Tales and Consequences
Fitch O'Connell, Saturday 9.00-10.00

The British Council BritLit project (2003 – 2009) has worked with schools in three countries to explore ways in which literature, especially in the form of short stories and poetry, can be used as a language learning tool as well as a window onto cultural exploration.

The project has developed a methodology which addresses the issues of students and teacher engagement (or lack of it) in extensive reading and which develops techniques to encourage student’s ‘ownership’ of texts and narratives. Using a series of pre-reading techniques, together with textual intervention, inter-textual exploration and ‘intermedial’ adventures, we have achieved some impressive results. Together with our partners APPI (the Portuguese teachers association) and NILE (Norwich Institute of Language Education) we have engaged authors and teachers in joint programmes to create new classroom materials based on short stories and poetry. These resources are now available to teachers worldwide through the British Council Teaching English website.

This workshop will use some of the materials developed to explore the methodology of BritLit and address some of the issues faced by teachers exploring literature in the language classroom.

Fitch O’Connell has been the ELT Projects Manager for the British Council in Portugal for the past 6 years and is also the manager of the BritLit project. Fitch has worked as a teacher in ELT for nearly 20 years, and previously worked as a teacher in state schools in the UK and as a researcher and materials writer for educational projects for a major UK charitable trust in the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.