Integrating the Skills Using Tales of the Unexpected. Stephen Hargreaves, Belgium Stephen Hargreaves is an educational researcher and lecturer at the Artesis University College of Antwerp. He co-wrote the ‘Stairway to English coursebooks’, De Boeck, 1999-2009 and published articles related to education and innovation. He was awarded the Flemish ICT-prize 2005 for sharing his work and inspiring fellow teachers and trainers.
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART A: The Opening Scene
References Introduction Mary is tipped off by a friend that her husband is having an affair. She is reluctant to believe it but sets up a meeting with this woman at a beach party. This will all lead to the husband losing his mistress, though not in the way everybody involved had expected.
This lesson plan focuses on integrating the skills using video and is based on the short story collection Tales of the Unexpected. The stories were adapted to a successful TV series of the same name and when the stock of Dahl's own original stories was exhausted, the series continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahl's style. A Harmless Vanity by Theda O. Henle is one of the better examples.
Lesson plan Step 1
Learners (L) close their eyes; teacher (T) reads the opening paragraph of a story (description of a relationship)
L try to imagine what is read (separate instruction ‘imagine vs drawing)
What kind of person do you think Mary (Hitchman) is?
Any idea about her job? What do you think? Why?
L try to guess the answers
T hands out cut up parts of the story (use envelopes or copies)
T forms A-groups, B-groups and C-groups
All groups read allocated parts & execute A-, B-, or C-tasks.
Groups rearrange their jig-saw stories [check: e.g. project correct order of clippings in ppt /clippings in order]
Groups answer questions about their part of the story in their own group.
Group members are re-organised in new teams: 1 member of A-group teams up with 1 B and 1 C to get ABC jig-saw instead of AAA... ; BBB... ;
Tell their part of the story to the other new group members.
Try to make an overall view of A-, B- and C- parts as a team.
Watch the video (Beach scene) in separate parts [11:32 till 20:15] + answer questions about it:
T asks detailed questions:
What was the weather like?
What colour bikini was Mary wearing?
Who does Carol work for?
What are the girls drinking?
Give another phrase for ‘cheers’?
What type of car does the frogman drive?
What kind of job did Mary use to do?
Why are Carol’s words ‘I know someone in the boat business’ painful for Mary?
What does Mary want from Carol?
What does Liz recommend?
Extra: What would you do if you were Mary?
True or false?
It’s the very first time Liz and Mary visit this beach.
Liz put a dot on a rock to commemorate her first real kiss.
Carol is wearing a red bikini.
Dave Ferguson is Liz’s husband; they work in the same school.
Carol doesn’t want any children.
The frogman observes the beach using binoculars.
Liz is wearing a blue hat.
Carol is a lousy swimmer.
She comes from Birmingham.
Mary’s husband is in the boat business.
L watch that section again and look for the correct answers.
Were you right in your original prediction?
L guess the end of the story and watch outcome [start from 20:15]
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART A: The Opening Scene The Opening Scene: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.
It was –until it ended- an ordinary domestic triangle: a husband, a wife, and another, younger woman. For the three participants, of course, it was not, by any stretch of their imaginations, ordinary, and for the wife it was shattering.
“I owe it to myself – and the prestige of the firm. My home should look like two hundred and fifty thousand – God knows it cost enough! And my wife should, too! You’re not a grubby student anymore. You’re an established artist!” He hadn’t liked it when she laughed at him. “A man is judged as much by appearance as by his superior qualifications,” he said.
A kind, meddlesome friend told her that George had a mistress in La Mesa, and she wondered why she hadn’t guessed without being told. He’d been careless enough, heaven knows, counting on her to be credulous and blind – or not giving a damn?
She led a very full, happy life – even without children- and had never been one to anticipate trouble. Her love for him was unchanged, and she never questioned his for her, never looked for grief. But the danger signs were there – if she’d ever looked.
