims and demands defined in the EFL syllabus in question because this
approach has not been conceived to privilege the educational role that
these classes may play. This means that the main aims and the priorities
defined by this didactic approach are not directly orientated to contribute
to the students' holistic education in order to make them citizens who
play a constructive role in society - respecting other individuals and
other cultures, promoting social justice, etc. - and who are able to think
critically about the problems of that community.
Despite having already explained the main principles and goals of the
approach that we are presenting, we feel that it would be useful to sum
them up. Hence, the main aims of the approach that is being described
.to improve the student's ability to understand and use the English language,
by mastering the four language skills and understanding how the language
to contribute to the development of the students' character;
to promote values such as tolerance, justice, solidarity and respect
towards the Other;
to develop the students' critical awareness concerning issues of
the contemporary world (racism, social injustice, the parent-child relationship,
to expand the students' knowledge of the cultures of the English-speaking
to develop the students' creativity and their imagination;
to promote the students' interest for art in its different forms
of expression: literature, painting, sculpture, photography, music, etc.
(see part III).
Apart from the first
one, the other aims are mainly pedagogical and should not be dissociated
from the central didactic goal of EFL classes, namely to teach students
how to speak English. The approach that we advance here reveals several
affinities with, and is influenced by, a pedagogical theory known as Critical
Pedagogy (cf. Freire, 1982; Boyce, 1996; Pennycook, 1999). We acknowledge
the importance of this educational theory in the emphasis that it places
on the development of the students' critical awareness and social consciousness
during the learning process. The only reason why our approach is not grounded
on the principles of Critical Pedagogy is because we disagree with the
overwhelming ideological weight that such a theory wants to bring to classrooms.
We fear that, if the learning process is misdirected - because a given
teacher is too eager to persuade his students about the righteousness
of his ideological positions and values - the students will be mentally
conditioned to accept certain assertive views of society without having
the knowledge or the experience to question them. In other words, despite
realising that there is always an ideological basis underneath any pedagogical
theory, we think that education cannot run the risk of being intensely
politicised - an example of a course programme in which ideology plays
an overwhelming role can be seen in Donald Hones's article, "U.S.
Justice? Critical Pedagogy and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Hones,
Nevertheless, we recognise the important role played by pedagogues such
as Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux and other "critical pedagogues"
in stressing the need to reflect on and discuss social issues and the
problems of the "oppressed" (the "powerless" and the
"voiceless") in schools. Furthermore, we assume that one of
the aims of the approach we are advancing here is to enhance the social
consciousness of adolescents and young adults.
We know that teachers will agree that learning English as a Foreign Language
can play an important role in the education of young people, but they
are not taking advantage of the full potentialities of such classes. In
fact, as we stated before, one of the reasons that led us to write this
paper is that we feel that the educational role of EFL classes has been
underestimated by teachers - at least by several Portuguese teachers.
Another reason was that we would like to leave suggestions to all our
colleagues (Portuguese or not) about ways of introducing and exploring
cultural topics and of promoting the development of the students' critical
awareness in English language classes.
In order to achieve the aims and goals that we defined in the previous
section, we have to bring to EFL classes didactic contents (historical,
cultural and social contents) and didactic material (reproductions of
paintings, art photos and sculptures) that are not usually explored there.
Thus, we propose an approach in which art plays an important role in the
language learning process, in the expansion of the student's cultural,
social and historical knowledge and in the development of his critical
consciousness. At this stage, we feel that we need to repeat that learning
English is, of these three aims, the one that is central in EFL classes,
whereas the other two can be introduced in a natural way; still, we think
that they should not be underestimated. We do not claim that the use of
art in EFL classes is originally our idea. Interesting suggestions and
examples may be found in several textbooks and essays - cf. Cranmer, 1995;
Collie and Ladousse, 1991; McRae and Pantaleoni, 1992; Paula, Sousa and
We believe that task-based learning (cf. Nunan, 1989; Skehan, 1996), as
a learner-centred methodology, emerges as the one that is best suited
to achieve such aims. Students are expected to play an active role in
the process and are encouraged to explore and to find the solutions to
the problems (linguistic or social problems) that they are faced with.
Furthermore, the concept of task brings the sense of purpose to the activities
performed by students: producing a poster or a leaflet, writing a letter,
etc. - for instance, a task may consist of writing a letter to UNICEF,
reporting the existence of famine in a specific region of the planet and
asking this organisation to take measures in order to solve the problem.
