A comparative analysis of racism in the original and modified texts of The Cay

Date
2007-04
Authors
Marianne
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
Abstract
Ten high-school students of English as a second language (ESL) intensively studied the modified version of The Cay (retold by Strange, 1997). During their study the teacher asked questions designed to elicit students’ comprehension and understanding of racism and prejudice as the main themes of The Cay. Analysis of classroom discourse data indicated that none of the students independently identified these themes. This article shows the results of a comparative analysis of extracts from the original version of The Cay (Taylor, 1994) with the modified The Cay (Strange, 1997) in order to provide an explanation for ESL students’ inability to identify the themes of racism and prejudice in The Cay. An example from classroom discourse data is used to illustrate students’ difficulty in answering the teacher’s theme-related questions. This article also outlines several pedagogical implications and suggestions for using modified fiction texts in ESL classrooms.
Description
Keywords
graded readers, simplification, interpretation, intensive reading, The Cay
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