Imagine George talking like that even a year ago! Mary had been sure he was going through a temporary phase, that his common sense and humor would surface and he’d settle down and be himself again. Not for a moment had she suspected that the changes she saw in him could be permanent – or that his love for her was changing, too.
His lovemaking had become perfunctory and infrequent. She’d thought this was because he was adjusting to a new job, a substantial advance which involved a much more demanding schedule. He’d taken to coming home late several evenings a week. That, too, was accounted for by his new responsibilities.
In fact, all the alterations in his behavior – his inattention, his growing irritation with her unprepossessing looks, haphazard housekeeping, and sloppy work habits, his withdrawal when she made amorous advances – everything had been attributed to the new job and the absurd air of importance that apparently came with it. His ‘position’ called for a grander background, he told her.
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART B: Fond Memories Fond memories: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.
Long before she was Mary Hitchman, Mary Burns was taught to swim in the cove by one of the lifeguards – to ride the waves, and to dive far down into the clear water around the reef, where goldfish darted in the seaweed and the world was silent.
She’d learned to be afraid there, when the tides ran strong and she’d overestimated her own strength, and she’d learned to love George there, lying close to him on the sand, wrestling in the water (now, of course, his ‘work’ took even his weekends).
She would float for hours out beyond the rocks, letting the waves rock her gently or tumble her over into the salty spray. She had played there as a child and daydreamed as a young girl.
She became an instant blonde. She’d always envied blondes, and it made her look years younger. Her mirror, and the neighbors and friends she ran into, told her so. She had been pretty, but suddenly she was much more than that. The new hairdo and the clothes gave her a sparkle. She’d been too ‘sweet’ before,
Waiting for Saturday, Mary fought against memory and fear at the beauty parlor and the small expensive shops in Del Mar and La Jolla. She’d never spent much money on herself – now she did so lavishly, enjoying the new experience in spite of her unhappiness. Thank heaven she still had a good figure!
but pain and a staunch determination to resolve her problems privately and decently gave her something happiness couldn’t give – it gave her style. The boys in front of Safeway whistled at her, and she walked past them with a new spring in her walk, and a new poise.
They had made love there one August night when the sand was still warm and the beach completely deserted except for a scattering of stars in the sky and the sensuous rhythm of the waves. On Saturday, Liz would bring Carol James to this place of hers for a swim.
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART C: The Beach Scene The Beach Scene: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.
Shortly after noon, Liz, burdened down with bathing paraphernalia and an air of importance, and Carol James, looking like all the other girls Mary knew, came across the sand to the
The girl looked like a teenager. Mary hadn’t realized she’d look this young – like all the girls on all the campuses across the land. She was boyishly slim, light and graceful in a modest blue suit which she’d obviously chosen for swimming, not for show. Her hair was a well brushed light brown – again like all the girls on the beach – long and straight and shining, framing an intelligent, happy face.
It was a hot day. After almost an hour of desultory conversation – mostly about the charms of Southern California – Carol wanted to swim. It was high tide and the waves were strong, but she assured the other two that she was a good swimmer.
Mary could find nothing there that wasn’t lovely and honest – and she had an artist’s eye. If there was anything ugly or cheap there, she’d have seen it. She understood, helplessly, how
torn her life into jagged pieces, appropriating George without knowing he was second-hand goods. She hadn’t known how much the thought of George making love to this – this child would hurt, but she managed to look relaxed and pleasant.
end of the beach where Mary sat waiting. Their meeting was casual, and Liz’s introduction used first names only. The three of them lounged in the sun, digging their toes into the sand, watching unusually heavy waves batter the rocks out near the reef, and talking idly while Mary studied this stranger who had
George could love this radiant girl, how he could want her soft, untouched youth – but she didn’t understand how he could lie to her, or seduce her with empty promises, as he must have done. His love for Carol was imperfect, too, and Mary found an unexpected new pain in this knowledge.
Vocabulary list part A