Thus, it is our belief that it is possible to articulate social and cultural
contents and art materials with the methodology of task-based learning.
This combination has been put into practice by us and by other Portuguese
colleagues and the result has been successful. It has also proved to be
very satisfactory in motivating students.
One of the difficulties that teachers have been trying to tackle for the
past decades is motivation. Each one of us (teachers) has searched the
best strategies and activities to captivate the interest of our students.
Several authors of EFL textbooks think that they are able to motivate
students by using certain didactic material, which in fact will not fulfil
the purpose of motivating the whole class: photos of (outdated) pop singers,
biographies of famous actors, artificial dialogues between teenagers,
unappealing cartoons are bonfires that extinguish rather quickly, do not
capture the interest of the average student and are not educative aids
in the students' learning process.
On the other hand, our experience - along with the experience of several
EFL teacher trainers and teachers trained at the University of Lisbon
and at the (Portuguese) Open University - tells us that literary texts
and reproductions of works of art may be used in EFL classes in order
to achieve the pedagogical and didactic aims stated above. Art - taken
in the broad sense - is a fertile land in which we may find motivating
and educational teaching materials that can be integrated and explored
in activities of EFL classes. In other words, it is possible and advisable
to use poems, excerpts from novels or short stories, reproductions of
paintings, art photos of sculptures, musical pieces (etc.) to teach English.
Of course the teacher has to be very selective when he is choosing the
appropriate materials, which have to be appealing, intriguing and thought-provoking
in order to challenge the student to respond to them: to analyse them,
say what they think about them or to establish associations between them
and the world which we live in. On the other hand, such materials must
be adequate to the level of the students in question. Experience has taught
us that a painting such as Salvador Dalí's The Persistence of Memory
(www.ocaiw.com/1dali.htm), with its mysterious, enigmatic and even bizarre
features, is more challenging and thought-provoking than any photo of
a mall, which we find in magazines or in advertisement. Furthermore, the
former certainly has a wider educational value than the latter. It is
also expected that the work of art is able to educate the aesthetic dimension
of the students' personality.
At this stage, we feel that it will be useful to advance a handful of
practical suggestions of the approach that we have been describing. As
we stated before, literary texts, musical pieces, paintings, sculptures
and art photos may (and should) be explored at different moments of English
classes and may serve various purposes. Carefully selected poems and excerpts
from fiction and drama could be more often used in reading-comprehension
activities, for they explore a wider range of language usages and meanings.
Musical pieces could be used in lead-in activities in order to introduce
the theme of the learning sequence or as a prompt to a writing activity.
Finally, reproductions of paintings, of sculptures and photos may play
a central role in a pre-reading activity, in the less-controlled practice
of a grammar structure, in a problem-solving activity, or as a prompt
to write a narrative or a descriptive text.
Let us be more specific about our suggestions. At the beginning of a class,
as a lead-in or as a pre-reading activity, a painting may be used to introduce
the theme (or topic area) of the learning sequence as well as some of
the vocabulary related to it. Picasso's Guernica or Goya's The Shootings
of the Third of May, 1808 (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/goya/goya.shootings-3-5-1808.jpg)
are appealing starting points to introduce vocabulary related to war and
to reflect on the suffering caused by war. Likewise, Van Gogh's The Potato-Eaters
provides a good trigger for a brainstorm activity about poverty and its
causes. Finally, Henri Rousseau's paintings, The Dream (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/rousseau.rousseau.dream.jpgh),
portraying places with lavish, colourful vegetation, together with Adrian
Henri's short poem "Salad Poem (about H. Rousseau's Le Douanier)",
might lead to an interesting class discussion about the environmental
problems of the present days.
Art can also be used
at the stage when students are called upon to practise language structures
which they learnt before. There is a wide range of activities that the
teacher may implement, from a controlled practice to a less-controlled
practice or even to paragraph writing (in which a student would have to
use, say, the first type of conditional sentences). In the case of a controlled
practice, the description and the interpretation of a photo of Nam June
Paik's Buddha TV (http://www.zakros.com/mica/emacf00/paik/sld011.htm)
may provide a context to a fill-in-the-blanks activity of a text (where
the prepositions are missing) about the impact of the media in contemporary
life. On the other hand, if the theme of the learning sequence is related
to technological progress, a less-controlled practice activity may consist
of asking pre-intermediate students to write three sentences in the simple
past, speculating about what happened to the man (or anthropomorphic creature)
depicted in Jacob Epstein's sculpture, The Rock Drill (http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/WorkImage?id=4122&sid).
