Today in an English class we considered how text can have hidden meaning as well as (or instead of) literal meaning.
As an example, we considered the story of the 3 Little Pigs.
Firstly we actually read the story - all of my students are from a CALD background, and many had not encountered this story before.
We then looked at the literal meaning and the hidden meanings of this story. Obviously pigs don't build houses and wolves don't huff and puff, so this eventually got us into moral (lesson) and allegory in this type of text.
This was backed up by some students recounting such stories from their own background.
From here we looked at alternative ways of telling the story. This included:
The famous 1957 cartoon Three Little Bops (directed by Friz Freling)
This video runs for 6 minutes 42 seconds, and requires a high-speed internet connection for download
The following books (mostly listed in the book column to the right of this page):
- BAILLIE Allan, and BENTLEY Jonathan (1999). Archie the big good wolf. Sydney: Red Fox.
- HAWKINS Colin & Jacqui (2004). Fairytale news. London: Walker Books.
- WOLF A, as told to SCIESZKA Jon and (illustrator) SMITH Lane (1989). The true story of the 3 little pigs! London: Puffin.
Learners seemed to particularly enjoy Wolf (1989) because it presented a near-congruent alternative explanation for the Wolf's behaviour in the story. Hawkins & Hawkins (2004) also enabled us to consider how the message in a text can be transmitted by more than just words - in this book was enclosed a separate newspaper which happened to be a crucial part of the story.
Setting up the internet access for Three Little Bops was a bit clunky; I would prepare and rehearse this part more carefully next time.
The result was, I think, a hit. People appeared to engage with this material and they drew links with their own use of texts. They also thought the cartoon was a hoot.