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Teachers in general and English teachers specifically, are always concerned with the kind of material they are going to present to their students. One of the most challenging kinds of material for English classes is literature. Although some scholars have pointed out to the shortcoming of literature use in practice, it is so vast and so practicable that instructors cannot stop using it. Language learning requires acquiring four skills of reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking. Some sources provide materials that can meet some of these abilities, but literature has proved a good source that fulfills these four skills. Also, language learning deals with culture, and hence with social understanding. It is this feature of language that demands materials dealing with culture. Literature is culture; that is, it is not to say that literature deals with culture, but it should be said that literature is the culture of the people using that language. Besides, it can be claimed that the use of literature in language classes encourages more thoughtful and purposeful language learning. In this respect, the learners are not only exposed to the real use of language, but also they become critical thinkers. As such, the present paper will debate the reasons behind using literature as a good source in teaching English language.
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 554 – 559
1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Uzunboylu
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.159
WCES 2012
Use of literature in teaching English
Abdollah Keshavarzi a
a Department of English language, Firoozabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Firoozabad, Iran
Teachers in general and English teachers specifically, are always concerned with the kind of material they are going to present to
their students. One of the most challenging kinds of material for English classes is literature. Although some scholars have
pointed out to the shortcoming of literature use in practice, it is so vast and so practicable that instructors cannot stop using it.
Language learning requires acquiring four skills of reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking. Some sources
provide materials that can meet some of these abilities, but literature has proved a good source that fulfills these four skills. Also,
language learning deals with culture, and hence with social understanding. It is this feature of language that demands materials
dealing with culture. Literature is culture; that is, it is not to say that literature deals with culture, but it should be said that
literature is the culture of the people using that language. Besides, it can be claimed that the use of literature in language classes
encourages more thoughtful and purposeful language learning. In this respect, the learners are not only exposed to the real use of
language, but also they become critical thinkers. As such, the present paper will debate the reasons behind using literature as a
good source in teaching English language.
Keywords: Literature, English language, Culture, Language four skills;
1. Introduction
Choosing appropriate texts is the first step to teaching English in the ESL/EFL classroom. All language teachers
desire to provide their students with materials inspiring them to speak up, to seek out answers to questions, to voice
their questions, and to read widely as well as deeply. An important goal of education is equipping learners with
materials to improve their own futures and become contributing members of their own society, rather than burdens
on society and others. English language teachers are absolutely aware of this goal. Therefore, they attempt to create
such a situation for students of English language by selecting materials which leads to students' and their societies'
improvement. A vast part of this material comes from literature.
Nowadays, the number of students flowing into classrooms in English-speaking countries is rapidly
increasing. The studies of Eddy, 1990; Derwing, De Corby, Ichikawa, & Jamieson, 1999; Gunderson, 2004, 2007:
and Watt & Roessingh, 1994, 2001 all conclude that educational institutions should do their best to seize the
opportunity of this rapid increase in the numbers of students flowing into classrooms in English-speaking countries
around the world. This emphasis on seizing this opportunity requires more attention from the teachers' side on their
Abdollah Keshavarzi. Tel.: +989171121025
E-mail address:
Available online at
Abdollah Keshavarzi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 554 – 559
material selection. They have to select those materials which absorb learners and make them contributing members
of their societies. It is here that literature introduces itself to lead these teachers in their own right track.
Of course, it is often believed that literature has some special features that make it unfit to be the source of
material for English courses. Claudia Ferradas (2009), along with other believers, claims that literature "has little
practical application, is often closely connected with a specific cultural context, and it can be idiosyncratic, even
subversive" (27). Yet, other scholars have found out the practicality of literature in practice. The best signifier of the
point is what is called "BritLit" project in Spain. BritLit (British Literature) project was launched in Spain,
Catalonia. It is associated with Catalan Teachers of English Association, (Associacio' de Professsors d'Angle's de
Catalunya, or APAC). "BritLit has already earned itself a reputation in classrooms and amongst teachers in a
number of countries, within and outside Europe. It has helped teachers from around the world to exploit English
literature in the ELT classroom as a language tool" (Denham & Figueras, 2009: 9). BritLit is not the only project
employing literature in English classrooms. There are a lot of online services which provide English instructors and
students with literary texts and encourage them teaching and learning English through literature. The point is that
language teachers are regarded as carriers of cultural messages, and understanding a language necessitates
understanding its culture. In other words, an appreciation of certain key cultural concepts is required for a true
understanding of the language being learnt.
Since the mid-1980s, much attention has been paid within TESL to language and content instruction, and the
studies of Chamot ll, 1987; Early, Thew, & Wakefield, 1986; Early &
Hooper, 2001; Mohan, 1986; Short, 1994; and Davison & Williams, 2001 all have been concerned with the lexical,
syntactic, genre, and knowledge-structure demands of discourse approaches of language learning, but the structures
learning of subject-matter cannot be ignored. Literature seems to
be the source of knowledge underlying texts to support students' learning English.
