Contents introduction theoretical part

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According to Collie and Slater main reasons for including literature in TEFL are expressed by using four basic values of literature. These are

  • Valuable authentic material

  • Cultural enrichment

  • Language enrichment

  • Personal involvement

There is no doubt that literature is valuable authentic material offers various forms of written texts containing language aspects, social and cultural information:

In reading literary texts, students have also to cope with language intended for native speakers and thus they gain additional familiarity with many different linguistic uses, forms and conventions of the written mode: with irony, exposition, argument, narration, and so on (Collie and Slater 1992:4).

The cultural enrichment of literature is seen in the various social backgrounds showing their customs, feelings, daily lives. Through these backgrounds a reader can be involved in the literary work. In the cultural model language teachers are supposed to emphasize the value of literature which is seen through cultural heritage:

Teaching literature within a cultural model enables students to understand and appreciate cultures and ideologies different from their own in time and space and to come to perceive tradition of thought, feeling, and artistic form within the heritage the literature of such cultures endows ( Carter and Long 1991:2 ).

In the language enrichment the most important fact is that literature is made of language. Consequently, there is a relationship between the study of language and literature. Language enrichment is supposed to be one of the benefit of the literature because provides a rich context where both lexical and syntactical aspects are included. Moreover, students can enrich their vocabulary and communicative skills:

Reading a substantial and contextualised body of text, students gain familiarity with many features of the written language – the formation and function of sentences, the variety of possible structures, the different ways of connecting ideas – which broaden and enrich their own writing skills (Collie and Slater 1992:5).

As regards personal involvement of literature the positive effect is that a reader becomes a participant of the story. The reader is well–motivated and this fact has a beneficial effect upon the whole language learning process:

Above all, literature can be helpful in the language learning process because of the personal involvement it fosters in readers. When a novel, play or short story is explored over a period of time, the result is taht the reader begins to ‘inhabit ‘ the text. He or she is drawn into the book. The reader is eager to find out what happens as events unfold; he or she fels close to certain characters and shares their emotional response ( Collie and Slater 1992:5,6 ).

Moreover, through personal involvement students feel interest in reading and feel enthusiasm for literature. Language teachers should awaken student´s interest focused on literature:

Helping students to read literature more effectively is helping them to grow as individuals as well as in their relationships with the people and institutions around them ( Carter and Long 1991:3 ).

From my point of view, one of the greatest benefits of literature is that students are allowed to use their own imagination to develop their inner world. Literary works allow students to dream and may give them a good start to see literature as a source of pleasure, providing them with both educational, moral aspect and also plenty of fun, adventure and entertainment.


My decision to include British and American literature in English lessons was also determined by my work on Framework Educational Programme for Primary Schools. It includes the list of ideas concerning educational demands in the language teaching process formulated in Common European Framework of Reference which recommends paying attention to both language and cultural aspects of education in primary schools. In accordance with this view, integrating British and American literature in English lessons contributes to realization of the educational demands. According to these ideas, the education in foreign language teaching should aim at the development of students´ language skills and lead students, for example, to:

  • understanding language like a historic phenomenon reflecting historic and cultural development of the nation

  • acquiring information from various sources to work with language and literary materials or texts

  • individual perception of the work of art, sharing with reading experience, development of the positive relationship to literature and other kinds of art or development of the emotional and aesthetical perception

( Jeřábek and Tupý 2005:13 )

The reasons for including literature in TEFL are consistent with the educational demands in the language teaching process in Common European Framework of Reference. All the basic values of literature, such as cultural and language enrichment, personal involvement and authentic material, enable language teachers to work in accordance with educational demands in the language teaching process formulated in Common European Framework of Reference.

