8th Asia TEFL International Conference. Hanoi; 6-8 August 2010. Teaching English as a Global language: Creating and Sharing the Asian Framework of Practice. Plenary Talk: Literature from the Outside In and from the Inside Out. Alan Maley. Overview. Why Literature? / What purposes?
8th Asia TEFL International Conference.Hanoi; 6-8 August 2010.Teaching English as a Global language:Creating and Sharing the Asian Framework of Practice.
Plenary Talk: Literature
from the Outside In
from the Inside Out.
(From the outside? From the inside?)
(From the outside in : teaching about?
From the inside out: experiencing how?)
The traditional canon?
~ language archaic?
~ reflects exocentric model (outside in)
~ irrelevant content?
~ ignores local alternatives.
The new literatures in English?
~ enormous choice
~ relevant / non-trivial content
~ raise awareness of EIL
Last night I dreamt in Chinese,
Eating American shredded-wheat,
I said it in English
To a friend who answered in monosyllables:
All of which I understood.
The dream shrank to its fiction.
I had understood its ends
Many years ago. The sallow child
Ate rice from its ricebowl
And hides still in the cupboard
With the china and tea-leaves.
Shirley Geok-lin Lim. (Malaysia)
My cousin Elena
is to be married.
have been completed:
her family history examined
for TB and madness
her father declared solvent
her eyes examined for squints
her teeth for cavities
her stools for the possible
She’s not quite tall enough
and not quite full enough
(children will take care of that)
her complexion it was decided
would compensate, being just about
the right shade
to do justice to Francisco X. Noronha Prabhu
good son of Mother Church.
Eunice de Souza. (India
We sit in a corner, my friends and I
In a house filled with the roaring of the
Docks and harbours of our ancestors, and the
Colours of the sun which burned their fields.
The old men talk at the tables,
Remembering old times. We know them
Not, nor the language they speak,
Yet we are relatives, only two generations apart.
We watch the television, glued to its screen,
Not knowing the meaning of the lotus seeds
We unseeingly eat.
They are just more candy to us.
When the dinner is brought on,
With special foods prepared by the elders,
We grimace at the ‘tasteless’ stuff
And think longingly of cheesy pizzas.
Somewhere down the street
Lion dancers twirl to heart-thumping music.
In my room we, too, dance,
But to the latest rock hits.
On my door hang spring couplets:
Quotations from Shakespeare.
Door gods adorn our entrances
Posters of Schwarzenegger and Stalone.
We watch the organised festivities
And are reminded of our culture, our roots
And we think: ‘I’m proud to be Chinese,’
Kenneth Wee (Singapore)
~ ELT purpose? / Literary purpose?
~ Literature as resource? / Literature as course?
~ Pragmatic purpose? / Intellectual purpose?
~ Analytical focus / Aesthetic focus
(stylistics etc.) (New Criticism,
~ Learning how to study /studying literature
~ Extensive exposure/ Intensive study
~ For pleasure / For exams.
Many scholars forget, it seems to me, that our enjoyment of the great works of literature depends more on the depth of our sympathy than upon our understanding. The trouble is that very few of their laborious explanations stick in the memory. … It is possible to know a flower, root and stem and all, and all the processes of growth, and yet to have no appreciation of the flower fresh bathed in heaven’s dew.
In deciding on poems, I wasn’t put off by some of the difficulties teachers are often bothered by. Unfamiliar words and difficult syntax, for example, and allusions to unfamiliar things.
I wasn’t put off, either, by passages in a poem that I knew would remain obscure to them. To reject every poem the children would not understand in all its detail would mean eliminating too many good things.
Kenneth Koch. Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?
The usual criteria for choosing poems to teach children are mistaken, if one wants poetry to be more than a singsong of Muzak in the background of their elementary education…. These criteria are total understandability, which stunts children’s poetic education by giving them nothing to understand they have not already understood; ‘childlikeness’ of theme and treatment, which condescends to their feelings and to their intelligence; and ‘familiarity’, which obliges them to go on reading the same inappropriate poems their parents and grandparents had to read…(p xxx)What matters for the present is not that the children admire Blake and his achievement, but that each child be able to find a tiger of his own. (p li)
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a colour slide.
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
Performing: mistaken, if one wants poetry to be more than a singsong of Muzak in the background of their elementary education…. These criteria are total understandability, which stunts children’s poetic education by giving them nothing to understand they have not already understood; ‘childlikeness’ of theme and treatment, which condescends to their feelings and to their intelligence; and ‘familiarity’, which obliges them to go on reading the same inappropriate poems their parents and grandparents had to read…(p xxx)~ Teacher reading (author reading)~ Students dramatize text (mini)~ Students perform full texts (+ video)Making strange:~ Vocally~ Through textual processingTaking the writer’s place: Creating text:~ From existing texts~ Making new texts.Going beyond text.~ Project work~ Cross-curricular work.
Under the mango tree
the cold ash
of a deserted fire.
Who needs the future?
A ten-year old girl
combs her mother’s hair,
where crows of rivalries
are quietly nesting.
The home will never
In a corner of her mind
a living green mango
drops softly to earth.
All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right,
And emptiness above –
Know that you aren’t alone.
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.
A parrot knifes
through the sky’s bright skin,
a sting of green.
It takes so little
to make the mind bleed
into another country,
a past that you agreed
to leave behind.
Why creative writing?
Drawing on affect
The group operates in the belief that NNS teachers are not only capable of but are also uniquely well-placed to write literary materials for use by their own and other students in the Asia region. By virtue of the fact that they share their students’ background and contexts, they have an intuitive understanding of what will be culturally and topically relevant and attractive for them. What they all too often lack is the confidence in their own ability to write interesting material. The group operates to dispel this misconception.