2. Discussion
Using literature in the ESL and EFL classrooms has benefits in several main areas. Literature is beneficial to
language development. It is a good resource of accurate diction, diverse sentence patterns, and passionate narratives
(Ghosn, 2002). Since literature is related to real-life situations, it deals with accurate diction. The language
employed in literature is the language of its audience, so it cannot be inaccurate. Also, since literature deals with
different moods as well as situations, it is prevalent with diverse forms of sentences. Actually, different people talk
and write differently. As such, literature contains all these various forms of use of language. Besides, passion has its
own value in literature. When reading literature texts, the reader is engaged with this passionate aspect of the text.
Engagement is generally thought of as a key component of learning environment, especially learning English
language. This engagement is created especially through conflict prevailing literary works. Of course, conflict is not
only present in narrative forms; it exists in all literary works, even in a short poem, as the poet creates a situation in
which the reader encounters conflict in understanding what the poet means. What is important is that conflict
resolution and communication strategies are best mediums to create learning environment for engagement. Kolonder
& Guzdial, (1990); and Schank, (1990) believe that human knowledge is largely composed of an index of stories,
personal narratives, and first- and second-hand experiences that we draw on and reuse as they are found to be
relevant to the situation at hand. As such, the significance of literature in promoting English learners is beyond
doubt as they bring knowledge to them. It, in fact, gives them second-hand problem solvin g experiences.
nowledge of culture and society. This knowledge is not gained
easily through other sources; it is too complicated to be captured by any single piece of expository writing.
Language is associated with culture. That is, language is the carrier of cultural messages. As such, literature is very
significant when employed in teaching a language. Literature is culture. Narrations are often built upon the
perspective of one main character who is experiencing the pains of growing up. This makes reading literary texts a
drastically different experience from that of reading explanatory articles, the most commonly seen type of literature
in ESL reading. Undoubtedly, "the English curriculum is a place for enjoying and reflecting on . . . cultural
resources, debating their values, and imagining and designing . . . futures" (Goodwyn, 2009: 12). In this way,
556 Abdollah Keshavarzi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 554 – 559
literature prepares good source and context to contextualize these activities. A good story book not only informs
ESL students the situation and development of an event; it also connects readers to the event to gain an insight,
rather than an overview, of English culture and society. English teachers should acquaint themselves with language
use to develop their own competence and understand language as a social phenomenon, and not just as an exclusive
branch of learning. It is literature that creates this acquaintance in English teachers. As the teachers find out this
point, they transform the classrooms as the stage in which there is real practice of communicative language. In other
words, teachers should consider language as entailing social acceptability; that is, they should look to English
classroom as carrying resemblance with the outside language. Besides, non- native students need to be exposed to
various literary texts in order to be able to consider the others' culture in their international communication.
Therefore, the non-native learners' curriculum should include teaching literary texts or literature to facilitate such
international communication for the students. Literary texts explore the lives of English speaking people and their
. By connecting religion, superstition and folktales together; that is, by culture,
students explore hidden facets of English speaking culture. By sharing their reading experiences, students realized
how differently people approach and respond to the same literary work. Through their approaches to literary texts,
students find the social and historical contexts of the event and become familiar with culture. The piece of literary
work entertains and opens the eyes of students as they see how other people think, interpret, and act on a variety of
things, especially those things that ESL students are familiar with.
The emphasis on inner speech in learning a language reveals the importance of literature in acquiring a foreign
language. Inner speech is actually "internalized social speech;" it is "the most powerful tool of thought mediation."
In fact, this theory believes that "children first engage in and then internalize the verbal practices of the community"
(de Guerrero, 2005: xii). Literature is a good source for English language learners to develop inner speech. It is
literature that provides them the source for internalization of various verbal practices of the community, and the
learner is enabled to "think words" and to be engaged in mental rehearsal and internal self-talks. Therefore, literature
encourages more thoughtful and purposeful language learning. It exposes the learners to the real use of language.
Actually, literature helps in transition from teacher-centered English classrooms to student-centered ones as learners
have to work in groups. In fact, literature enables students to work productively in teams and it is the learning goal
of a great deal of teaching programs. McGee (1996) believes that group conversations about literature give students
insights and understandings that they cannot create alone. In their group working, they have to both share their
perception and support and negotiate their opinions with each other, the point which increases their level of
reasoning and critical thinking.
In use of literature, it is not a matter of help, but a matter of force which signifies students' understanding.
Literature forces them to read more and more as well as deeply. In order to understand the piece of the material in
front of them, they have to read it again and again and to think deeply about all its parts to find out the interrelation
within each part. Literature helps in incorporation of linguistic competence into communicative competence by
putting language into use in different social situations. Literary texts, especially short stories, provide teachers and
learners of English with a lot of pre-reading and post-reading activities, the ones which stimulate the learners'
imagination and results in their creativity. Even after a long time, these activities remain with the learners as they try
to remember the incidents of the story and the way they predicted them to happen.
