About the Course


Being far away in Europe, I have designed this course for you Taiwanese high school teachers with the hopes that this project will help you learn more about how to analyse shorter forms of English literature (short stories and poems) so that you can enrich your lives, and by extension your students', through appreciating the language of these literary "gems" and thinking about the issues in which they are engaged.

In this course, we can savour two kinds of distance-my distance from you, as well as the distance between us and the literary texts we discuss. To bridge the second type of distance, I am choosing topics which I think Taiwanese high school teachers and their students may be interested in: Love, Family Relations, Teen Life, Self-Identity and Choices of Life. Literary works, among other things, are "gems of life," or verbal crystallizations of lived moments and thoughts specific to the society to which they belong. But in one way or another they still speak to us, presenting our feelings and dealing with problems that are often still very much a part of life today.

As for my distance from you, hopefully the online lectures and reading supports will help bridge it. Also, you are welcome to write emails to me asking questions or for clarifications. It was very strange for me to be "teaching" a group that was not there, but oddly, by the end of the sixteen lessons I felt that we had come on a journey together. Hopefully, you will feel the same way.

Each lesson follows the same structure:

A. Structure

  1. pre-lesson introduction (one page) - general ideas about the text.

  2. lecture -

    1. cultural and social background of the text and the author;

    2. explication and text analysis;

    3. today's cultural and thematic relevancies (this isn't always specifically stated, but it's usually implied through the lecture).

  3. post-lesson questions

Let's start, then, this mental journey over space and time to the literary gems of life.