Language teachers should attach great importance to what sort of literature is suitable to use with students in language classrooms. I strongly agree with Collie and Slater´s statement that "the criteria of suitability clearly depend ultimately on each particular group of students, their needs, interests, cultural background and language level" ( Collie and Slater 1992:6 ).
As Collie and Slater claim, making a decision about appropriate literary work for example questionnaires on students´ reading interests and needs can be useful. -----(Collie and Slater 1992:7 ) I prepared a questionnaire ( see APPENDIX 1 ) which indicates students´ attitudes to literature:
If it is meaningful and enjoyable, reading is more likely to have a lasting and beneficial effect upon the learners ´linguistic and cultural knowledge. It is important to choose books, therefore, which are relevant to the life experiences, emotions, or dreams of the learner ( Collie and Slater 1992:6 ).
Before my work on the literary projects, students were given the questionnaire to express their perception of literature, knowledge of British and American literature and interesting in reading itself. The result of the questionnaire helped me to make a decision to use novels in English lessons and adapt students´ needs, interests and opinions in English lessons. According to my questionnaire, the students identified literature with such books which offer source of adventure, entertainment and cognition. My literary choice was targeted at students´ perception of literature. This perception of literature is seen in the definition of a novel:
A long story, or piece of fiction, in prose, generally about relationship between people, and the places and situations in which they find themselves (or are put, by the novelist ). It might be a simple recounting of events, or a major statement about life ( Swatridge 1985:232 ).
On the other hand, some students link literature with the names of writers they have to memorise in Czech Literature lessons therefore their attitudes to literature are rather negative. Despite this fact, students feel interest in reading in their free time. Moreover, some students were attracted by the idea of reading English books in original versions. Moreover, the questionnaire was used as a my own feedback for my survey relating to students´ knowledge of British and American literature. Before working on the literary projects, I consulted my students´ Czech Literature teacher and found out that students had been familiarised with many British and American literary works during the literature course in Czech lessons. Students attend the course from the sixth to ninth grade. In our school students use textbooks called Literatura and Malá čítanka. Both books include some short extracts from British and American literature, for example in the sixth grade they read the extracts from the novels Robinson Crusoe or Gulliver’s Travels. Next, in the eight grade students read short extract from the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Oliver Twist.
Previous to using the piloted literary projects in my English lessons, students were asked to name some British or American literary works, however they only mentioned the titles based on present films Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and some Shakespeare´s plays Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. In my opinion, their low knowledge of British or American literary works was caused the way of teaching literature in the Czech Literature lessons. In Czech lessons students mostly learn about Czech writers and their literary works. For this reason students are not acquainted with British and American literature in Czech lessons sufficiently. Therefore, I decided to include British and American literature in my English lessons.
The questionnaire also shows the students´ successful advance in knowledge of British and American literary works. Students were given the questionnaire again after finishing literary projects and students were able to name the novels which were included in my literary English lessons. ( see APPENDIX 1 )
In consequence of the development of cross-curricular links the stress was put on a choice of literary genre offers not only the improvement of language skills but also enough information and facts enabling to students a development of their general knowledge, cultural consciousness, moral and social values students will apply in other school subjects. The choice was aimed at novels because "the novel is a universal art – form " ( Martin and Hill 1999:11 ).

I have chosen six novels to elaborate on the piloted literary projects created in lesson plans used in my English lessons: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
I took into consideration some important aspects which influence my choice of the novels. My aim was to present adventurous, historical, romantic, gothic novels written by mostly British but also American male and female novelists to show broad variety of the novel. The stress was put not only on the language aspects but also general knowledge regarding British and American geographical, historical, social background to encourage cross–curricular links in our school.
Another reason why I chose these novels was the fact that students learning English should be acquainted with such novels which belong to both the Anglo–Saxon literary canon and also cultural heritage of the world. This idea is developed by Martin and Hill who write about modern novels but come back to the eighteenth century when a novel became a new form of telling a story and to the nineteenth century, which produced such well–known novelists as Sir Walter Scott, the Brontë sisters and others. ( Martin and Hill 1999:13 )
Further, my choice was influenced by what I myself enjoy and feel enthusiastic about them to present students in the best possible way. Collie and Slater recommend to language teachers:
Choose works that you know and like, and which are likely to appeal to the students you teach. It requires a good deal of imaginative involvement on the part of the teacher – much better that this groundwork should be enjoyable rather than a chore ( Collie and Slater 1992:94 ).