language becomes a means for its own real function. It is not just a means for practice. Language becomes a means
in the hands of learners and manipulated by them to use their background knowledge to understand authentic texts,
e of
literature, the focus is "on process rather than product", the emphasis is on "negotiation rather than pre-
determination", and the teacher "acts as facilitator" and "not just instructor" (17). The significant point is that
literature provides learners with texts which are above the level of their production/understanding. This aspect of
literature is in accordance with Krashen's acquisition-based methodology; that is, input +1 theory. In fact, literature
helps students to improve their reading comprehension of English. They give chance to the students as well as
teachers to set various forms of questions based on their contents. Through these questions, students become fluent
speakers and writers. Literary texts enable teachers to use different forms of questions to evaluate students'
Abdollah Keshavarzi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 554 – 559
comprehension, such as completion, true or false, matching and discussion forms. Literature develops learners'
strategies; they listen and read for general meaning, predict and guess the meaning of unfamiliar words. Since, when
discussing about the contents of the subject matter, they have to verbalize their own thoughts, they develop higher
levels of thinking skills. Also, their frequent engagement with words reinforces students' tendency to induce
meaning from the contexts in which they appear. Memorizing words from a dictionary is a futile and exhausting job.
It results in failure and monotony. Literary texts provide us with a lot of opportunity to learn effectively to use
words in different contexts. Literature helps students to go beyond the surface meaning and dive into underlying
meanings; that is, it enables students to go beyond what is written and dive into what is meant.
The subject matter or context is an important element in the process of language learning. If the subject matter
is uninteresting and stale, it will not inspire and stimulate learners. Literature provides the kind of subject matter that
has the power to motivate learners and help them in exploring the possibilities of usages and meaning that enhances
their language competence in a great way. Since the literary texts explore the resources of language to its highest
capacity, the learner therefore, is inspired through the reading of the literary texts to learn language in real life
situations and communicate fluently. Mechanical and traditional language teaching reduces learners to imitative and
unmotivated speakers and writers. Literature evokes feelings through words, pulls learners out of the graded
grammatical forms and helps them to communicate in a way that attracts language learning. Once the student reads a
literary text, he begins to inhabit the text. He dives into the text. Understanding the meanings of lexical items or
phrases becomes are significant but pursuing the development of the story is much more important. The student is
much more concerned to find out what happens as events unfold via the climax; he feels close to certain characters
and shares their emotional responses. This can have beneficial effects upon the whole language learning process. It
is here that the selection of a literary text in relation to the needs, expectations, interests, and language level of the
students becomes significant. In this process, he can remove the identity crisis and develop into an extrovert.
Actually, literature deals with themes and topics which are intrinsically interesting, as they are part of the human
experience, and treats them in ways designed to engage the readers attention. As such, they become a source of
interest for English students.
A main factor of learning process is the promotion of reflective thinking in the learner. A reflective process, or
reflective thinking, is considered a critical component of transformative learning for learners (Kember et al., 1999;
Mezirow, 1991). Literary texts are good means to create suitable environments for English students to go through
reflective thinking to see why the things are the way they see them, or why things are different from their
expectations, or why they are different from the others they encounter in literature. This way, learners reflect on
their own experiences and compare how their experiences are similar to or different from their expectations. Of
course, during this reflecting process, they engage emotionally, and this emotional engagement helps them a lot to
perceive the situation far better. This better perception is of much worth in learning the language. They learn the
language as they are engaged with other aspects of learning. It can be said that they acquire the English knowledge,
just as children acquire their native language. When acquiring his native language, a child's attempt is not learning
the language. He uses the language to communicate with his elders, to satisfy his demands, to attract the others, and
to interact with those around himself. Literature creates exactly the same environment for the English learner. His
main focus is on how to interact with the situation he encounters, and through this interaction, he develops his
knowledge of English.
3. Conclusion
Unfortunately, much of the material that is used in English curriculum lacks passion, intellectual excitement, and
fun. Literary texts are meaningful, authentic, and relevant to learners' lives. They yield greatest opportunity for
engagement, reflection, and hence, learning exists in them. Literature is intellectually stimulating because it allows a
reader to imagine worlds they are not familiar with. This is done through the use of descriptive language. In order to
understand, the reader will create his vision of what the writer is saying. In this sense, the reader becomes a
performer or an actor in a communicative event as he reads. Literature-based programs focus on personal
interpretation of the language so students begin to experiment with the language and incorporate this into their
558 Abdollah Keshavarzi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 554 – 559
everyday speech and vocabulary. Therefore, literary texts help them to acquire the language as a means of
communication. This literature would make them native-like speakers because grammar is acquired implicitly,
therefore, it is very important for making teaching English based on use and function-focus. Teachers of language
should try to understand that the importance and effectiveness of teaching language lies in its spontaneous and
impressive use by the learners. As Obediat (1997) states, literature helps students acquire a native-like competence
in English, express their ideas in good English, learn the features of modern English, learn how the English
linguistic system is used for communication, speak clearly, precisely, an d concisely, and become more proficient in
English, as well as become creative, critical, and analytical learners. English students, those studying literary texts,
are reading a version of the language which is rich in metaphor, simile, allusion and ambiguity, and these are the
elements which deepen their thinking and understanding of the material they are reading as well as English
language. When English is taught through literature, it creates the power of self-belief in students, and hence,
influences learner's behaviors, motivation and attitudes towards English language learning. Undoubtedly, learners'
experiences, their t behaviors, motivations, affective reactions and future goals. As such, it is recommended to teach
English through literature to create self-belief in the student.
