Learning English through Short Stories

Learning English through Short Stories

General Description of the Module : Learning English through Short Stories

 Introductory note to Learning & Teaching Activities

At this stage you will experience the activities from the perspective of the student. As we have limited time in the workshop, we will divide you into 6 groups, and give you instructions to follow in each group. The tutor will be mingling amongst you to help with procedures, ideas and the development of your work. Some of the work you generate at this point will be used as material for formative assessment practice in Part 4 of the day.

Important note: if you were to run these activities with your students, you would not give them the instructions to follow (remember that we have used this method in the workshop today because of time constraints). Instead, as a teacher, you would lead the students, stage by stage, through the activities.

Therefore, as you are working through the activities, think about the sequencing of your presentation language, your concept checking questions, your instructions and your roundup questions. This will help you decide which stages may need to be modified for the needs of your particular groups.

This module introduces learners to the world of short stories, encouraging them to read, write and tell them.
Learners will be engaged in different activities which aim to develop
a) their understanding of the major features of short stories,
b) their language skills
c) cultural awareness
d) critical thinking skills and
e) creativity.
At the end of the module learners will either
a) write their own story or
b) develop a given story outline.

Learning Targets of the Module

To develop learners’ ability to
a) understand the major features of short stories (e.g. openings/closings, character, plot, twists)
b) respond and give expression to the imaginative ideas and feelings expressed in short stories through oral, written and performative means.
c) understand how English works in short stories and apply this understanding to their learning and use of the language.

Learning Objectives of the Module

a) To help learners to understand the concepts of narration, setting, character, theme and symbol, as well as to consider ways to create mood, and write good story using openings, closings and dialogue.

b) To help learners to apply the concepts and techniques they have learned in their own writing.
c) To enhance learners’ skills and interest in reading and appreciating short stories from a wide variety of sources.
d) To help learners to talk about fiction in an informed way.
e) To introduce learners to storytelling as an art form.

Content of the Module

In Part 1, learners are introduced to the aims, design and content of the module. They will learn to identify and understand the key features of a short story, and read short stories with appreciation.

Learning English through Short Stories

In Part 2, learners read and write specific aspects of a short story such as setting, character, theme, dialogue, opening and closing. They will also start to write their own story for the module by gathering ideas and producing drafts.

In Part 3, learners practise oral and story-telling skills by sharing a story of their own choice with the class. They will finalise the draft for their module story and perform it to the class.


Assessment in the Short Stories module will focus on learners’ demonstration of their ability to:
a) understand concepts and techniques of short story writing
b) apply this understanding to create short examples
c) produce a written short story
d) comment helpfully on the work of others
e) tell or perform stories orally
f) read and comment on a number of short stories
A range of activities will be used for assessing learner performance, including
a) short pieces of writing
b) an end-of-course short story
c) oral performances

Choose some of the following questions to discuss as a follow up to lessons or on completion of the book

1. The title of this story is ‘Frankenstein’. Does the title make it clear that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the monster? And if it doesn’t, is there a reason for this, do you think? How much should a title explain about a story? Should it give information, or be mysterious?
2. What do you think about Frankenstein’s decision to try and put life into a dead body? Do you think what he did was right or wrong? Why?
3. Can we blame the monster for his actions? For example, did he know what he was doing when he committed the murders or was it not his fault?
4. How do you think a ‘monster’ like Frankenstein would be treated in our society today?
5. What were your feelings towards the monster? Did you feel sorry for him? Why / why not?
6. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Explain why.
• Scientists should try new things all the time. If they don’t, we will never find new and better ways of living.
• There are some ideas that scientists should not think about or study, for example, putting an end to a seriously ill person’s life, or putting parts of animals into humans.
• Nobody (doctors, scientists, artists etc.) should re-use parts of dead people’s bodies for any reason.
• Scientists just want to discover and understand new things. It is not their fault if other people use their scientific discoveries in dangerous or evil ways.
7. What did you think of the story? Would you recommend it to your friends? Why / why not?


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