The next important step was to prepare lesson plans which contain interesting and challenging activities to awaken students´ interest to be involved into the learning process through novels. The stress of the literary piloted projects was put on using the projects through lesson plans in practice. Consequently, I cooperated with the class where I teach English to increase my teaching experience in practice. The class I worked with is made up of 14 intermediate students in the ninth grade at primary school. This is a class with very mixed language skills and abilities. There are students with a very good level of English who are interested in language and their motivation is high. Three students took part in regional English conversational competition last year. Their language skills comply with language requirements at primary school. Their vocabulary and grammar knowledge are on pre-intermediate level. Some students who are on a very low level of English do not feel confident in English. They have problems with limited vocabulary and grammar knowledge. They use present simple and past simple tenses with slight mistakes but other grammar aspects they are not able to use correctly. There are three students with dyslexia whose special needs are taken into consideration. They read word by word with inaccurate pronunciation and it is difficult to make them speak. On the other hand, they are good at grammar knowledge and are motivated to learn English.

The activities used in my literary projects were inspired by Collie and Slater´s set of activities they present for language purposes and focused on including literature in language lessons. (Collie and Slater 1992 ) In addition to these ideas, the literary projects were applied the activites inspired my own teaching experience acquired during my English lessons or attending course in British and American literature at the Faculty of Education.

According to Collie and Slater activities "are a set of ideas and resources to stimulate variety in the classroom " (Collie and Slater 1992:93).

Collie and Slater put stress on activities which enrich language and involve students with the novel, moreover, activities should develop knowledge of the culture or historical events including in the novel. Students will be helped in their reading if some of the information is already understood and this will help the learning of new vocabulary. In addition, teachers should use pre-reading activities which provide before reading stage involving, for example, previewing the title and the cover illustration, information about the author or present illustrations in the novel. (Collie and Slater 1992:93)
On the other hand, teachers should not choose too many activities which disturb the base of reading sensed as a quiet, private activity. Undoubtedly, activities for presenting novels are supposed to provide enjoyment of reading in the students. It is a good idea to use not only silent reading of the literary extract from some novel but also listening to the extract on a cassette or watching video. (Collie and Slater 1992:94)
Collie and Slater claim that it is supposed that for lengthier novels the teacher will have to section the text and work to can combine class and home work. Moreover, the teacher will take for granted to combine various class work using a productive tension between group and individual responses of students. (Collie and Slater 1992: 36 )

In my literary projects I demonstrate students´ involvement in the language learning process on the Students´ projects. Group work, students´projects, and other shared activities provides students with the opportunity to take their own responsibility for their learning. Group work gives students the possibility to organize themselves, cooperate with others and participate in the learning process actively and independently. ( Brewster, Ellis and Girard 1992:110 )

Students appreciate the possibility to explore their own responses to literature and including the group work they are more familiar with the literary texts. (Collie and Slater 1992:9)



Time: 90 minutes

Level: Pre-intermediate ( the ninth grade at primary school )


Students will improve their reading skills and be encouraged to succeed in comprehension of the literary extract from original version of the novel. Students will be acquainted with the novel called Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. They will work with the plot, historical facts and moral features of the main characters of the novel.

Subsidiary Aims:

Students will develop a group work in the class. In addition to literary and reading aspects, students will practise grammar concerning on past simple tense.


The previous lesson students were acquainted with the idea of the upcoming lesson and practised new target vocabulary. Students have heard about Sir Walter Scott in Czech Language and Literature lessons. Some students may have also read the book Ivanhoe in Czech version or seen the film in Czech.

