SECTION B – Critical Reading: Analogy
Duration: 30 minutes
Goals: Enable students to examine and understand text written in an analogous way
After introducing the theme of politics and election-related vocabulary from part A, let’s set up two lessons (1. critical reading using analogy; 2. reduced relative clauses) with one activity. This original activity and handout is written about the Canadian political context, but through animal terminology and expressions. The aim here is to show students:
a. that writers often play with the language to suit their intentions;
b. that comprehension may not be a simple matter of literal translation; and
c. examples of reduced relative clauses as implicit rather than explicit exposure.
(S / Ss – T) Give Ss the REDUCE the election selection handouts (click here to view/download PDF). Tell them that they are going to read a hypothetical political situation about a country’s political parties. Tell Ss to read about “the Dog Party”.
What is the name of this party? What is its nickname?
Answer: The Dog Party / The Dogs
Is it left or right wing?
Answer: Left middle
What are the main points about this party?
Answer: It is currently in power. They stole money from a scheme they claimed would pay tuition for students. Because of this, a new election has been called. Many people no longer support them.
Elicit the answers from Ss as a class and then give each S one of the party descriptions to read over. Ask Ss to think about the answers to the 3 questions with regards to that party. Take up as a class.
(S – S – S) Put Ss into groups of three with others who read about different parties. Have them talk about the parties they read by using the questions as a guide. Take up as a class.
(S / T – Ss) Have individuals read through the article again and highlight all examples of animal-related terms and expressions. Compare with a partner. Take up as a class and explain the literal meanings and uses of these expressions.
(S – S) With this knowledge, assign each pairing one of the parties to focus on. Have them reread the description and discuss the following questions and then discuss as a class:
1. Why did the writer use animal expressions?
Note to teachers: See #3, 4, 5
2. What did the writer mean to say about the party’s situation through the use of the animal expressions?
Note: If you can’t determine this, please post your question in the Comment Box and I’ll try to help explain.
3. Does the animal analogy make the article more interesting or more boring to read?
Note: The idea is to make articles on topics more interesting for a wider group of readers.
4. Does it seem clever or stupid?
Note: This type of analogous writing often is regarded as clever since it takes a good amount of thought to determine an appropriate context and applicable lexis.
5. Are the political concepts simpler or more difficult to understand?
Note: Analogies are often used to simplify what might usually be perceived as complex concepts into contexts that are more relatable.
(S – S – S) Ask Ss to discuss the pros and cons of all four when finished summarizing. Have groups come to a decision as to which party they would likely vote for and why. Discuss as a class.
(S – S) Ask pairs to describe the political leaders or parties of their countries as animals. Which would best describe their attitudes? Their behaviour? Their appearance? Why?
Next post: Grammar–Reduced Relative Clauses
Note: Reduced relative clauses are included in the descriptions, in italic on the Teacher’s copy and in regular font on the Student’s copy.