Finally, an interesting starting point for writing a paragraph (or even
a short narrative) is provided by René Magritte's The Murderer
Threatened; if the idea is to practise a language structure - the second
type of conditional sentences could be used to speculate about the plot
of story narrated in this painting -, the students would be told that
they are expected to use that language structure in their texts.
And, since the methodology followed here is the task-based learning, the
task of a learning sequence could be based on or introduced by a work
of art. Students may imagine (and write a text about) the daily routine
of the strange creature depicted in Salvador Dalí's painting, Sleep
Or they may write a letter to UNICEF calling the attention of this organisation
to the existence of miserable living conditions in certain countries;
Ben Shahn's painting Hunger depicts a hungry child, whose living conditions
might be described in that letter. A task destined to lower EFL levels
may consist of writing a dialogue between the child of Ben Shahn's painting
and the person whom he is looking at. Still, one important idea that teachers
should bear in mind is that works of art are a starting point to practise
English as well as a didactic element that asks for an oral (or a written)
response from the students, who may describe it, speculate about it, analyse
it, interpret it or comment on it.
And, if you think that classical music cannot be used as a didactic material
that they may explore in classes, think of the possible activities that
may be implemented with Sergei Prokofiev's "musical story",
Peter and the Wolf: listening comprehension, problem-solving activity,
debate (about the generation gap), writing activity, etc. Classical music
can also be used as a means to introduce vocabulary or the theme of a
learning sequence. For example, a sequence of different excerpts of classical
music may lead students to establishment associations with types of films
or with literary genres: Orff's Carmina Burana for medieval narratives,
Strauss's Thus Spake Zarathustra for science-fiction, a waltz for love
We know that not all the works of art referred to in this article are
easy to find in books of art, but they are all available on the Internet.
It is neither difficult nor illegal to print a good reproduction of the
paintings, photos and sculptures mentioned above on a transparency in
order to show it by means of an overhead projector or to record the image
in disk and use a data show (connected to a portable computer) to exhibit
Teachers unanimously believe that schools should play a more active role
in the process of building up the personality of young people and promoting
human values among them. The syllabi even stress that the students' critical
consciousness and sense of citizenship should be promoted in EFL classes.
However, the majority of textbooks and materials used in these classes
and the contents explored there do not lead us successfully to the intended
In this article we suggested a didactic approach that hinges on the use
of art and literature in order to achieve the pedagogical aims defined
in the EFL syllabi of the Portuguese school system. Experience tells us
that this approach may give satisfactory results to the challenges mentioned
in the previous paragraph and even to the problem of lack of motivation.
We now hope that the suggestions and ideas presented here will be as challenging
to our colleagues as they have been to our students.
Cranmer, David (1995), "O Ensino do Inglês através da
Música e da Pintura", in Pires, Laura Bettencourt (ed.), Novas
Metodologias no Ensino do Inglês, Lisboa, Universidade Aberta, pp.
Collie, Joanne and Ladousse, Gillian P. (1991) Paths into Poetry, Oxford,
Oxford University Press.
Freire, Paulo (1982), Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Harmondsworth, Penguin
Guilherme, Manuela (2001), "The Critical Study of a Foreign Culture
and Citizenship Education", in Anglo-Saxónica, Lisboa, Colibri,
Hones, Donald F. (1999), "U.S. Justice? Critical Pedagogy and the
Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal", Tesol Journal, Winter, pp. 27-33.
Legutke, M. and Thomas, H. (1991), Process and Experience in the Language
Classroom, Essex, Longman.
McRae, John and Pantaleoni, Luisa (1992), Chapter and Verse. An Interactive
Approach to Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Nunan, David (1989), Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom,
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Paula, Luís P., Sousa, Rui and Lourinho, Sérgio (1995),
Front Door 7, Lisboa, Edições Rumo.
Pennycock, Alastair (1999), "Introduction: Critical Approaches to
TESOL", TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, Autumn, pp, 329-348.
Programa de Inglês [Syllabus of English Language] (1997), Lisboa,
Ministério da Educação.
