Pre Convention Institute ARTESOL 2014
Using American Young Adult Literature in the EFL Classroom
Thursday, May 8, 2014
09:15-09:30 Opening Ceremony
Section A: Young Adult Literature
“The Why, how and what of YA LIT” by Gabriela Helale and Susana Perez
This introductory presentation consists of a brief description of the Young Adult Literature and ESL Methods Program developed by the English Language Center at Michigan State University which focuses on training teachers on ways to best make use of young-adult literature in the ESL classroom. The main theoretical tenets of YAL will be briefly summarized, touching upon the significant role of YA LIT as a valuable tool to improve our students’ reading skills and enhance their knowledge of the target culture.
10:00 – 11:00
Section B. Young Adult Literature Experiences (Primary School)
“Picture Books: a new Literacy” by Susana Perez
Engagement with picture books can highly contribute to becoming a literate adult, one who not only has the capacity of decoding words accurately, but also enjoys reading and takes the time to read. However, in order to realize the full potential of picture books, there are two aspects that should be considered: the purpose of picture books is to present children with literature and, at the same time, they can represent a major resource in children ‘s new literacy. Thus, this presentation briefly summarizes the characteristics of picture books and suggests effective ways of incorporating literature into young learners’ classes and understanding its impact in the development of early childhood skills.
11:15 – 12:15
Section B. Young Adult Literature Experience (Teacher Education Programs)
“The Power of Literature Circles: Students’ Perspective” by Antonella Percara and Sandra Bayona
Hedgcock and Ferris (2009) provide a list of positive aspects and drawbacks in using literary texts to teach reading in a second language. They mention, among others, the access to the cultural dimension through reading and the rich language exposure (249); time constraints (257) and the level of difficulty of the texts presented. Pollack Day et al. (2002) mention the benefits of working with literature circles: an aid for the teacher and a means to enhance students’ interaction, motivation and cooperative learning. These aspects, even when there is a reference to the learner, mainly hinge on the teacher’s needs and viewpoint. After working with literature circles with our students, we decided to ask them to identify the advantages and drawbacks they had faced along the experience. We devised a questionnaire, which the students answered online, to find out what our learners thought about lit circles, and thus have a wider view of the possibilities and problems posed by using this methodology in the classroom. As expected, the learners’ replies provided us with a wealth of information, which is the topic of our presentation.
12:15 – 13:30 Lunch break
“Setting, Character and Theme-Redefining Literary Concepts to Foster Lifelong Learning” by Gabriel Rojo
Setting, Character, Theme – we have taught and been taught these literary concepts countless times, but how meaningful is our understanding of them? How meaningful is the way in which we transmit them to our students? Using ideas developed by Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhem (2010) as a springboard, this presentation attempts to rethink these concepts and provide classroom strategies to deal with them in a way that can foster not only literary appreciation but also lifelong learning.
“The Art and Craft of using Literature Circles in the EFL Class” by Gabriela Helale
This presentation will enable teachers to analyze and gain better insights of the potential benefits of using Young Adult Literature (YA LIT) in the English class. Confronting learners with literary texts and improving their reading skills is a challenge that calls for a carefully well-planned sequence of activities enabling learners to construct the sense of those texts. Drawing on Constructivism and findings of research into L2 reading, a variety of structures and procedures for implementing literature circles as well as strategies that solidify their role will be presented and discussed. Different ways of assessing literature circles will be also introduced and analyzed.
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 – 16:45
Section Teacher Refresher events
“Introducing Young Adult Literature into the EFL Class” by Marina Moulia
“Many of the (…) current literacy problems stem from students lack of reading skills and strategy knowledge. (…) Students are not engaged in the reading processes outside the school-related activities, (…) a lack of engagement (that) negatively affects reading motivation and contributes to aliteracy among students”. This statement by M. Kelly, N. Wilson and M. Koss in the context of native speakers can well be applied to EFL students in the context of private and public schools. This presentation -based on the workshop held among teachers of English in Tres Arroyos (Buenos Aires) as part of a series of professional development carried out by state supervisors and teacher trainers- intends to reflect upon and enlighten different ways to motivate not only students but also teachers to read Young Adult Literature, enjoy it and develop critical thinking.
16:45 – 17:00 comments and Conclusions
17:00 – Raffle of materials