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... The body of knowledge on the use of literature in ESL contexts posits that it has its own advantages and disadvantages (Tsang, Paran, & Lau, 2020;Krishnasamy, 2015;Violetta-Irene, 2015;Bobkina, & Domingues, 2014;Keshavarzi, 2012;Bagherkazemi, & Alemi, 2010;Paran, 2008;Sivasubramaniam, 2006;Floris, 2005;Lazar, 1993;Collie & Slater, 1987). Despite this controversy and consensus among scholars, it is obvious is that learners are the most affected party when literature is used whether as a resource (in language learning) or a subject. ...
... Proponents of literature argue that literature is beneficial to ESL learners for several reasons (see Tsang, Paran, & Lau, 2020;Bobkina, & Domingues, 2014;Keshavarzi, 2012;Paran, 2008;Sivasubramaniam, 2006;Floris, 2005;Lazar, 1993;Collie & Slater, 1987). According to Collie and Slater (1987), there are four reasons to include literature in the ESL context, which are, (i) literature offers valuable authentic material, (i) literature provides cultural enrichment, (iii) literature provides language enrichment and (iv) literature fosters personal involvement. ...
... As such, learners develop language awareness, particularly the "interesting lexical and syntactic features" of the written language (Sivasubramaniam, 2006). These arguments are in line with various studies which focus on the use of literature as a tool to develop and enhance learners' English language proficiency in many ESL contexts (see Mustafa, Kawther, & Rashid, 2020;Hassan, Engku Atek, Latiff Azmi & Azmi, 2020;Hasan & Hasan, 2019;Cheng, 2016;Keshavarzi, 2012;Paran, 2008;Hişmanoğlu, 2005). As an example, Aghagolzadeh and Tajabadi (2012) found that indeed ESL learners' language abilities can be improved through literature teaching and learning. ...
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The advantages and disadvantages of literature in ESL contexts has been much discussed. Proponents argue that the drawbacks can be minimised if learners’ expectations, needs, and interests are carefully considered. This paper, therefore, attempts to describe learners’ views of literature and the challenges they face while learning literature and to understand whether these experiences have an impact on their academic achievement of a particular literature course. 35 pre-service teachers participated in the study by answering a questionnaire that comprises multiple-choice items and open-ended questions. The respondents were purposely selected as they are training to become English teachers, have taken at least eight literature courses, and are currently enrolled in at least one literature course. Frequency count was mainly used to describe the response to each item while crosstabulations are used whenever the responses are to be compared with each other. The learners’ academic grades were also analysed and cross tabulated with the items in the questionnaire. The findings show that the learners view literature positively and enjoyed learning literature, citing scaffolding and support as key factors. These findings have implications on how educators plan and teach literature courses, which can affect how ESL learners’ approach and learn literature.
... These barriers embroil the ability to memorize new vocabulary and to pronounce words, to reflect on grammatical awareness, to express their thoughts coherently, and to relieve their anxiety strategically. In addition, some students have not been able to speak of something abstract in terms of expressing their outspoken concepts driven to the active learners in speaking class [3]. ...
... Therefore, literature has all these different forms of speech using the law [7]. It has its own heat, literature has the value of the text when it is read [3]. Engagement is generally considered an important element of the learning environment, especially in English learning. ...
... By linking religion, superstition and folklore; that is, through culture, students explore the hidden aspects of English culture. Through the sharing of reading experiences, students recognize how people treat and respond to the same literary work in different ways [3]. Students find the social and historical context of their activities and are familiar with culture through the processing of literary textbooks. ...
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This study examines the viability of the literature in terms of escalating English speaking fluency for EFL learners. The focus of this study applied graphic novels as a particular research object. As part of literature, the graphic novel has become one of the resources allowing learners to access attractive, inspired, conceptual, and artistic encounters for learners. This study used a quantitative method focused on online class observation and survey analysis. The purpose of this study is to show the impact of literature on EFL learners to speak, to outline the potency of graphic novels to escalate their speaking skills, and to boost their fluency.
... The results describe that literary works provide many positive contributions in English learning. Keshavarzi (2012) stated that selecting an appropriate text is the first step to teaching English in ESL/EFL classes. The text chosen by the teacher in teaching English should be in accordance with the age, life experience (world) of students, and the level of ease of vocabulary and ideas contained in it. ...
