Author Topic: Encouraging Research on Background Information of the Text (Harry Potter)  (Read 47 times)

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Offline maryama2

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  Harry Potter, particularly the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Scorcher’s Stone/ Philosopher’s Stone, is very much centered around the concept of alchemy and the ‘history of magic’. J. K. Rowling creates a whole world that is inspired by an abundance of literary, historical, and cultural sources. Since there are a lot of concepts that ESL/EFL students may not be familiar with, perhaps due to cultural differences, it would make their reading experience of HP a lot more memorable and fruitful if they were given a chance to learn about the origins of some of the ideas. This is a resource that might be useful to both the teachers and students.

Teachers can browse the alchemy-related articles in this website (as well as other resources) to extract the main concepts they might like to share with their students depending on age and language learning level. If the students do not seem to have enough background information (schemata) on the concepts and origins of alchemy, teachers can pick appropriate information that they can adapt to activities of a lesson.

If the students are at a high enough level, using such resources may be a good opportunity to encourage the development of some background-research skills. The teacher can give students  keywords or guiding questions and resources to skim and scan for background information on:

Nicolas Flamel — a real, historical person, who lived in 15th-century Paris (‘alchemist')
The history of alchemy and elixirs
The discovery of animals and plants in the 1500s and inspiration behind the creatures in HP

Reading such articles would also give students a chance to read texts of a difference genre (non-fiction, informative article) that is related to the primary text of the unit, HP.