Having taught two semesters at this college now and with the academic year coming to an end we're naturally looking to the new academic year.
One thing that is foremost on most teachers' minds is vocubulary and, to my mind, the only way to expand your academy is, quite simply, to read books (something, apparently, Thais just don't do).
I'm thinking, next year, of introducing compulsory book reading with exercises linked to the course structure. Problem is, what book?
I need a novel with relatively easy language needs but enough challenge to stretch them a bit with new vocabulary and language usage.
Any suggestions would be welcome.
Hmm, thanks SP but these are Uni students at intermediate to advanced level (or at least they're supposed to be).
It seems that Thais will read comics until they come out of their ears, but not one I've spoken to has ever held a book and read it. I've spoken to some of the Thai staff here and they agree that it is a Thai trait - quite simply, they don't read books.
Which is the reason I want to introduce this activity into next year's syllabus.
I did a google search for high school readers and got this list from Amazon.com.
This guy has a list of 50 books he recommends for high schools.A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Ulysses by James Joyce
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Endgame and Act Without Words by Samuel Beckett
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
1984 by George Orwell
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Candide : Or Optimism by Voltaire
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Dubliners by James Joyce
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
Some of his are book adaptations of movies which may help them comprehend the plot better.Genre Fiction
Fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (alt. The Lord of the Rings)
Graphic Novel: Alan Moore and David Gibbons, Watchmen
Horror: Stephen King, The Shining
Mystery: P.D. James, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Romance: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, It Had to be You
Science Fiction: Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep
Western: Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage
Old Dead White Men
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal
19th Century British
Jane Austen, Emma
Charlotte, Bronte, Jane Eyre
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
William Makepease Thackeray, Vanity Fair
19th Century American
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Nathaniel Hawthornre, The Scarlet Letter
Henry James, Wings of the Dove
Herman Melville, Billy Budd
Edgar Allen Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper
Early 20th Century British
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion
Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Early 20th Century American
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Toni Morrison, Sula
George Orwell, Animal Farm
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
Ursula K. Leguin, The Left Hand of Darkness
Graham Swift, Last Orders
Muril Spark, Girls of Slender Means
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Louis Erdrich, Love Medicine
Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas
Norton Anthology of Poetry
Best American Short Stories of the 20th Century
Fantasy: The Princess Bride
Graphic Novel: Batman (1989)
Mystery: Rear Window
Romance: The Shop Around the Corner
Science Fiction: Blade Runner
Western: High Noon (alt. Red River)
Old Dead White Guys
Romeo and Juliet (Zeffirelli)
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh/Thompson)
19th Century Britain
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
19th Century American
Last of the Mohicans
The Gods Must be Crazy
Remains of the Day
My Fair Lady
Heart of Darkness
Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead
Faith, by itself, isn't a good enough reason to believe. Instead, a belief must be defensible through reason, logic, and evidence.
The idea that faith is somehow justified by the fact that the beliefs cannot be proven is a truly Orwellian position to adopt - not to mention intellectually and ethically dangerous.
Wow, thanks for that - enough to ruminate over.
I'll just have to wait now until the new librarian starts work and see which we can offer. I've been told that Amazon doesn't deal in Thailand, which is a problem.
(Unless anyone else knows different)
You don't say at what language level your students currently enjoy. I was reading through the suggested lists and feel that lots of them would be too dense for most of the Thai uni students I've encountered.
Try something that isn't too heavy, but leads itself to lots of discussion, like "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" or maybe Steve Martin's "Shopgirl". Conversely you could choose a selection of short stories as the topic could change periodically to keep students engaged with a variety of material.
Thanks, and I agree with you on that (which is one reason I thought I'd better stay clear of earlier works, such as Shakespeare).
Jonathan Livingstone is a good suggestion. I also like Umbuku's suggestion that possible a book based on a film (Batman, Jaws etc).
Possibly Animal Farm and The Hobbit too (I think that was the first book my son read when he was around 8 years old).
I agree, drop the Shakespeare and some of the classic older English novels. Some of the contemporary and modern ones would be a good choice like Lord of the Flies or Fahrenheit 451. Not too long and plenty of comprehension material.
I remember reading the Armistead Maupin "Tales of the City" series. First two books were adapted for film, and the later books were written with film in mind. Very easy reads, well defined characters and amusing too.
I have the DVD's here if you ever wanted copies.
Many thanks to all you posters. I tried the Gutenburg site and, incredibly, found that on searching it came up zilch with some of the more obvious ones (Tolkien, Orwell).
I managed to get a download of Animal Farm just by bunging 'download animal farm' into Google. The Hobbit is proving more tricky as there's a computer game by that name so nearly all the links are game based.
Thanks Chang, will take you up on that. Also, when these damned exams are over and I'm back to a 'normal' week (with sat and sun off) I'll certainly PM you and aging one for the singha/chang whatever get-together.
The Tolkien family hold the copyright for J.R.R.'s work and guard it very closely. I have 'The Lord of the Rings' in PDF and I think 'The Hobbit' but I would have to double check back at home to be sure.The Hobbit is proving more tricky as there's a computer game by that name so nearly all the links are game based.
I would suggest R. L. Stine novels for Thais of many levels. I'm not talking of the "Goosebump" series, but those aren't bad either. I'd suggest the ones just above that, like "The Dead Girlfriend" "The Attic" "Beach House" and the like. These are semi ghost, horror, suspense, mystery novels at Junior High to High School reading level. The reason I suggest these books for any level is that there is still great vocab in them and they are the kinds of stories Thais like. They love a good ghost story. These books are comtemporary and use modern language and move at a good pace to keep readers interested. I think I have seven or eight in our library.
Also, the CS Lewis series is good for high school and uni levels and the second book in the series was made into a movie recently, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Thais like reading books they've also seen made into movies.
Harry Potter books, well maybe a little difficult for junior high and early high school but OK for real uni level students. My M2s thought it way too difficult this year, but they were begging to read it so I let them.
I found classics that I like problematic for Thais. Some of the language is out dated and the stories don't grip them like they do a native speaker. I want to try Animal Farm with my M4s next year.
EB White books are great, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little...
We'll see how it goes.
"Goddamn it Lord, bless oh ye this bacon..."
George Liquor American
Yes I do have the Hobbit in PDF 360k size, plain text.
I also have The Lord of the Rings including the Hobbit, much better quality copy but it's 13Mb in size.
If you want either or both PM me your email and I'll send it to you. I'll have to send the LOTR tomorrow as I'm on dial up at home, ADSL at work.
harry potter, the first one, worked pretty well for me, it's not too hard, and the first one is of a managable length. You can also do lots of good activities with it. PM me if you want specifics (I'd be happy to send you some worksheets i made)