Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 4 April 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Perspectives on Teaching English Literature to
English Literature Major Students

S. Mekala, Ph.D.

General Goals of Teaching English Literature to English Major Students

The teaching of English for the Literature Major students is considered an exploration into Literature. This is intended to enable students develop English language abilities and skills essential for classroom interaction. The object so far presumably has been to introduce students to some of the classics in English in the belief that exposure to great literature can serve important educational objectives.

Mostly a Content-oriented Methodology

Most literature teaching gives importance to content-oriented targets, which deal with the components of literature, with learners merely acquiring summaries of literary texts. The literature curriculum needs to be attitude-oriented, which refers to the kind of learning experience that is attained through various relationships developed in particular environment that prevails in the classroom. Literature teaching must try to help students achieve an engagement with the readings of literary texts. This engagement cannot really be measured in terms of passing examinations in literature. The success in teaching Literature is achieved when students carry with them beyond the classroom 'an enjoyment and love for Literature', which is renewed as they continue to enjoy Literature throughout their lives.

Basic Ability Expected

The basic ability expected of a learner after completing the literature course, is proficiency in language that will enable them to express themselves clearly and effectively and an awareness of literary sensibilities. However, many learners, even after completing a course in English Literature, are diffident in their language use and they face problems in communicating either in public or in private. We, therefore, need to ensure that English Literature students are well equipped in terms of competence in language as well as sensitive appreciation of literary texts.

Goals of This Paper

This paper deals with two perspectives of teaching Part - II General English course at the undergraduate level in colleges in Tamilnadu.

The first perspective is the General English course offered to the B.A, and B.Sc., students of all majors including B.A. English Literature students. This course aims at improving communication skills of the learners dealing with function-oriented texts. It demands the performance (the actual use of language in concrete situations) of the learners or the language proficiency of the graduates as end product.

The second perspective is concerned with the design of a separate General English syllabus for English Literature students. It should concentrate on improving the language proficiency and literary competence of learners, where the learners are expected to excel in both competence and performance.

Demands on the Students of English Literature Major

Thus the demand on the part of the literature student is not only to master the content of literary texts, but also to acquire an acceptable level of grammatical accuracy and situational appropriateness in their language use outside the classroom. So, the students of English Literature must be trained to develop their communication skills and sharpen their literary sensibilities as well. The expected objective of an English Literature course is to develop the proficiency level and literary competence of learners.

The present day students of literature need to improve both their language proficiency and literary sensibility during their B.A. English Literature course. This skill differentiates this group of learners from those who do a course in General English as students of other arts and science subjects. We need to be clear about what proficiency is and what literary sensibility is, and how these two concepts form the necessary and essential objectives in an English Literature programme in India.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Mean Length of Utterance and Syntax in Konkani | A Study of English Loan Words in Selected Bahasa Melayu Newspaper Articles | Verb Reduplication in Tamil and Telugu | The Relevance and Usefulness of European Literature for Innovations in Indian Literature - A Review | Girish Karnad as a Modern Indian Dramatist - A Study | Code Switching and Code Mixing Among Oriya Trilingual Children - A Study | T. S. Eliot - A Universal Poet With Appeal to Indian Spirituality | Academics' Perceptions of Reading and Listening Needs for English for Specific Purposes - A Case from National University of Malaysia | Perspectives on Teaching English Literature to English Literature Major Students | Myths and Legends in the Plays of Girish Karnad | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Konkani Language | Compassion - Leo Tolstoy's Philosophy as Seen in His War and Peace | Role of Space in the Narratives of Bharathi Vasanthan, A People's Writer from Puducherry | Teaching English in Multiracial and Multilingual Nations - A Review of Maya Khemlani David's Book, A Guide for the English Language Teacher | HOME PAGE of April 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

S. Mekala, Ph.D.
Department of Humanities
National Institute of Technology
Tiruchirapalli - 620 015
Tamilnadu, India
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