Teaching aids and sources:

Printed original extract - chapter 43 taken from the internet Bibliomania, Free Online Literature with more than 2000 Classic Texts. 21 July 2006 <> ( see APPENDIX 7 )

Printed ( by teacher ) adaptated extract – chapter 41 taken from the internet Bibliomania, Free Online Literature with more than 2000 Classic Texts. 21 July 2006 <> ( see APPENDIX 4 )

Copies of extract from Czech version – Walter Scott, Jaroslav Kraus. Ivanhoe. Praha: Státní nakladatelství dětské knihy, 1958. 41 s. ( see APPENDIX 8 )

Original materials for activities using in the lessons – Introduction ( see APPENDIX 2)

Original materials for activities using in the lessons – Montage ( see APPENDIX 3)

Original materials for activities using in the lessons – Summaries with gaps ( see APPENDIX 5)

Original materials for activities using in the lessons – Biographical detection

( see APPENDIX 6)

Czech-English , English-Czech dictionaries, school board and board markers





Warm up

5 mins
Activity 1
5 mins

Whole class + teacher

Group work




Activity 1

10 mins

Group work



Activity 2

10 mins

Group work

Hidden character


Activity 3

10 mins

Group work

Summaries with gaps


Activity 4

15 mins

Group work

Biographical detection


Activity 5

15 mins


Ordering paragraphs


Activity 1

10 mins

Whole class

+ teacher

The winning team

After-reading Activity 2

10 mins for instructions

Whole class + teacher

Students´ project
Lesson procedure:


Pre-reading activity: Warm up: Debates – This activity is focused on a whole class discussion and based on the fact that books provide various themes that can be discussed in the class. ( Collie and Slater 1992: 74 ) Teacher asks students possible questions:

What kind of stories do you like? Do you like stories about knights? What is a knight like? Would you like to be a queen or king?

Pre-reading activiy: Activity 1 : Introduction - to introduce to students the plan of the lesson. Next, to inform them about the rules, requirements of the competition, divide them into two teams. Students work together in two teams in order to win the competition called ‘The Great Knightly Tournament by getting the points ( king´s crowns ) ( see APPENDIX 2 ) for each correct answers during different kinds of prepared activities and finally get the first prize: ‘Treasure of the King Richard I the Lion-Hearted – a box of sweets.

Reading activity: Activity 1: Montage – The teacher collects some photos, objects, place names: anything which is relevant to the author´s life and the novel. The class in teams put together the items in the montage. ( Collie and Slater 1992: 52 ) ( see APPENDIX 3 )

Reading activity: Activity 2 : Hidden character – Students in the teams read the adapted version of the short extract / chapter 41 / ( see APPENDIX 4 ) and predict the name of the ‘King of Outlaws’ . Afterwards as a feedback, students read the extract which includes the evidence that the ‘King of Outlaws’ is a famous English hero Robin Hood. Furthermore, students can compare adapted, original and Czech version of the extract. ( see APPENDIX 8 )

Reading activity: Activity 3 : Summaries with gaps – Students fill in the missing words into the brief summary of the historical novel Ivanhoe. Students chose words from the prepared set of words. Students complete missing information concerning plot summary of the novel. ( Collie and Slater 1992: 43 ) ( see APPENDIX 5 )

Reading activity: Activity 4 : Biographical detection – Students are asked to find the correct answers to the questions relating to Sir Walter Scott. All needed information is situated on the walls in the classroom and students move around the classroom and find the correct answers. In addition to searching for information about Sir Walter Scott, students also practise past simple tense, because the information is put in the past simple tense. ( Collie and Slater 1992: 27 ) ( see APPENDIX 6 )

Reading activity: Activity 5 : Ordering paragraphs – Students put the paragraphs of the exctract ( chapter 43 ) taken from the original version in the correct order and then read the paragraphs. ( see APPENDIX 7 )

After-reading activity: Activity 1: The winning team – At the end of the competition students count their points (king´s crowns ) and the winning team is announced and rewarded with the first prize ( ‘ Treasure of the King Richard I the Lion-Hearted ).

