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This OLIVER TWIST website offers teachers of English guidance in an area which is proving, at times, problematic - the teaching of the pre-20th century novel. The approach taken by the site is to look at the background to the novel itself, issues of written text, issues of adaptation and issues of language - written, spoken and visual. Activities work around specific elements of the period such as the timeline and crime and punishment, developing the students' comprehension skills. Other activities look at a key theme in the novel and invite students to provide evidence from the novel, encouraging them to structure a persuasive argument.
Skills such as storyboarding, construction of mise-en-scène are presented in a way that connects the script and the film and asks students to consider the process of adaptation. Implicit in these tasks are critical skills elements that require students to reflect on the process of creating a novel or a film and consider representation, stereotypes and marketing.
The activities here are designed as a springboard for other activities that you may develop as a result of using this resource or you may wish to use these activities in conjunction with topics that you are already teaching.
The approach adopted is not one which prioritises the written text, but is one which looks at both texts (novel and film) and asks why they should be different in the ways in which they recount the story of Oliver Twist. Questions are asked regarding what the written word and the image can offer readers and what they cannot.