Secondary School Literature

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Secondary School Literature

Postby autumnbronze » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:18 am

Original Title: Some tips on SAVOURING (studying) Literature :))

//Editor's note: Topic selected for Portal publication

The beauty about savouring Literature is that it gives one an opportunity to voice out one’s opinion backed by logic/evidence from text. What is further extraordinary about this subject is that it is subjective.

However, it is unfortunate that Literature is not considered a core subject. On the contrary, the savouring of Literature enhances one’s skill/ability in understanding human relations and also allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of the authors and explore in an in-depth manner, their thought mechanism behind the plot from the characters’ point of view. To use 'Diary of Anne Frank' as an example, if you have read it, then you will know what I am talking about.

Literature also assists in the development of the subtleties of the English language, which, in turn, leads to improved and sophisticated communication skills verbally and in the written form. This is true especially in honing up one’s ability in doing well in Paper 1 and in answering inferential questions in Paper 2 in the English Language paper.

All too many pupils brush aside the subject because their main grouse is that it is too boring. However, have they actually persevered in reading the book before passing judgement?? What about delving into the background of the author, in order to find out what was it that motivated him to write the novel in the first place. Or researching into the historical, social, political, geographical or cultural context of the text? How many pupils go that far? Not many, I reckon.

By and large, pupils tend to rely on the teachers for notes, guide books or online resources to ‘feed’ their imagination. When I was teaching, I tend to give the pupils Lit ‘homework’ to prepare for the text to be taught the following year. That ‘homework’ entailed doing background research on the author and the text, finding out meanings of some literary terms, reading and annotating the text and keeping a reading log as well.

So how can one savour the text? Read on:

Find out the author’s background
Is there any personal motivation behind the author’s book? ‘Animal Farm' is an excellent example (I am using a Sec 2 text as an example). George Orwell’s novel is mostly derived from his personal grievances and
experiences about Russia’s political system and inequality.

Find out the background of the book
Again, through your research, you will discover that 'Animal Farm' is an analogy of the communist system gone wrong in Russia (from Orwell’s point of view). Hence, the need to understand some terms like communism, socialism, capitalism as well as a brief history of Russia, like how communism came about and the Russian Revolution.

Literary terms
Some definitions of useful terms to take note of are plot, characteristics, themes (the first three are the most basic, which should be sufficient for now), followed by simile, metaphor, irony, symbolism, foreshadowing, point of view ie, is it written from the 1st or 3rd person, to name a few.
It is also good to have a list of adjectives (relating to feelings) at hand.

Annotation
Once you get the hang of Pt 3, then, as one is savouring the text, it is helpful to annotate (note down) one’s thoughts. For instance, a pupil can indicate “why” (if he is not satisfied with say, a character’s actions) and “characteristics of the characters” (what kind of person is he/she) “feelings about the character/ what the character is feeling/experiencing” etc… as he is reading and ‘discovering’ the text.

Page references also help, for instance, if the main character’s personality is further elaborated later in the book, one can pen “refer to page xxx also” in the earlier chapter.

This is also where indication of your personal response is very important. Let your imagination flow. Put yourselves in the character’s shoes. Again, taking the above-mentioned text as an example, you may write “I feel enraged/appalled (if that is what you feel) that farmer Jones has treated the animals so badly” after reading the first few chapters.

As you read the text, how do you feel about the character or incident that has just taken place? Or what feelings does this writing create in you? Do you like a particular word/phrase that was used? Why?
There is a reading log to upkeep too. But this will suffice for now. I always tell my pupils to treat their Lit text as their Holy book. They should bring it with them everywhere, read it whenever they can, over and over again, in the bus, while waiting in the queue etc.. because there will always be new insights that the pupils will discover with each reading.

Some food for thought ... How to know if one is a true blue Lit student?? My personal take - just check his text, it should be dog-eared and full of annotations. Incidentally, I have always believed that Literature is subject to be savoured, not studied. Because just like food, you have to approach it with an open mind, without any judgement, relish it a few or many times, in order to learn to appreciate it. To quote Francis Bacon, “…books are to be tasted …chewed and digested.”


Updated as at 26.12.09 @ 4.31pm

Dear Parents,

This is the MOE website which provides the syllabus details on Lower Sec Literature:

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/syllabu ... y-2007.pdf

Hope this helps :D

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

// Afternote:
Hi CKS and Buds,

:thankyou:

BTW, Buds, for all the pre-school educational tips that you have been sharing plus advice, it'll be my pleasure to return the favour.

But you know what, I have a strange feeling that your DDs will be alright, cuz that strange feeling tells me that you were a 'true blue' Lit student??
Last edited by autumnbronze on Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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How to savour Literature (Part 2)

Postby autumnbronze » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:11 am

How to savour Literature (Part 2)

Here is a list of 'Feeling Words' to help you start off.

BTW, if if you do not know your Lit text for next yr, may I suggest that you use the book that you are currently reading for leisure to practice the tips as suggested above ....

