Tracy Chevalier’s Falling Angels in the EFL classroom: a study on the use of historical fiction in the language learning context

Detta är en L3-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Utbildningsvetenskap; Lunds universitet/Engelska

Sammanfattning: This investigation will analyze how the genre historical fiction, more specifically the novel Falling Angels (2001) written by Tracy Chevalier, can be used in the EFL (English as Foreign Language) classroom in upper secondary school in Sweden. It will argue that the different themes approached by the novel are interesting points of departure to be used in the classroom for both language learning and personal development, according to the requirements of the Swedish National Agency for Education. The investigation consists of an analysis of the novel using New Historicism as a theoretical framework and using as reference the Swedish national curriculum for upper secondary school, as well as the English and history syllabi. The genre historical fiction was chosen due to its popularity and possibility of discussing historical, social and cultural aspects of the countries where English is used. This particular novel was chosen for some reasons: the first is the narrative technique with first-person narration where almost all the characters have voice; the second reason is the variety of themes that could possibly emerge in classroom discussions. In addition, it is a contemporary representation of a historical moment, which may lead to different interpretations than those obtained from a novel written at the time it represents. The study suggests that the use of historical fiction and this particular novel in the EFL classroom in Sweden gives the teachers a large range of themes to work with, where the students can develop their language skills as well as historical, cultural and social awareness of themselves and the surrounding world. In addition, by using this novel or any historical novel in the EFL classroom, it is also possible to start a collaborative work between English and history, where both teachers and students can benefit from. Keywords: historical novel, Falling Angels, EFL, new historicism, historical and cultural awareness

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