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L. Cortes, N. Nikiforova,

0. Sudlenkova




"Narodnaya Asveta"


Jl. n. KopTec, H. H. HHKHQJOposa,

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Teaching- literature in an English classroom, irrespec­ tive of the way it is done- either studied as a separate subject or integrated into the language classes- serves several purposes at a time. Firstly, it provides additional material for developing students' reading, comprehension and speech skills. Secondly, it widens students' outlook and knowledge of the history, culture and mentality of the people whose language they study. Thirdly, it develops their power of analysis and thinking by drawing compari­ sons and making inferences about the relative pheno­ mena in English, Belarusian and Russian literatures. Fourthly, literature is a powerful means of shaping young­ sters' characters as good books foster in their readers high moral qualities and sometimes even offer them solu­ tions to the ethical problems they may be faced with.

To achieve these aims, the teacher should make the subject instructive and exciting. Literature classes should by no means be confined to or concentrated on the study of the writers' biographies, for however interesting their life stories may be, their books give much more food for think­ ing and speaking about.

The present textbook was conceived by its authors as a basic study material but it does not, by any means, claim to be exhaustive or self-sufficient. Teachers are ex­ pected to go beyond it and use some supplementary sour­ ces. Here are but a few books that may be used by teach­ ers as reference or additional materials: I. A. A. AHHKCT. HcTopHH aHrJJHHCKOH JJHTepaTyphl. M., 1956. 2. B. B. Hsa­ wesa. JlHTepaTypa BeJJHKo6pHTaHHH XX BeKa. M., 1976 and other books by this author. 3. AHrJJHHCKaH JJHTepa­

Typa. 1945-1980/Do.IJ. pe.IJ.. A. n. CapyxaHHH. M., 1987

4. N. Dyakonova, T. Amelina. An Anthology of Eng­

lish Literature. XIX century. L., 1978. 5. T. Amelina, N. Dyakonova. An Anthology of English Literature. XX century. M., 1985. 6. M. Hecker and others. English Liter­

ature. The 8th form. M. 1974; The 9th form. M., 1975. 5. The

Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford,

1990, etc.

To encourage the students' interest in the subject the

teacher should vary the forms of work in the classroom. Drawing on their own experience of teaching English literature to teenagers the authors of the textbook would like to make a few suggestions to their school colleagues on

the matter. 5

1. A lecture on the literature of a certain period. Refer­ ences to the identical phenomena in the literatures of Russia and Belarus are desirable here. Students should be taught and encouraged to take notes.

2. Presentation of the contents of a story, novel or play. To facilitate the students' understanding and memorizing the plot and characters of the book the teacher may draw a scheme, where different kinds of lines suggest various types of human relationships. Here is a model scheme for

the novel "Dombey and Son":

Mrs. Dombey +Mr. Dombey

;/ "' + Edith Granger- Walter Gay+ Florence Paul Mr Carker


Paul Florence

In the course of or after the teacher's story the stu­ dents should be encouraged to ask the teacher questions clarifying the details of the plot, the nature of the charac­ ters, etc. The teacher may interrupt his/her story and ask the students to make up their own versions of the denoue­ ment and then compare it with the original one. To check the listeners' understanding of the story the teacher may ask the students to write a short annotation or to make up an outline of the book just presented. The teacher may also offer them hisjher own version of the outline in which the items are presented in a mixed-up order The students' task is to logically rearrange the outline and then to extend it by adding a few sentences to each item. Book presentation may be entrusted to a student as it is advisab­ le that at the beginning of the school year the class should be offered a list of books to be read in the course of it. It goes without saying that the students' acquaintance with a literary work should be followed by a discussion invol­ ving the social and moral problems dealt with in it, the motivation of the characters' actions and so on.

3. Character puzzles. Either the teacher or a pupil gives a character sketch of a literary personage never mentio­ ning the name. The class is to guess the character and the book it comes from. Another variant of this game is to guess the name of the character by letting the class ask the


teacher or a pupil questions or by mak_ing one pupil put questions to the class. In the SUPPLEMENT of the present edition there are ten model puzzles with a list of the cha­ r<lclers' names and their relative sources given in a mixed-up order.

4. Tests. Like every other school subject the study of English literature demands regular testing. In the SUPPLEMENT we offer a set of five tests covering the whole range of topics dealt with in the textbook. Each of the tests consists of twenty items, most of them built on a mul­ tiple choice principle. The tests may be used by students for self-control as they are provided with keys, or can serve teachers as models for drawing up their own ones.

5. Watching video films. Watching video films made after famous novels and plays and then discussing them in class, comparing them, if possible, with the book version, is a very interesting and challenging kind of work.

6. Dramatizing episodes from a literary work. Students may be encouraged to write their own dramatic versions of a story or a chapter or act as stage producers.

The above suggestions in no way exhaust all the kinds

of activities possible in an English literature classroom. We are sure that our colleagues have much more to offer and share.

In conclusion we would like to thank those school teachers who made some valuable suggestions about the

structure and contents of the previous editions and to express our gratitude to Peter Beresford, Professor of the University of Manchester, for his generous help with the

present one.

Olga Sudlenkova,

Assistant Professor,

Minsk Linguistic University

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