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Background. The lack of awareness and knowledge possessed by English teachers about the importance of literary works in learning English in elementary schools is a significant factor that makes English learning does not runs optimally. Therefore, this community service program (PKM) needs to be carried out to help students at one of MI (Islamic Elementary School) in Pranti village, Sidoarjo learn English effectively through literary works in the form of fairy tales. Method. The implementation of this program was divided into three stages, namely planning, implementation, and evaluation. At the planning stage, location survey and preliminary observation were conducted to get an overview of the partners. The team also discussed the problems experienced by the school and offered solutions. The implementation stage was carried out by conducting dissemination on learning English through literary works and implementation of English language learning through literary works. This program involved 25 third graders of the MI. Results. The result of the pretest revealed that all of the students (25 students) had unsatisfying scores. After the implementation, the scores increased. All of the students (100%) achieved satisfying scores. The pretest and posttest scores showed a significantly different result as evidenced by the N-Gain score of 0.72 (72.2%). Conclusion. The community service program reveals that literary works in the form of fairy tales involved in classroom English learning through a short movie and flashcards is fairly effective to help the students learn English, especially in mastering the vocabulary. Abstrak: Kurangnya kesadaran dan pengetahuan yang dimiliki oleh guru bahasa Inggris akan pentingnya karya sastra dalam pembelajaran bahasa Inggris di sekolah dasar menjadi faktor signifikan yang menyebabkan pembelajaran bahasa Inggris menjadi kurang maksimal.Oleh karena itu, program pengabdian kepada masyarakat (PKM) ini perlu dilakukan untuk membantu siswa di salah satu MI (Madrasah Ibtidaiyah) di Desa Pranti, Sidoarjo mempelajari bahasa Inggris secara efektif melaui karya sastra yang berbentuk cerita dongeng. Metode. Pelaksanaan program ini dibagi dalam tiga tahapan, yaitu perencanaan, pelaksanaan, dan evaluasi. Pada tahap perencanaan, survei lokasi dan observasi awal dilakukan untuk mendapatkan gambaran dari mitra. Tim ini juga mendiskusikan masalah yang dialami oleh sekolah tersebut serta menawarkan solusinya. Tahap pelaksanaan berisi kegiatan diseminasi tentang pembelajaran bahasa Inggris melalui karya sastra (berupa cerita dongeng), implementasi pembelajaran bahasa Inggris melalui karya sastra, monitoring dan bimbingan tentang penggunaan karya sastra dalam pembelajaran bahasa Inggris. Pada tahap terakhir, evaluasi pelaksanaan program dan keberlanjutan program setelah kegiatan PKM selesai. Program ini melibatkan 25 siswa kelas 3 di MI tersebut Hasil. Hasil pretes mengungkapkan bahwa semua siswa (100%) menghasilkan nilai yang tidak memuaskan. Setelah implementasi, nilai mereka meningkat. Semua siswa memperoleh nilai yang memuaskan. Nilai pretes dan posttes menunjukkan perbedaan signifikan yang dibuktikan dengan nilai N-Gain sebesar 0,72 (72,2%). Kesimpulan. Program PKM ini mengungkapkan bahwa karya sastra dalam bentuk cerita dongeng yang dilibatkan dalam pembelajaran bahasa Inggris di kelas melalui film pendek dan flashcards cukup efektif membantu siswa dalam mempelajari bahasa Inggris, khususnya dalam penguasaan kosakata
... Literature-based training encourages students to think deeply and share their opinions about a tale rather than pressuring them to provide canned responses to simple questions about a story (Perles, 2017). Keshavarzi (2012) emphasized it stating that "the piece of literary work entertains and opens the eyes of students as they see how other people think, interpret, and act on a variety of things, especially those things that ESL students are familiar with", so it can be inferred that literature reflects the culture. Kiefer (2007) highlighted the importance of using texts and he stated that children should be taken inside a character to better understand why that person behaves in certain ways, and they should also be taken outside of themselves to think about their own actions. ...
In recent years there has been a renewed interest concerning the usage of literary texts in EFL classrooms as the usage helps learners enhance not only their reading and writing skills but also speaking skills on the role of cultural awareness as well. This study investigates the supporting role of literature and illustrates learners’ attitudes towards integrating literary texts while learning a second language. Convenience sampling technique was used, and the sample utilized in this research was randomly chosen 67 English major students at a public university in Turkey. The data of the study were collected through the questionnaire with a 5-point Likert scale (Likert, 1967) including 20 close-ended items. This study aims to demonstrate what kind of attitudes the second language learners have on the usage of literary texts in EFL classrooms and also whether the usage has any positive effects on raising cultural awareness.
... The fourth indicator, according to Keshavarzi (2012), is feedback and follow-up activities. It has been observed that teacher development among teachers always seeks to bring about change in terms of teacher performance, so trainers and professional development providers should consider the change process or phenomenology to ensure that new skills and knowledge are implemented. ...
... Tan et al., (2018) stated that the inculcation of values and character is obedience to the state and religion that applies to each individual. Hence, literature offers an excellent medium to ensure the competence of each individual (Keshavarzi, 2012), as the United States has made literature a medium for transferring core values to future generations (Edgington, 2002). ...
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Laamiyat al-Arab is a great literary work that was written during the Jahili Arabs, and received great attention from writers and linguists. However, the aspects of the values it contains and its relation to the social context that underlies Laamiyat al-Arabs’ work are not well-documented. Through Goldmann's genetic structuralism approach, the authors reveal the values, characters, and the internal and external factors generating the Laamiyat al-Arab literature. The results show that the lower class of Jahili Arab community, despite their life’s hardship and distress, could deliver noble values and characters of the marginalized people of its time. Further studies are of great necessity to investigate the contents of literary works other than Laamiyat al-Arab to get an actual picture of Jahili Arabs’ literature.
