Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 7 July 2010
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.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Teaching Literature through Language -
Some Considerations

Abraham Panavelil Abraham, Ph.D.


Teaching literature through language calls for active involvement of both the teacher and the taught. Here, the focus is on teaching literature and medium is the language. The context and form of a literary work brings forth meaningful discussion and enjoyment. The paper will discuss the importance of teaching literature in the language teaching and learning process, the question of choosing an appropriate literary text and some strategies for teaching literature by creating an awareness of linguistic possibilities and sensibility.

I think aesthetic teaching is the highest of all teaching because it deals with life in its highest complexity. - George Eliot, 1866/1967: 9-10

A linguist deaf to the poetic function of language and a literary scholar indifferent to linguistic problems and not conversant with linguistic methods, are equally flagrant anachronism. - Roman Jakobson, 1960: 377

1. Introduction

Language through literature is a subject that has been discussed among academicians for quite some time. However, the notion of literature through language may raise a few eyebrows. Many universities around the globe offer a number of literature courses as part of the undergraduate program. Teachers who teach these courses often use the traditional method of lecturing on topics like theme, characterization, plot, motifs etc directly without giving any emphasis on the stylistic/linguistic aspect of the literary texts that they teach. Of course, students must be taught literature and it must be taught by creating an awareness of linguistic possibilities and sensibility. It is in this context that the idea of literature through language becomes relevant.

Teaching and learning literature through language demands active involvement of both the teacher and the taught in bringing the literary text to life. The medium is language and the context and form of a literary work arouse interest in the meaningful use of that medium. This, in the words of George Eliot is "aesthetic teaching". Here, the role of the teacher is crucial. His/Her role is to support the students' efforts to establish intensive relationship with literary texts without interfering too much in their act of creating meaning.

It is heartening to note that many academicians nowadays consider the importance of literature in language teaching. The time has come to realize that the ultimate objective of teaching and learning literature is the study of words, idioms and syntax at the highest level of thought and imagination. It is an exercise depicting as to how words and sentences are made and molded in order to communicate what the writer wants to say.

It is not literature through literature that is to be emphasized, but literature through language. In this paper, an attempt will be made to explain why teaching literature in the language classroom is important, what are some of the criteria to select suitable literary texts for students and what are some of the strategies that may be adopted while teaching literature. Robert Frost's poem" Stopping By Woods on A Snowy Evening" will be used as an illustration.

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

EAT Expressions in Manipuri | Learning from Movies - 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Language Awareness | Maternal Interaction and Verbal Input in Normal and Hearing Impaired Children | Role of L2 Motivation and the Performance of Intermediate Students in the English (L2) Exams in Pakistan | Problems in Ph.D. English Degree Programme in Pakistan - The Issue of Quality Assurance | Using Technology in the English Language Classroom | Teaching Literature through Language - Some Considerations | e-Learning of Japanese Pictography - Some Perspectives | Is It a Language Worth Researching? Ethnographic Challenges in the Study of Pahari Language | Using a Reading Material for Interactive Reading | Importance of Task-Based Teaching in Second Language Acquisition - A Review | Skill Enhancement Techniques - The Necessary Tools for the Indian Management Students | African American Literature and Ishmael Reed's Novels - Hoodism | Instances of Code Switching in Indian Television Serials | The Role of Compounding in Technical English Prescribed for Engineering Students in Tamilnadu | Polite Request Strategies as Produced by Yemeni EFL Learners | Manju Kapoor's Difficult Daughters - A Saga of Feminist Autonomy and Separate Identity | Reflections on Partition Literature - A Comparative Analysis of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan | Mother Tongue! The Neglected Resource for English Language Teaching And Learning | Breaking the Good Mother Myths - A Study of the Novels of Amy Tan | Effect of Teachers' Academic Qualification on Students' L2 Performance at the Secondary Level | What Is Most Important? Fluency or Accuracy? Is Learning a Second Language a Conscious Process? | Let Us Learn from Our Standard 1 Textbook, Again! - A Brief Note on the New Standard 1 Tamil Textbook in Tamilnadu | Eugene O' Neill's The Hairy Ape - An American Expressionistic Play | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JULY 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of July 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Abraham Panavelil Abraham, Ph.D.
Department of Foreign Languages
University of Nizwa
Sultanate of Oman

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