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Workplace English: From Literature Classics to Workplace Literacy page 5
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A Newsletter

A newsletter format was used as a research project for reporting on the major historical periods represented in English literature. In this activity, students worked in groups to research information on the Internet and used desktop publishing to produce their newsletters. First, students read an overview of the period in their text, and the teacher led class discussions explaining key aspects of the overview. Included in this overview were suggestions of topics to research, such as the role of women or the religions of the historical period. Students were given samples of a newsletter with teacher directed explanations of the writing format and instruction in desktop publishing.

Samples of the students' work are shown in the two examples below and in Appendix A. Example 1 showed students' historical understanding of the Victorian Era beyond memorization of history facts. Their comprehension of Chaucer's implied meaning in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales was evident in Example 2:

    Example 1. Article in Victorian Station newsletter.
    "Reality of Victorianism: Prudish and repressed?" Most people think of our time as this, but it just isn't so! In fact, we're living in a very complex, paradoxical age. We have invented the idea of invention, the notion that one can create new means of bettering himself and his environment. We have made great changes in ideology, politics and society. Things such as unionization of workers, socialism, and Marxism have all been thought up during our era, the Victorian Era.

    Example 2. Editorial in Medieval Times Gazette.
    "Travelers Beware" In recent news, local innkeepers have been caught bamboozing touring caravans by posing as hosts and traveling with the tour. The innkeeper then befriends the tour members and deceives the people into participating in a contest in which the innkeeper always wins and ends up making a considerable amount of money off of his unexpecting victims who have the feeling that their close friend would not deceive them. This scheme is very affective and preys on people when they are at their lowest point. So TRAVELERS BEWARE


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