... There are several benefits literature can give when it is used in the language classroom. Firstly, literature can become a very useful material to train learners' four language skills and increase cultural awareness and social understanding (Hişmanoğlu, 2005;Keshavarzi, 2012;Sukmawan & Setyowati, 2017, Setyowati & Sukmawan, 2018. Secondly, literary works are authentic because their creation is not meant for teaching purposes. ...
Indonesia is a nation that is rich in cultural artifacts. One of the cultural artifacts is the oral literature which is spread across the archipelago. This study is intended to describe the use of documented local Indonesian oral folktales applied for a paragraph writing class. The oral literature chosen was the Tenggerese oral literature in Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia. The study used a mixed-method design. The subjects of the study were 46 students of the English Education Study Program who joined a paragraph writing class in Universitas PGRI Wiranegara, Pasuruan. The students’ writing was assessed by using a primary trait scoring rubric. The result shows that 98% of the students were able to make a topic sentence that shows comparison and contrast paragraphs. Although most of the students were able to make comparison and contrast paragraphs (83%), half of them were still unable to develop the ideas in the paragraph well (52%). The probable causes identified were first, the students were not given enough chance to revise and edit their composition, and secondly, the documented local oral literature lacked details in its story development. Yet, the study implies that local oral folklores have a chance to be used as one of the teaching materials for skill courses.
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Relying on the communicative approach to foreign language teaching, this paper investigates the connection between literature and teaching methodology and points at the possible benefits of literature for foreign language learning, as well as for the development of students' cultural competences and the expansion of their general outlook on life. Arguments for the use of literature in foreign language teaching can be classified into five categories: Through the correct use of literary texts, students improve their language skills and competences (linguistic argument), while literary contents motivate the exchange of opinions and discussion, encouraging true communication (methodological argument). Literary texts also enable overcoming cultural barriers through familiarizing students with the culture of the language they learn (cultural argument), have an educational value in the broadest sense (personal development argument) and bring enjoyment (aesthetic argument). We have designed "The Use of Literary Contents in English Language Teaching" teacher training program at the Serbian Institute for the Improvement of Education on the basis of our methodological research and teaching experience. At the seminar, areas of language and ways in which literature can be incorporated in ELT are presented to primary and secondary school English language teachers, with special emphasis on practical examples, criteria for selecting texts, and accompanying activities. The activities we have designed show that it is not difficult to combine classic activities used in the communicative approach (e.g. role-play, interview, exchange of opinions, informal conversation, group work) with literary contents. At the end of the paper, we present the feedback from the participants of the seminar who have successfully incorporated our materials in their English classes, and point at the possible directions for the further development of this project.
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This article details the pedagogical praxis developed for promoting English as literature and didactic resources and materials were implemented alongside. In fact, it describes the experiences and perceptions of the research participants in terms of their thoughts and reflections towards the process and its effect in terms of their academic development. This was qualitative research, specifically, a case study, which was developed in two courses: Children’s Literature and Didactic Resources and Materials, where the linguistic and pedagogical fields were integrated to foster the learning of English. These courses belong to the Bachelor’s Degree of Teaching English for elementary school, from Universidad Nacional (UNA), Costa Rica. The results of this study show that the students’ considered the implementation of literary texts in the English class as well as the use of varied didactic resources and materials valuable since they were helpful for developing dynamic, engaging, and interesting lessons, which may be a source of motivation for their future language learners.
Learning a foreign language presupposes a willingness to open up to the world, and to start a lifelong dialogue with cultures from other countries. In English language teacher training courses, we discuss the most effective methodologies to promote English language learning, always seeking objectivity that often distances the areas of applied linguistics, on the one hand, and literary studies, on the other, creating, as a result, a false dichotomy between language and literature. Literature has an enormous potential to awaken the imagination, generate identification, instigate deep and necessary discussions, as well as make classes more enjoyable and meaningful, so literary texts also need to be considered as a highly relevant pedagogical resource in teaching English. The literature will increase all language skills because literature will expand linguistic knowledge. Literature consists of linguistic enrichment that makes it easier for students to study the language, especially its skills. The literature will surely provide the learners with the characteristics of modern English, as well as how the English language system can be used to communicate. In addition, literature can make students think creatively, critically, and analytically. This book ‘Literature in ELT Classrooms’ goes beyond a simple exposition of problems related to the teaching of language and literature. Its reading is not restricted to discussing contemporary perspectives in these fields of education but addresses relevant aspects related to this theme. There are eleven chapters filled with experiences, ideas, samples, projects, and struggles that provide us with a journey filled with knowledge.
