“In true education, anything that comes to our hand is as good as a book: the prank of a page- boy, the blunder of a servant, a bit of table talk – they are all part of the curriculum.”
Michel de Montaigne
To language teachers’ innovative minds, there can be no missed instructional toolkits in the world of printed words. To them, any written work whatever it is made for, tend to be worthy as source of knowledge when appropriately processed. An editorial, news, a newspaper column, an email, an airline ticket, a product label, a promotional product brochure, a technical product’s specifications, loglines from posters and books, and reviews of varied topics published may yield language learning. To be specific, lines from published works may have been constructed for entertainment purposes; however, there are embedded noteworthy insights of varied levels that can be extracted from them to facilitate instructions. Excerpts such as historical novel’s opening lines can add to classroom strategies for operative students’ knowledge acquisition. In connection to this concept, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, has been opted. Here’s the originally excerpted material from the novel’s opening paragraph employed as a catalyst for English language and literature instructions.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-“
Students’ focus reading ability portrays a dominant role in the application of this approach. Through the aid of their prior and teacher- introduced linguistic knowledge, they can explore the excerpt to discover linguistic and literary concepts more than what they anticipate. And since the introduced material for instruction is a product of literature, literary elements can be academically explored. Moreover, the learners can further perform researches eliciting comprehensions regarding its background. This simply elucidates that using extracts such as novel’s opening lines requires an analysis of appropriate materials that possess the necessary elements to advance learning. A meticulously chosen material facilitates students’ naturally interlinked process of acquiring knowledge. Reading and research usually go together. The product of interplay between the two is comprehension. When these significant lines are employed, initial ideas can be taken out of reading. These ideas back students’ further understanding and the greater the awareness they obtain, the more inquests about them surface. In the process, prior language awareness with newly teacher-introduced language are utilized adding up to the knowledge of the words that they manipulate in expressing perceptions of the contents. The extract from the novel serves as a pedagogical catalyst. To be specific, the lines offer language and literary instructions.
There can be numerous language activities under this category in which the language tasks below are included. It can be perceived that these grammar activities originating from the opening lines further serve as springboards to create other language-related activities catering to learners’ different comprehension levels. In explicating these activities, the expected or possible responses to the instructions are given to serve as patterns for further deliberations. It may be favorable to teach the concepts through “show and tell” style with the aid of models especially to non-native speakers with fewer exposures to the English language to establish systematic learning foundations. Teachers are expected to be flexible by simplifying or generating other undertakings out of these introduced tasks depending on the learning factors of their students along with their educational institution’s curriculum coverage. It is the curriculum where objectives or intended outcomes are going to be formulated. Moreover, it will also depend on how an institution’s educational management welcomes innovation from their teachers.
1. Recognizing statements by capitalization and punctuation
Frame the group of words in the excerpt as simple sentences. Observe proper punctuation and capitalization.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair. We had everything before us. We had nothing before us. We were all going direct to Heaven. We were all going direct the other way.
2. Conjugation of simple tenses through sentences
In a column chart, write the statements in three simple tenses: simple past, simple present, and future (going to).
It was the best of times. It is the best of times. It is going to be the best of times.
It was the worst of times. It is the worst of times. It is going to be the worst of times.
It was the age of wisdom. It is the age of wisdom. It is going to be the age of wisdom.
It was the age of foolishness. It is the age of foolishness. It is going to be the age of foolishness.
3. Construction of continuous tenses
Write the past and present continuous tenses of the statements.
We were all going direct to heaven. We are all going direct to heaven.
We were all going direct the other way. We are all going direct the other way.
4. Transforming statement into questions.
Change the statements into questions in the simple past, present, future (going to), past and present continuous.
Was it the best of times? Is it the best of times? Is it going to be the best of times?
Was it the worst of times? Is it the worst of times? Is it going to be the worst of times?
Was it the age of wisdom? Is it the age of wisdom? Is it going to be the age of wisdom?