MRomano on 2008-01-02
Reporter: Marica Romano
Group Members: Francesca Bon, Ambra Minisini, Marica Romano, Mauro Sandre
Discussion: How to use the text “All school pupils to get a behaviour mentor” for teaching purposes
Text Type: A newspaper article published in “The Guardian”
Potential of the text:
- It is a piece of realia which can develop the students’ reading and writing skills in a meaningful way.
- According to the Common European Framework, the language used in the text is explicitly related to the educational domain. Therefore the article naturally addresses those, like students, who are engaged in any kind of organised learning.
- It could elicit a class discussion about the following topics: education, freedom, discipline and social rules.
- Its language is quite simple. So it could be exploited to introduce and analyse the main features of a specific text type like the “newspaper article”.
Negative aspects of the text:
- The text is quite long
- Since there are no pictures, the layout is not very appealing for students.
School and Target class: Liceo scientifico, 4th Form.
- To analyse the stylistic features and conventions of a newspaper article.
- To compare and contrast two different types of newspapers dealing with the same topic (i.e. a tabloid like “The Daily Mirror” vs. a quality newspaper like “The Guardian”).
- To develop communicative competence (in particular, discourse competence) and language awareness.
- To improve critical thinking in order to be able to play an active role when reading a newspaper.
1) The teacher gives out two texts on the same topic (the above mentioned article and another one printed in “The Daily Mirror”). Pre-reading activity: students look at the titles and make predictions about the content of the two articles. This brainstorming activity allows the students to activate their previous language knowledge before dealing with the new topic.
2) The students read both the articles to get the main idea. Then they are asked to identify all the key words and cognates related to the lexical area of education and discipline. Carrying out this task, students learn new vocabulary and reflect on the linguistic differences between a tabloid and a quality paper (e.g. formal vs. informal language, connotation vs. denotation, etc.)
3) The students focus on the main stylistic features of the two articles (e.g. layout, paragraph organization and text cohesion, deviations, passive forms, noun phrases, reporting verbs…) in order to point out how they convey the same information. In particular, the students are encouraged to reflect on the overall purpose(s) of the articles (to inform, to entertain, to criticize…) and to consider the viewpoint from which they are written. This kind of activity is meant to enhance students’ language awareness, since it allows them to distinguish facts from opinions and personal judgements.
4) Creative writing activity. Students are asked to write a report on the issue through different perspectives. They are one of the following: a teacher, a student, a parent, a head teacher.