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Case-based reasoning, inspired by people, was developed as a model for creating intelligent systems – systems that could reason by reference to their previous experiences. Such systems, we said, had the potential to behave more like real experts than could traditional expert systems. Reasoning based on experience would allow them to be more flexible and less brittle than rule-based systems, and, with learning from experience built into their architectures, they would become more capable over time (Kolodner & Simpson, 1989). Many experimental automated case-based reasoners have been created (see the lists, e.g., in Kolodner, 1993) and, indeed, CBR has proven to be quite a useful technology (refs). More interesting to us, however, are the implications case-based reasoning holds as a model of cognition – implications about what it means to be a learner and implications about learning and education. Case-based reasoning (CBR), as a cognitive model, values the concrete over the abstract (Kolodner, 1993). While most traditional theories of cognition emphasize how general-purpose abstract operators are formed and applied, case-based reasoning makes concrete cases, representing experience, primary. CBR suggests that we think in terms of cases — interpretations of our experiences that we apply to new situations. To find the milk in a supermarket I've never been in, for example, I walk around the perimeter of the store until I reach the dairy section. Why? Because the dairy section of the supermarket I usually shop in is around its perimeter. When I throw a ball in the air, I expect it to come down because that's what I've always seen before. When I do strategic planning for my organization, I call on previous situations to suggest strategies and tactics and to warn of pitfalls. When I plan a dinner party, I consult menus I've served before as part of my planning; I may even serve the same meal I served another time if it worked well and different guests are invited this time. Case-based reasoning also helps us understand how we develop expertise and how an expert uses his/her own experiences and those of others to reason and learn. Consider, for example, an architect designing an office building. She calls on her experiences and those of others who have designed buildings that address similar needs to make decisions about how to proceed. She knows that many modern office buildings have atriums. Should this new building have an atrium? To answer that, she first looks at the reasons for including atriums in those buildings. In some, it was to provide light to inside offices; in others to provide a friendly informal space to meet. Are those goals in the new design? They are, but she wonders whether the noise of a central meeting space might be problematic. She examines those buildings again, looking at the effects of the atriums on use of its offices. Indeed, some did cause too much noise, but others were quite successful. Why did some succeed and some fail? The architect looks to see the reasons for failures. Will they be present in the new building? If so, is there a way to avoid the failure by doing it another way (perhaps suggested by one of the successful atria) , or should an atrium not be used? As a theory of learning, case-based reasoning has much in common with constructivism: both claim that an individual builds his/her knowledge for him/herself from experience. Both 2 see learning as active; the learner plays an intentional role in deciding what to learn and in going about the activities of learning. Case-based reasoning also has much in common with constructionism (an approach to education): both approaches value learning from concrete experiences and the interpretations of the individual. But case-based reasoning goes further than both constructivism and constructionism; it defines a model of cognition (including processes and knowledge structures) that can be turned to for advice and predictions and that can be simulated on a computer as a test of ideas. Like constructivism and constructionism, case-based reasoning has lessons for the teacher and for the designer of technological learning aids. Case-based reasoning makes suggestions about how to orchestrate and facilitate students' experiences so that they can draw productive lessons from their experiences and makes suggestions about how to encourage transfer so that lessons learned might be applied in more than one situation. It suggests help students might need so that they can turn their experiences into accessible and easily reusable cases in their memories. In this chapter, we first review case-based reasoning as a model of cognition and describe its critical features. Then, we present its implications for supporting learning with and without technology. Finally, we review some examples from the research community of applying the lessons of case-based reasoning to promote learning.
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Even though a large number of universities and colleges teach English and have attracted students from all over the Arab World, the attitude towards acknowledging the "English" tradition and the very concept of its role and purpose are changing drastically. At present, there is a heated debate about the issue in general: Are Arab students actually interested in learning language or literature? And how much literature (whether British or American) should be included in the curriculums? Further questions arise such as: What literature is appropriate, poetry or prose, modern or non-modern? Do we teach its history and cultural background, or do we simply teach the text itself (the words on the page)? Do we need to focus on the text as language or go beyond the text? Attempts to answer these questions generate great amounts of controversy. On top of these unavoidably controversial questions is yet a more complex, challenging, and subtle question: Are not many of the cultural and social values embodied in the English literary tradition alien and opposed to the moral values held by Muslim Arab students? Or, in clearer terms, what kind of relationship is there between non-native literatures and the Arab students' moral character? The question will in turn lead to a cluster of other thematically related questions such as: Is it not rather risky to teach Arab students literature that poses a major moral, cultural, and social problem for English departments? What advantages are there in teaching a foreign literature? What moral effect (or effects) does a foreign literary text have on our students? In answering these, together with other intellectually demanding questions of basically the same nature, some scholars in the Arab academy argue that when we introduce Western literature into English programs, we are, in effect, introducing a culturally superior, if somewhat threatening, subject that represents a world more powerful, more dominating, and more compelling than our own. And in this particular context, the English literary tradition is viewed by many people as belonging to a culture which has, in reality, colonized or dominated ours for substantially prolonged periods of time. Others think the very idea of teaching English literature is not an attempt towards a better understanding of the culture which it embodies, but, rather, towards spreading racist, reductionist, prejudiced, and hostile views that sharply conflict with the cultural and ethical codes of the students. In these circles, literature is viewed with suspicion as a subject culturally and socially unfit for the Arab university.
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TESOL Quarterly welcomes evaluative reviews of publications relevant to TESOL professionals.
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This study provides longitudinal insights into a pattern of drop-out that the authors had previously identified, by tracking educational outcomes among ESL youth for a single, large urban school. Over a span of eight years, distinct changes in the educational climate and, in particular, in the structure and funding of ESL programming have led to two distinct cohorts of ESL students: pre- and post-budget cuts. While the results show the general drop-out rate for ESL students remains unchanged at 74%, a comparison of the two cohorts suggests that accelerated integration into academic mainstream courses has had a detrimental impact on the educational success of intermediate level ESL students. Further, a new set of issues emerges related to the quality of success for ESL learners and the identification of ESL learners.
