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Spar Mystery 3: Understanding Christie's And Then There Were None Through Debate

In this 6-week multi-day class we will expand critical thinking skills in one of Agatha Christie's most intellectually challenging masterpieces, And Then There Were None, through discussion and Spar debate. ESL friendly, CEFR level C1, C2
Cindy Frank
481 total reviews for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 17 learners
55 minutes
per class
Once per week
over 6 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

*To gain confidence in speaking and organization 
*Understand all the basic ideas of debate and rhetoric
*Gain deeper understanding of mystery literature through debate
* To communicate effectively through speaking, thinking adroitly and responding fluently
* Improve memory retention and organizational skills
* Gain confidence and poise in oral presentation
* Expand vocabulary and word usage
*To gain deeper understanding of the nuances of literature and the mystery novel
Longtime teacher of literature for both middle and high school students, I am also a mystery aficionado who has taught a high school class in genre literature, featuring numerous mystery novels including The Hound of the Baskervilles and other Agatha Christie novels.  I am also the founder and former coach of an award-winning Speech and Debate team that competed at local, state and national levels, long-time speech judge for local, regional, national speech events for NCFL and National Speech and Debate Association, former teacher of high school debate and rhetoric, art history, literature, and AP Language and Composition. 
Students will be required to read the portions of the text we will be considering for the upcoming week. We will be reading three chapters week for this class.  There will be optional writing assignments given after each session that can be returned for comment and assessment. 
Learners will need a copy of And Then There Were None, available at your local library or via for purchase via, local bookstores, or via second-hand bookstores such as as well at reduced prices. We work with powerpoints in class and so it doesn't matter which edition of the book you choose.
Families and learners will receive written assessments throughout the class.   There are optional homework assignments given throughout the course. If learners choose to complete any of these assignments they will receive immediate written feedback on their work. 
55 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 0 - 1 hours per week outside of class.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie was originally published in 1939.  It is essential for families to remember that at this period in history ideas of casual racism and anti-semitism were rife in throughout society, including in Britain where this novel is set. The essay “Death on the Nile and Addressing Racism in Agatha Christie” on quotes Vike Martina Plock, a professor of modern literature and culture at the University of Exeter in the UK:
“However, she says that censoring the books in such a way was a mistake – as she believes that, for the most part, Christie was not being racist herself in her novels, but rather reflecting the racist attitudes of her time and leaving them open to critique. "It made the [censored] novels less socially critical as documents of their time because I do think Christie's novels criticise racism rather than perpetuating [it]," she says. "The racism depicted in the books draws attention to the fact that it was very dominant in the culture in which Christie was living.”

We will discuss how the world has changed and thinking has expanded since this period. It’s important to note that subsequent filmed versions of this novel  and other Christie novels, including recent the recent Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express directed by Kenneth Branagh, consciously choose to significantly diversify the cast omitting hurtful stereotypes and focusing on the puzzle/mystery aspects of of the books.   James Pritchard, great-grandson of Agatha Christie and head of Agatha Christie LTD quoted in an essay on RTL, that his great-grandmother ‘“would not have liked the idea that someone is hurt by his (sic) turns of phrase’ “When the book was written, the language was different. Agatha Christie was above all there to entertain.”

We will address these issues in the first class and throughout the sessions. 

While And Then There Were None was written for an adult audience, publisher, a division of publisher William Morrow, notes that Christie novels work exceptionally well for developing critical thinking in both middle and high school students.

And Then There Were None is of course a murder mystery, and while the descriptions of the murder or murders are not intensely graphic, there is mention of knives, firearms, and poisons as well as mentions of suicide that are essential to the themes of the story.
Kindly see the attached for further information and please feel free to be in touch with me via Outschool email if questions or issues.


Cindy Frank
Lives in the United States
Former High School Literature and Art History Teacher, Speech and Debate Coach
481 total reviews
499 completed classes

About Me

Hello, Everyone, I'm Cindy Frank!

*Classes limited to 6 students--all have a voice in the classroom
*Each session a full 55 minutes of teaching time
*Extensive and detailed comments on all homework assignments
*All classes are ESL friendly, CEFR... 
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