Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education Issue 15
2012-03-01 発行

英語文学を教材として読むための発問 : Hemingway 作"A Day's Wait"を用いて

Questions for Literary Texts as English Teaching Materials : In the Case of Hemingway's "A Day's Wait"
Takehisa, Kana
Ishihara, Tomohide
In The Course of Study for Upper Secondary School to be implemented in 2013 the overall objective of learning foreign languages is: "To develop students' communication abilities such as accurately understanding and appropriately conveying information, ideas, etc., deepening their understanding of language and culture, and fostering a positive attitude toward communication through foreign languages." We claim that literature can contribute to developing all the abilities articulated here. This paper, however, pays particular attention to the last ability, maintaining that students can foster "a positive attitude" toward reading through literature written in English.

To put Roland Barthes' theory simply, a "text" which is open to interpretation gives us "pleasure" of reading. Few people would object that literature is more open to interpretation than any other writing. It follows, therefore, that students, through literature, might find pleasure in reading and foster "a positive attitude" toward it.

Many studies emphasize the importance of questions in the instruction of reading. As Fukazawa (2008) and Takehisa & Ono (2010) point out, however, most of the questions in the textbooks authorized by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology can be categorized as "questions requiring literal comprehension of the texts." According to Tsuido (1989), this type of question does not really enhance learners' reading abilities because it only makes them "look for" answers in the text. To make reading more stimulating and beneficial to learners, we maintain that not only literal but also inferential or interpretational questions are needed. And this is particularly true for literary texts, which require us to read between the lines and are open to a variety of interpretations.

Hemingway's short story, "A Day's Wait" is included in a textbook for senior high school students published in 2007. The story is put in the original, not being simplified or abridged. The problem is that the text does not have any questions, exercises or tasks that would help students comprehend the story. All it has is a very short introduction to the story and some notes on words or phrases assumed to be difficult for high school students. So, in this paper, we have developed 18 questions which we hope would lead to students' comprehension and appreciation of the story. The questions can be divided into three types, namely (1) Type A: Literal Questions, (2) Type B: Inferential Questions and (3) Type C: Interpretational Questions. The ratio among the three types is 11:6:7. (The total number, 24 does not correspond with the number of the questions, 18. This is because we regarded 6 questions as covering two types.)
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