A class on mystery


MEC Executive and Trainer, Pedro Moura, writes:

Videos can open the door for cultural discussions in the classroom, especially when combined with different resources, such as articles and magazines, readers and audio books. Teachers can introduce the topic of a particular book by showing a snippet of a film or part of a documentary, and tying that to questions or debates.

The following video is a good example of material that could be explored in many different ways. It is the adaptation of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart, and depicts the narrator’s strive to hide a mysterious crime. While the language may be quite advanced, teachers can still engage students in “watching for gist” and ask them to present their ideas on what happened.

If you’re teaching intermediate students, perhaps you might be interested in creating your own adaptation of this story by copying from this source and stressing vocabularies and/or grammar points that you might be eventually dealing with.

You could also get your students to do some research and then give a presentation on “the father of the detective story”. Teachers could divide their classes into groups and give each group a different aspect to be researched – childhood, death, etc –, and raise questions such as “how would someone like Poe be treated in today’s society?”, among others. Presentations could be given in PowerPoint and students could work with each other.   

You may want to link all this to a short documentary on Poe’s mysterious death and then discuss the different versions:

If you manage to guide your students bit by bit through these topics and pathways, you shall see how much interest in the class they will develop…  

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