This activity can be used as a feedback for all competition.
After-reading activity: Activity 2: Students´ project - ‘ Ivanhoe – hero of the 21st century . This project is aimed at moral character of the main hero Wilfred of Ivanhoe as a typical example of knight´s chivalry and based on students´ concept of the present hero with his appearance and character. Students make the projects in the following English lesson. Their task is to draw a medieval knight and discuss his chivalry qualities. Students are motivated by the teacher´s questions and ideas.

T: What is a typical knight´s quality? Is Ivanhoe a brave? Is Ivanhoe a positive hero? Do you know another positive hero? What is a present hero like?

Students use a Czech-English dictionaries to look up new words concerning the knight´s qualities. Further, they try to think about present hero and his character in comparison with the medieval knight. Students create the present hero in the similar way. The focus of the project is put on the theme of the novel.

On the basis of the cross-curricular links students worked on the projects with History teacher who devoted her lessons to the period of the twelfth century in England – the age of Richard the Lion-Hearted. Moreover, they worked with Czech Literature teacher who prepared such lessons to present to students information about Sir Walter Scott´s life and literary works in more detail.

This project was created by Radim Pařízek, Ondřej Pospíšil, Monika Klimešová, Lucie Wernerová a Lenka Večeřevá - 9.A.

Evaluation of the lessons:

As I mentioned in theoretical part of the bachelor thesis I decided to include a novel called Ivanhoe in English lessons in order to awaken the students´ interest in literature and encourage them to succeed in comprehension of original literary extracts from the novel. Furthermore, students improved their reading skills, enriched vocabulary and practised using past simple tense. In addition to these language aspects they were acquainted with historical information linked with the period of the twelfth century in England. My aim was to present students the idea of chivalry of the knights represented by main hero Wilfred of Ivanhoe in this novel. Moreover, the work on the students´ project makes students think about moral characters or values at present.

The vocabulary Scottish English involved in the original extracts of the historical novel Ivanhoe seemed to be difficult for students. Therefore students started to work with the adapted version of the historical novel Ivanhoe.

In my experience, the students succeeded in using extracts from original version of the novel. Even if they didn´t understand the whole of the texts they achieved a comprehension of the main facts. Therefore they managed to accomplish all activities prepared in my literary English lessons. On the other hand, some students did not feel confident and comfortable at the beginning of the lesson due to the uncertainty in working with literary texts in the original but during the lesson they were involved in the competition by other members of the team. At the end of the lessons all students were rewarded for their efforts and work by receiving marks 1 to motivate them to continue working on other literary projects.



Time: 90 minutes

Level: Pre-intermediate ( the ninth grade at primary school )


Students will be involved in the atmosphere of the story by using own imaginery and fantasy. They will improve listening and reading skills with using their investigative and creative abilities.They will work with the plot, setting and background of the novel Robinson Crusoe.

Subsidiary Aims:

Students will develop a group work in the class during making a students´ project called ‘ The real Robinson Crusoe concerned on the theme background of the novel and based on the searching information about Alexander Selkirk in the internet during the IT lessons.


Students are supposed to have heard about the novel called Robinson Crusoe in Czech Language and Literature lessons. Some students may have also read the book Robinson Crusoe in Czech version or seen the cartoon or film in Czech.

Teaching aids and sources:

Printed original extract - chapter 5 taken from the internet: Bibliomania, Free Online Literature with more than 2000 Classic Texts. 21 July 2006 <> ( see APPENDIX 12 )

Printed extract from simplified version – chapter 3 and home reading – chapter 5 – Daniel Defoe, retold by Diane Mowat. Robinson Crusoe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-422720-0.

Cards with pictures from the story and cards with the text of the story – simplified version – Daniel Defoe, retold by D.K.Swan. Robinson Crusoe.London: Longman Picture Classics, 1995. ISBN 0-582-08886-0 ( see APPENDIX 11A,B )

Articles and picture of Alexander Selkirk + picture of Daniel Defoe taken from the internet: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 21 July 2006

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