Writing Skills and Fairy Tales

Silvia Bruti, of University of Pisa, Italy, wrote “Approaching Writing Skills Through Fairy Tales.” I found it last night as I was surfing the web for something else.

She begins with an explanation for why she uses fairy tales:

When I was asked to choose a topic for a seminar for second year students of English I thought of a way of combining linguistics with the teaching of writing skills. At that stage my ideas were still unclear and all I knew was that I had to select a text type which could be analysed and discussed at first and then serve as a model.

The aim of the whole second year course is to understand that language is a communicative instrument that can be adapted to different interactional and transactional situations. Consequently, learning something about the nature of the language as a semiotic system involves conscious reflection and understanding, but it is through reflection and the development of more specific knowledge about the language that the skills and competence to use it more proficiently can be generated (McCarthy & Carter 1990). This is of course a long-term aim, but our immediate, short-term goal was to develop the students’ sensitivity to textual appropriateness and communicative efficiency. Communication takes on so many different forms, each of which has its own distinctive qualities, which depend on the people with whom we talk and on the different purposes for which we talk.

Then she continues with
Which Fairy Tales?
Which Approach?
Which Narrative Features?
Which Linguistic Features?
Audience and Reception and
Concluding Remarks.

It is an interesting, and scholarly, argument for using fairy tales in the ESL classroom, though it is not pushing ESL at all.

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