I have categorized them under:

ANGER

1.bothered
2.disturbed
3.troubled
4.indignant
5.frustrated
6.annoyed
7.upset
8.furious
9.irritated
10.angry


FEAR
1.tense
2.trapped
3.panicky
4.shaky
5.alarmed
6.threatened
7.intimidated
8.uneasy
9.agitated
10.lonely

SADNESS
1.despondent
2.miserable
3.disillusioned
4.overwhelmed
5.dejected
6.solemn
7.discouraged
8.disheartened
9.crushed
10.sorry



ENJOYMENT
1.energetic
2.amused
3.hopefu
4.pleased
5.joyful
6.content
7.calm
8.alive
9.hopeful
10.excited

SURPRISE
1.unprepared
2.horrified
3.speechless
4.perplexed
5.stunned
6.shocked
7.astonished
8.puzzled
9.confused
10.amazed

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Postby caroline3sg » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:39 am

Thank you autumnbronze

Do you know what are other sec 1 literature books?

1) Chinese Cinderalla - sec ?
2) Merchant of Venice - sec 2
3) Midsummer night's dream - sec ?

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Postby HoneyMong » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:43 am

Thanks Autumnbronze.

This comes in so timely. My son going to Sec 1 next year, and he is trying to find out more about Lit, and whether he should go for it in addition to studying Science which is his favourite subject. Pretty good in Science, but not so good in Maths though. Now we have some clue what it entails. Thanks. :D

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Postby autumnbronze » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:03 pm

caroline3sg wrote:Thank you autumnbronze

Do you know what are other sec 1 literature books?

1) Chinese Cinderalla - sec ?
2) Merchant of Venice - sec 2
3) Midsummer night's dream - sec ?


Hi caroline3sg,

Glad to be of help. With regards to sec 1 Lit books. There are quite a lot of titles as schools have free play to choose them as long as they meet the MOE requirements.

Nonetheless, this is what I know some schools are using, here goes,

4)Sing to the Dawn (gasp!! I did that at Sec 1 :D)
5)Emily of Emerald Hill
6)The Outsiders
7)Or Else, The Lightning God
8)The Good Earth
9) Literature Up Close
10)Federal Literature
11)Ten short stories
12)Flights of Fancy 1

Really the list can go on, there's really a myriad of books. Incidentally, I taught MOV and MND at Sec 1, but it was the prose version.

BTW, I believe some schools have already posted their booklist on their website. You might want to check it out.

Hope this helps...

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Postby autumnbronze » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:14 pm

HoneyMong wrote:Thanks Autumnbronze.

This comes in so timely. My son going to Sec 1 next year, and he is trying to find out more about Lit, and whether he should go for it in addition to studying Science which is his favourite subject. Pretty good in Science, but not so good in Maths though. Now we have some clue what it entails. Thanks. :D


Hi HoneyMong,

Glad you found the info useful. I do hope your son decides to go for it. :D

Just to share - From my past experience, I found that many pupils came unprepared for Lit at Sec 1 cuz they had no idea what to expect. By the time term started, they have other 'new' subjects to pay attention to, that Lit ends up being 'neglected'. :cry:

Thus, I hope that the info provided will enable them to have some sort of headstart. :D

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Postby buds » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:21 pm

Heyya autumnbronze, i SANG to the dawn too! Gosh! :shock:
Aniwaes, i know who to look for now when it's my DDs turn
to do Literature in future!

Psst, Chief... this is an informative article for portal publication. :wink:

buds
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Postby emerald » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:47 pm

caroline3sg wrote:Thank you autumnbronze

Do you know what are other sec 1 literature books?

1) Chinese Cinderalla - sec ?
2) Merchant of Venice - sec 2
3) Midsummer night's dream - sec ?



Do IP and non-IP schools use the same texts?

emerald
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Postby VitoRelax » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:53 pm

Really stressful.

I remember back then in school my language was poor but was forced to take literature.

I only manage to finish reading the whole story book only once & that was 1 hr before the final exams !!

How I know why the kids' language are better than mine !!

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Postby Fairy » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:59 pm

autumnbronze wrote:[
Nonetheless, this is what I know some schools are using, here goes,

4)Sing to the Dawn (gasp!! I did that at Sec 1 :D)
5)Emily of Emerald Hill
6)The Outsiders
7)Or Else, The Lightning God
8 )The Good Earth9) Literature Up Close
10)Federal Literature
11)Ten short stories
12)Flights of Fancy 1

Really the list can go on, there's really a myriad of books. Incidentally, I taught MOV and MND at Sec 1, but it was the prose version.

BTW, I believe some schools have already posted their booklist on their website. You might want to check it out.

Hope this helps...


"The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck? I vaguely remember....Wang Lung, the farmer? I didn't know it is being used as lit book. I enjoyed reading Pearl S Buck's books in my sec school days.

I don't find Sing To The Dawn & Or Else, The lightning God that nice.

Ten short stories was my lit book in sec1. Not sure if it is the same one used by students nowadays. I thought it should not be used now cause it's too simple compared to Animal Farm & others. I also remember we used My family & other Animals by Gerald Durrel.

Fairy
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