CRITICAL THINKING AND INCLUSIVE LEARNING IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING – A TEACHING SCENARIO FOR INCLUSION OF ROMA STUDENTS BASED ON “THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME” BY VICTOR HUGO AND THE USE OF DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION STRATEGIES

C. Tziovara, S. Kaldi, V. Golfinopoulou

University of Thessaly (GREECE)
Student diversity is evident in contemporary schools and Inclusive Learning consists a necessity in school classrooms. English Language Teaching (ELT) can respond to the needs of Roma Students, celebrate their differences and support their learning experiences. Esmeralda, the exotic, “Gypsy” fictional heroine born in French literature in “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by Victor Hugo can be an inspiring figure in ELT classrooms for Roma Students. Across time, there has been a remarkable amount of adaptations of Hugo’s classic novel in film, theatre, various pieces of art or even video games. Esmeralda is an innocent heroine, one of the few genuinely pure characters in the novel with a kind and generous heart as well as Quasimodo. The content of the story which is moving and emotional can implicate Roma students, attract their interest, make them empathize with the Roma fictional characters and identify. Furthermore, the story can stimulate the sense of justice of Roma Students and motivate their critical thinking promoting further discussion. In this context, an ELT lesson plan with the principles and certain strategies of Differentiated Instruction (D.I.) such as flexible grouping, Think-Pair-Share Technique, Jigsaw Method, use of cubes is designed and presented for making inclusion of Roma Students true and implicating them critically in the learning process. As a result, all students are motivated and implicated actively in the teaching process in different ways, enrich their vocabulary and acquire empathy, whereas Roma students are well – expressed via art, music and literary analysis. In this way, students are really interested in the teaching activities and feel excited. The present teaching scenario contributes to the development of student critical thinking as it raises their awareness about problems of minorities and highlights several aspects of Roma culture. Therefore, it includes Roma students effectively in the learning process as active members of it discussing the content of the novel, the reality of contemporary minority groups and the arising need for acceptance of diversity.