The values of language arts and adolescent literature have been recognized in language learning as they allow learners to participate in content-rich activities and provide students with authentic purposes. The Curriculum Development Council and Education Department in Hong Kong also highly recommended the use of various kinds of adolescent literature and language arts activities in teaching English. To my understanding, language arts is a boarder term than adolescent literature.
Language arts are processes of communicating meaning and ways of constructing meaning. It may consist of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and visually representing. On the other hands, adolescent literature are literature that has been specifically written for and marketed to young adolescents (10-21-year-old), as well as anything young adults are reading of their own free will. Usually, the contents are about youngsters’ experience. Themes are also interest to them. Language used in adolescent literature often parallels that of young people.
The umbrella term “adolescent literature” describes all the forms of fiction: short stories, drama, poetry, and literary essays. It may also include a variety of non-fiction forms such as diaries, journals, biographies, and autobiographies etc. In this essay, I am going to critically response to the story “Matilda” written by Roald Dahl and discuss how to use this story to teach language arts in an ESL classroom. Firstly, I will write an autobiography for Matilda as a critical response to the story. Part of it is based on the story and part of it is based on my imagination.
Secondly, I will explore the functions and values of language arts activities in general, followed by four different activities which focus on four language skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. Moreover, rationales for choosing the activities will be discussed too. Lastly, I will conclude my essay by summarize what I have discussed and the probable outcomes of implementing adolescent literature in language classroom. Autobiography of Matilda Wormwood Have you ever eaten a lemon? If so, you know it is very sour and bitter. It puckers your mouth and makes you wince.
The first part of my life is like a lemon: bitter and sour. I was born in a “TV watching family”. My father was in the automobile business. He owned and operated a dealership that sold faulty cars at unfair prices and he liked it just fine that way. My mother was hooked on bingo. I was totally different from them. In my childhood, my whole life was reading, reading and reading. I enjoyed dealing with books for a whole day. I read every kind of books, from literature (especially my favorite writer, Charles Dickens’ novels), astronomy, mathematics, geography, world history etc.
Instead of supporting me to read, my parents treated me nothing more than a scab. I started school at five and a half-years-old at Crunchem Hall Primary School. Although the first year at Crunchem was absolutely a nightmare to me, I still think that it is the most memorable place because I met the most inspiring person in my life, Miss Honey. She became my guardian when my parents decided to go to Spain. I spent the most happiest time with Miss Honey. She took care of me, just like mother and daughter. She supported me in learning, just like teacher and student. We shared our happiness and sadness, just like friends.
With her persistent guidance, I entered university at the age of 8. My main interest is on English literature, especially the postmodern ones. At the age of 12 years, 2 months and 18 days, I successfully passed my Master of Arts in Contemporary Literature and became the youngest Master graduate in the Guinness World Record. Despite the early part of life is like a bitter lemon, I turned the bitter and sour lemon to a sweet honeymelon with my magical power. With the influence by Miss Honey, I chose to take up a career as a teacher because I would like to show children that grown-ups are not monsters.
General functions and value of language arts activities Undoubtedly, many adolescent students are often uninterested in anything literary or cultural, so many of them do not have a habit of reading at home. Therefore, it is important to stimulate their interest in literature by using various types of language arts activity. In this part, I will discuss the functions and values of language arts activities in general. More concrete examples of using “Matilda” in a language classroom will be followed in next part. There are several functions of language arts activities.