Skehan, P. (1996), "A Framework for the Implementation of Task-based
Instruction", Applied Linguistics, No. 17, pp. 38-62.
Grade: 9th or 10th grade (ages 15 to 16): intermediate level
Number of classes: four fifty-minute classes
.to promote the practice and the development of the students' linguistic
skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading);
.to teach the form, use and meaning of one of the following grammar items:
the present perfect tense, prepositions, the imperative, word-formation
or phrasal verbs (see Activity 7);
.to review the structure of the informal letter;
.to promote the students' interest for art in its different forms of expression
(literature, painting, sculpture, photography, etc.);
.to develop the students' critical awareness about issues related to the
.to expand the students' knowledge of the culture of the English-speaking
world, in this case, the Liverpool poets.
Activity 1. Warm
up (10 minutes)
1. The teacher asks
several students if they think their parents impose a strong discipline
at home and listens to their answers.
2. The students are
given a questionnaire (Handout 1) and are asked to answer it.
following list contains some of the things that young people enjoy
doing. Tick those that your parents do not allow you to do:
hamburgers every day
Spending all your money on clothes
Coming back home at 5 o'clock in the morning
Going out in the evening before an exam
Spending your holidays with friends
Doing bungee jumping
Spending the whole evening on the phone
3. The students are
asked to state the things that they are not allowed to do.
Afterwards, the teacher asks the students to provide the motives and reasons
why their parents impose rules and discipline to their day-to-day lives.
Activity 2. Analysing and interpreting a work of art (35 minutes)
1. Using an overhead
projector, the teacher shows a photo of Louise Bourgeois' sculpture Maman,
which was exhibited at the Tate Modern. This thirty-feet high sculpture
represents a pregnant spider (a black widow). Photos of this work of art
can be found at:
2. The teacher asks
the students to describe (just describe) the sculpture, calling their
attention to features such as colour, size, shape, etc.
3. The students gather
in pairs to analyse the sculpture and to interpret the symbolic meaning
of certain features of the spider. The instructions are in Handout 2:
in mind that this spider represents a mother, answer the following
questions in order to explain the symbolic meaning of some of the
traits of this creature:
1. Why is this
spider so big?
2. Why are the spider legs so long and thin (taking into account
that the sculpture is very large and heavy)?
3. What does the shape of the spider remind you of?
4. Why is this spider (i.e., mother) black?
5. Spiders make webs. What does this omitted element (the web) represent?
6. Why are mothers compared to spiders?
7. Why is the title of the sculpture Maman (and not Mother nor Mère)?
4. After finishing
this activity, the students state their answers and debate some of the
conclusions that they have arrived at. They are then encouraged to provide
an overall interpretation of the sculpture.
Activity 3. Systematising conclusions (5 minutes)
1. The teacher draws
a simple two-column table on the blackboard; one of the columns bears
the heading "protection" and the other "imprisonment".
2. Taking into account
what was said before about Louise Bourgeois' sculpture, the teacher elicits
from the students the ideas, words or phrases that describe different
aspects of the parent-child relationship (for instance, love, authority,
power, rules). The words and expressions are registered on the correspondent
column of the table.
Activity 4. Reading-Comprehension (15 minutes)
1. Pre-reading activity:
The teacher starts the lesson eliciting from the students the theme of
the learning sequence and some of the words and phrases that were used
to describe different aspects of the parent-child relationship.
After that, the teacher writes the first and the second lines of Brian
Patten's poem "Little Johnny's Final Letter" on the blackboard:
I won't be home this evening, so
The students are
called upon to speculate about the information contained in these two
lines by answering the teacher's questions:
a) What sort of text
b) Who utters these words?
c) Why won't the "son" come back home that evening?
d) What is going to happen?
e) Why does the "son" write this letter?
2. The students are
given a handout with Brian Patten's poem "Little Johnny's Final Letter"
(Handout 3). The teacher reads the poem aloud and, afterwards, the latter
is read aloud by one of the students. The teacher explains the meaning
of the words the students do not know.
Johnny's Final Letter
I won't be home this evening, so
don't worry; don't hurry to report me missing.
Don't drain the canals to find me,
I've decided to stay alive, don't
search the woods, I'm not hiding,
simply gone to get myself classified.
Don't leave my shreddies out,
I've done with security.
