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An intercultural reading group for students of medicine. John Corbett University of Glasgow. What is a reading group?. A group of people who meet regularly to discuss texts, literary and/or non-literary The group meets partly for educational, partly for social reasons

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what is a reading group
What is a reading group?
  • A group of people who meet regularly to discuss texts, literary and/or non-literary
  • The group meets partly for educational, partly for social reasons
  • The group discussions should be enjoyable, stimulating, non-threatening
  • The format should be flexible, and meet the needs of the group.
what is a reading group for
What is a reading group for?

In general, to:

  • Encourage a regular reading habit
  • Foster a sociable reading culture
  • Introduce readers to new and interesting texts, authors, genres
  • Encourage critical thinking
  • Supports education beyond the curriculum (life-long learning)
what is a reading group for1
What is a reading group for?

In the context of second language learning, to:

  • Expose learners to longer, challenging but interesting and accessible L2 texts
  • Develop L2 vocabulary
  • Encourage talking about texts in L2
  • Building confidence in L2 reading, talking and listening
why students of medicine
Why students of medicine?

In the context of medical learning, to:

  • Stimulate thought about medical topics
  • Develop useful medical vocabulary
  • Encourage thinking about different attitudes to medicine and health
  • Encourage reflection and the development of ‘lateral thinking’
useful websites
Useful websites

Reading group websites:

  • www.storiesfromtheweb.org
  • www.theirreaddingfutures.org.uk
  • www.encompassculture.com
  • www.4ureaders.net
  • www.readerville.com
  • www.word-of-mouth.org.ukwww.whichbook.net
useful websites1
Useful websites
  • Publishers’ websites with helpful advice:
  • www.bloomsbury.com
  • http://readers.penguin.co.uk
  • www.harpercollins.com/hc/readers
sources of useful language
Sources of useful language

Websites like Amazon have review sections that can be mined for useful expressions that can be taught in class to support reading group discussions. Pupils themselves can search reviews for language they would like to use.

from amazon reviews of harry potter and the philosopher s stone
From Amazon reviews of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Paraphrasing/summarising:

“The simple storyline: basically a boy going to a magical boarding school who faces the adventure of learning magic and fighting evil wizards.”

from amazon reviews of harry potter and the philosopher s stone1
From Amazon reviews of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Paraphrasing/summarising:

“The thing that struck me most about this book is how jammed full of original and creative ideas it is.”

“There is no real moral to the story, as far as I can tell.”

from amazon reviews of harry potter and the philosopher s stone2
From Amazon reviews of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Giving opinion (positive evaluation):

“For example, I loved the ideaof a mirror which shows the person who looks into it what their most heart-felt desire is.”

from amazon reviews of harry potter and the philosopher s stone3
From Amazon reviews of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Giving opinion (negative evaluation):

“On the down side, the book is not as good as the film, and is lacking excitement.”

eliciting opinion giving the floor
Eliciting opinion/giving the floor

What do you think?

Would you agree?

Did anybody else think that?

How did other folk feel?

slide14

I just love meeting other people who share my passion for reading and hearing them enthuse about the books they like.  This often throws up new authors and titles for me to try – and that way I get to broaden my reading spectrum.

I like hearing people talk about their reading experiences and sharing mine – it gives me much to savour after the event.

Very stimulating and enjoyable. The depth and variety are stimulating, provocative and informative. An absolute treat.

As always I meet great people – reading remains a must.

I love talking about a book in a group and listening to the wide-ranging opinions of other readers – I get some real insights this way.

the origin of music by dannie abse
‘The Origin of Music’ by Dannie Abse

The Origin of Music

When I was a medical student I stole two femurs of a babyfrom The Pathology Specimen Room. Now I keep them in my pocket, the right femur and the left femur.

Why do you think the student did this?

slide17
The Origin of Music

When I was a medical student I stole two femurs of a babyfrom The Pathology Specimen Room. Now I keep them in my pocket, the right femur and the left femur. Like a boy scout, I'm prepared. For what can one say to a neighbourwhen his wife dies? 'Sorry'? Or when a friend's sweet child suffers leukaemia? 'Condolences'?

  • What do you think he does?
the origin of music by dannie abse1
‘The Origin of Music’ by Dannie Abse

The Origin of Music

When I was a medical student I stole two femurs of a babyfrom The Pathology Specimen Room. Now I keep them in my pocket, the right femur and the left femur. Like a boy scout, I'm prepared. For what can one say to a neighbourwhen his wife dies? 'Sorry'? Or when a friend's sweet child suffers leukaemia? 'Condolences'? No, if I should meet either friendor stricken neighbour in the street and he should tell me, whisper to me, his woeful, intimate news, wordless I take the two small femursfrom out of my pocket sadlyand play them like castanets.

what adjectives would you use do describe this poem1
What adjectives would you use do describe this poem?
  • the poem is
        • effective
        • flawed
        • extraordinary
        • full of contradictions
        • complicated
        • clear
        • unthinkable
        • tragic
        • remarkable
        • perfect
        • shocking
        • true… …or ??
your response
Your response

The thing that struck me most about the poem was...

the…

how it…

the image of…

What will stay in your memory?

commentary do you agree
Commentary: do you agree?

This short poem (17 lines) is from Dannie Abse’s collection, Remembrance of Crimes Past, first published in Great Britain in 1990. At one level it evokes the universality of human suffering: in fact, we all carry the bones of dead babies within us. This “connectedness in suffering” is particularly apt for one speaking as a physician (“When I was a medical student / I stole two femurs . . . ”).

commentary do you agree1
Commentary: do you agree?

At another level, however, the poem is transformative. Though he takes the bones from his pocket “sadly,” he uses them as castanets to create music. Thus, shared suffering becomes “the origin of music.”

What does this commentary NOT discuss?