The Use of Literature in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

6060 Words Apr 20th, 2011 25 Pages
The Use of Literature in Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Amr Alhemiary

This research aims at emphasizing the use of literature as a popular technique for teaching both basic language skills (i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening)and language areas(i.e. vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation) in our times. Reasons for using literary text in a foreign language classroom, suitable situations for teaching literature and main criteria for selecting suitable literary texts in foreign language classes are stressed so as to be familiar with the underlying reasons, situations and criteria for language teachers' using and selecting a literary text. Furthermore, literature and the teaching of language skill, the use
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to introduce students to masterpieces in British and American literature as an educative experience, and to add to students' knowledge of the world at large.

(Akyel and Yalçin, 1990: 175)

Following this trend, Carter and Long (1990:2-3) propose three models to justify the use of Literature. The first model in their discussion is the CULTURAL MODEL which represents the possibility Literature brings into the picture as regards the understanding and appreciation of different cultures and ideologies together with the developing of one’s perception of feelings and artistic forms. Their second model is the LANGUAGE MODEL. This model emphasizes the fact that language is the literary medium and that literature could be seen as an instrument to teach specific vocabulary and structures. Last, their PERSONAL GROWTH MODEL entails students engaging with the reading of literary texts, appreciating and evaluating cultural artefacts and, in broad terms, the understanding of our society, culture and ourselves as we function within that social matrix. With regards to this last model, this aspect can be interpreted as one which covers the previous two since cultural understanding presupposes some cultural knowledge and in order to engage with a text and evaluate it one must resort to language to achieve such a purpose.

Even though no general categories are

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