Unit Plan for Teaching Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales “General Prologue”
I understand that it can be a challenge to engage high school students with Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The complaint is always the same: the language is “weird” and the subject matter totally “boring.” While the former may hold weight, the latter couldn’t be further from the truth. As a teacher, I’ve seen that, once hooked, students always enjoy the Chaucer’s bawdy humor. Additionally, they are surprised to discover that Chaucer’s allegory and characters are more relatable than first assumed.
The outline and links that follow detail five The Canterbury Tales lesson plans. This unit is appropriate for high school students, and introduces Geoffrey Chaucer, the medieval period, and The Canterbury Tales “General Prologue.”
Students begin with a pre-reading lesson plan. Its objective requires students to be able to describe the tenets of the feudal system, medieval church, as well as the ideals and morals of life in the middle ages.
Next, students will apply their newfound knowledge of medieval life with a creative (if a little shocking!) writing assignment.
Students will read and then write original ballads on day three of this The Canterbury Tales unit.
After reading Chaucer's “General Prologue,” the fourth lesson plan will teach direct and indirect characterization via a fun writing activity.
The final lesson plan will engage students by connecting the text of The Canterbury Tales “General Prologue” to their modern lives.