Don't circulate my photograph to society
I've disguised myself as a man
and I am giving priority to obscurity.
It suits me fine;
I've taken off my short trousers
and put on long ones, and
now am going out into the city, so
don't worry; don't hurry to report me missing.
a room without curtains
and sit behind the windows growing cold,
heard your plea on the radio this morning,
you sounded sad and strangely old...
Little Johnny's Confession, London,
George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1967.
3. The teacher conducts a comprehension activity on the poem, asking the
students the following questions:
. Who is the person
speaking in the poem?
. What has he done?
. Why has he done that?
. How has his mother reacted?
. How does he feel now?
Activity 5. Interview (35 minutes)
1. Preparing an interview:
group work. The students get together in five groups. Each group is given
one of the following characters: Johnny, his mother, his father, his sister,
his brother, a neighbour. The students prepare a TV interview in which
a reporter will ask the character in question to describe Johnny's relationship
with the other members of the family and to give his/her own view about
what has happened.
2. Enacting the interview:
role play. Each group chooses one student to play the role of reporter
and another to play the character assigned to the group. These pairs will
enact the dialogues in front of the class.
3. Withdrawing conclusions:
class discussion. The students are encouraged to comment on the positions
of the characters involved and to suggest solutions for the problem or
for problems like this one.
The teacher reminds the students that the poem "Little Johnny's Final
Letter" was written by Brian Patten and informs them that the latter
is one of the "Liverpool Poets".
The students are asked to find information about the "Liverpool Poets"
(in encyclopaedias or on the internet) and to bring poems written by them
that allude to the parent-child relationship. This homework will be corrected
only in the last lesson of the unit so that the students have more time
to prepare it.
Activity 6. Revision
of the structure of the informal letter (15 minutes)
1. The teacher elicits from the students the main facts and ideas of Brian
Patten's poem "Little Johnny's Final Letter", which they read
the previous lesson. Afterwards, the teacher reads the poem once again.
2. The teacher draws
the model of the informal letter on the blackboard, eliciting from the
students the elements that it comprises: date, address, name of the addresser,
3. The students are
given handout 4 with the elements of an imaginary informal letter that
Johnny wrote to his mother. They should dispose these elements in the
correct places. The correction is done on a transparency.
letter to his mother. Put the following elements in the right places:
London WC3 5YA
Tuesday, 14th June 2001
Activity 7. Grammar
practice (35 minutes)
In the remaining
time, the teacher introduces a grammar structure, taking examples from
the poem. The students analyse these examples and are asked to systematise
the rule or the information of that grammar item. Then, the teacher provides
the students with a practice exercise, which they can do individually
or in pairs. The exercise is corrected afterwards. (The grammar structure
should be chosen according to the level of the students.)
structure: - The Present Perfect Tense
- Phrasal verbs
Activity 8. Homework correction (15 minutes)
The students share
the information they have collected about the "Liverpool Poets"
and read poems by some of these poets. The teacher may collect all the
poems and ask a group of students to prepare a poster into which the poems
will be glued. The poster will then be hanged on the classroom wall.
Activity 9. Task: writing activity (35 minutes)
The teacher tells
the students that they are going to write a text, in which they are expected
to use the grammar structure learnt the previous class (activity 7). The
text they will write must follow one of the text models that were present
in this learning sequence: the letter and the interview (the dialogue).
The students may choose to do one of the following tasks:
1. Johnny's mother
writes him a letter.
2. A fourteen-year-old spider writes a letter to a friend talking about
her problems with her mother.
3. A young spider talks to her aunt about the strong discipline the parents
impose at home (a dialogue written in pairs).
Pinto has an M.A. from the University of Lisbon on Comparative Literature
and is now preparing his Ph.D. dissertation. Until last year he was a
teacher trainer of EFL at the University of the Algarve, where he also
taught English and English Literature. He is now a researcher at the Centre
for Comparative Studies of the University of Lisbon. He has published
a few articles mainly on English Literature and on Comparative Literature
and has given seminars of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Alex
can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlota Dias Pinto
has been teaching English and German at Portuguese secondary schools since
1995. She has also taught English at a polytechnic in Lisbon and has collaborated
with the teacher-training programme of the University of Lisbon. In 2002
she was awarded an M.A. from the University of Lisbon with a dissertation
on the work of the Austrian novelist Thomas Bernhard and the tradition
of the Buildungsroman.
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