Dickensian lesson plan ?

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  • Englishteacher
    17 April, 2008 at 18:57
    • Total posts: 3

    Hi all,
    I am doing the teacher training course for trinity. The students I have to teach are advanced level and have expressed an interest in Charles Dickens, so I have decided that my next lesson plan will centre around Charles Dickens. They have an exam coming up to test them on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Now dont get me wrong, Im not looking for anyone to write my lesson plan for me (I already have some ideas) , but has anyone got any suggestion for fun activities that I could use that would allow the class to explore Charles Dickens and practise their four key skills ?
    Any suggestions greatly appreciated !

    19 April, 2008 at 8:44
    • Total posts: 590

    Reply To: Dickensian lesson plan ?

    As your time with these students is limited, you’ll need to look for a relatively short Dickensian passage that you can use within the timeframe of one or two classes.

    I would look for a passage that deals with a specific issue that can be discussed (poverty, class differences, for example). A discussion about this can be a good way to start a literary lesson to warm the students to the context and prepare them for the reading. You can also discuss the social and historical context within which Dickens wrote.

    After that, I would have them read the passage extensively for pleasure (remember, after all, the primary reason most people read literature).

    To check understanding you could:

    – set some comprehension questions
    – give the beginning of four sentences which summarise different parts of the passage and have them complete the summaries

    After that, you could

    – look at some of the features of descriptive writing – have them identify different literary ways of adding information, making comparisons, etc, that Dickens uses to make his writing richer
    – look at Dickens’ descriptions of characters and discuss what can be inferred about these characters

    You mentioned practising all four skills. I think listening would have to come from listening to each other in the discussions that you have – recording the passage and using it as a listening text rather than a reading text could work, but you might think it’s not very realistic – think about the most likely way your students wil be exposed to this type of text. (In the same way, if you were practising taking telephone messages, which would be more useful, a listening or a reading exercise?)

    Hope that gives you a few ideas. Feel free to post some of your ideas here and I’ll be happy to comment on them.


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