The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of opportunity and freedom for immigrants who wish a better life for their families. The United States, and to a lesser extent Canada, are just behind the "golden door" (Lazarus, 1883). Opportunity is the beguiling promise of the Statue of Liberty and immigration to the United States, one often broken by the difficult reality of being a stranger in a new and unknown land. Many immigrants will fail. Indeed, their failure is almost assured by the vast differences that exist between their needs and abilities and the teaching and learning going on in schools. Immigrants whose stories most often make the press are either criminals or incredible success stories. The morning newspapers regale us with stories about illegal immigrants, immigrants who are criminals, and immigrants who become outstanding success stories, winning spelling bees or making vast fortunes. We hear of the refugee who immigrates and becomes fabulously rich like Hassan Khosrowshahi, who after fleeing Iran, became a multi-millionaire in twenty years (Jamieson & Lazaruk, 2001). These individuals are, indeed, noteworthy, and their stories should be told. The difficulty is that the majority of immigrants will neither become criminals nor will they become as successful as Mr. Khosrowshahi. For most immigrants, life presents struggles against a number of hurdles and obstacles. Immigrant students, on the average, do not do well in schools in North America. Cummins (1981), for instance, suggested that ESL students are two or more years behind their native English-speaking classmates by the time they reach sixth grade. Reading scores in the 1990s in California fell dramatically, and ESL students were identified as the source of the declines. Asimov (1997) for instance reported on a study conducted by Education Week that concluded that California's dismal results were because, in part, "vast numbers of students speak little English, and one in four lives in poverty" (p. A2). Some authorities have thought that one answer to this pattern of failure is that immigrant students should be instructed either bilingually or in their first languages. The United States Supreme Court in 1974 concluded that all students had the right to access to educational programs in schools and that first language (L1) was a key to such access (Lau v. Nichols, 1974). Proponents of bilingual programs in the United States argue that the only effective way for students to have access to academic content is through use of their L1s, especially for students who have little or no proficiency in English (see, for instance, Moll, 1992; Ramirez, 1992; Ramirez, Yuen, & Ramey, 1991; Willig, 1985). 1 By contrast, some have argued that English-only is the model that should be adopted for teaching and learning, that both bilingual and first-language instructional programs are un-American. Many American states have passed English-only laws, and the group called U.S. English has organized to lobby for an amendment to the United States constitution that would establish English as the official language (Crawford, 1989). There are a number of difficulties with the view that English-only instruction is a viable option to bilingual education. In British Columbia, Canada, English-only instruction has been and continues to be the unwritten instructional policy. The problem is that there is little research that systematically explores immigrant students' success in English-only schools, especially for high school age students. It is unclear whether English-only is an appropriate instructional approach for immigrant students.
To determine whether students are engaged in reflective practice it is necessary to have some means of identifying reflective thought and a measure of the depth of reflective thinking. Several measures of reflectivity have been proposed but there appears to be no widely accepted and clearly formulated procedure for determining levels of reflective thinking from students' written reflective journals. In this study we propose a scheme for estimating the quality of reflective thinking in students' writing in reflective journals, using categories based on Mezirow's work on reflective thinking. In an initial test of the scheme, reasonable levels of agreement were obtained from eight judges. Disagreements over coding resulted from differing interpretations of the significance of what students had written rather than from a lack of precision in the guidelines for coding categories. A second test, using students' reflective papers, showed acceptable levels of reliability between four assessors. The method is recommended for both assessing students and evaluating courses in programs which aim to develop reflective thinking.
This article reports on findings from the first phase of an ongoing research project that is investigating English language learners in middle school social studies classrooms. This phase examined the academic language of American history classes and implemented a series of lessons designed to integrate language and content objectives with the development of critical-thinking skills and information about the cultural diversity of colonial America. The article analyzes features of social studies academic language from text and classroom discourse and reviews cultural diversity as it is represented in popular textbooks. Also highlighted are successful strategies teachers used to facilitate students' comprehension of the subject matter and improve their academic language skills. Many of these strategies are adaptations of ESL techniques that have been applied to content-area lessons. The conclusion is that an integrated language and social studies course may be an appropriate placement for English language learners who are preparing to enter mainstream classes.
This study examines the academic achievement of ESL high school students in one urban school board. In addition to accessing computer records for the years 1991-1996, we conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 15 former ESL students. We also interviewed five ESL teachers and six mainstream classroom teachers to discover their views of the integration of ESL students in the school system. At least 10% of the ESL students were pushed out of school by the provincially mandated age cap. Another 36% appeared to have dropped out of school. Thus nearly 46% of high school ESL students did not complete their studies within the K-12 system, compared to a 70% completion rate for all students in Alberta. The implications for high school teachers and administrators include eliminating the age cap; improving integration of ESL students in mainstream content classrooms; and implementing better orientation for the students to ESL classrooms and procedures.