About issues of use of literature in the foreign language classroom
Гасанов Э. Л. About issues of use of literature in the foreign language classroom // Педагогика высшей школы. 2017. №1. С. 60-61. URL https://moluch.ru/th/3/archive/50/1801/ (дата обращения: 19.02.2018).
Have been investigated the comparative characteristics and some features of research of basic features of literature as the academic issue in teaching in the FL (Foreign language) classroom. Were researched the cultural-historical aspects of use of this important scientific theme as the educational issue.
Keywords: innovative teaching methods, education, contemporary features of teaching of foreign language, literature, history
Today, most scholars are strongly advocating the use of literature in foreign language classes. In any teaching situation, some literary texts present fewer cultural problems for students than others. For instance, a text in a foreign language by a writer of a similar cultural background to a number of learners studying this text can be more culturally accessible than another text written by someone else from a certain culture far from the students’ own. On the other hand, a literary text from a foreign culture that tackles some themes relevant to the foreign language learners’ society may be absorbing and easy to be read. Therefore, selecting a suitable text in the classroom seems to be a difficult task. Besides, though it is often easy for students to respond personally to a text from within their own cultural background, there is always an argument that for maintaining that teaching students different literary texts from various cultures is a good way to increase their awareness of different values and social structures. In fact, the objective of this paper is to show major cultural issues and the rationale underlying the use literature in the foreign language (FL) classroom .
There are four main reasons which make any language teacher have recourse to literature in the classroom. These are valuable authentic material, cultural enrichment, language improvement and personal involvement. In addition to these four main reasons, universality, personal relevance, variety, suggestive power and ambiguity are some other factors requiring the use of literature as an influential resource in the classroom context. Literature gives FL learners a golden opportunity to know about the other’s culture. Using literature in the FL classroom can help both the teacher and the learner to overcome all the cultural barriers that hinder the learning teaching process.
Literature consists of authentic materials. Most literary works are not written for the main rationale of teaching a language. Many authentic samples of language in real-life situations are taken into account in newly developed course materials. Therefore, in a classroom context, FL students are often exposed to a number of actual language samples of real life like settings. Literature can be regarded as a beneficial complement to such materials. In reading literary texts, since learners have also to cope with language intended for native speakers, they become familiar with several linguistic forms and communicative functions. Therefore, literature can help FL students to get the tools to understand the Western beliefs and values .
For many language learners, the ideal way to increase their understanding of verbal/nonverbal aspects of communication in the country where that language is used — a visit or a long stay — is just not probable. For such learners, literary works, such as novels, plays and short stories facilitate understanding how communication takes place in that country. Though the world of any literary work is an imaginary one, it presents a colourful setting in which characters from many social backgrounds can be described. A reader can notice the way the characters in such literary texts see the world outside (i.e. their thoughts, feelings, customs, traditions and possessions). This colorful created world can quickly help the foreign learner to feel for the codes and preoccupations that shape a real society through visual literacy of semiotics.
There are four main reasons for using literature in a language class. One of them is that literature is authentic material since it is helpful in cultural and language enrichment. The themes that literature deals with are common to all cultures in spite of the different approaches of the writers and they are relevant to all human beings in all the times. In fact, literature is authentic material that can generate a new creative learning experience in the class, and the students in turn will come out as competent learners of both language and literature.
Literature provides learners with a wide range of individual lexical or syntactic items. Students become familiar with many features of the written language, reading a contextualized body of text. They learn about the syntax and discourse functions of sentences, the variety of possible structures and the different ways of connecting ideas, which develop and enrich their own writing skills. Students also become more productive and adventurous when they begin to perceive the richness and diversity of the language they are trying to learn and begin to make use of some of that potential themselves. Thus, they improve their communicative and cultural competence in the naturalness of the authentic texts.
Literature can be useful in the language learning process owing to the personal involvement it fosters in the reader. Once the student reads a literary text, s/he begins to inhabit the text. Understanding the meanings of lexical items or phrases becomes less significant than pursuing the development of the story. The student becomes enthusiastic to find out what happens as events unfold via the climax; s/he feels close to certain characters and thus shares their emotional responses. This can have beneficial effects upon the whole language learning process. At this juncture, the prominence of the selection of a literary text in relation to the needs of the students is evident. In this process, the student can remove the identity crisis and develop into an extrovert.
The themes literature deals with are familiar to all cultures despite their different ways of treatment. These incidents occur to all humans. Therefore, these themes are regarded as universal ones. Because a literary work deals with events which constitute part of the reader’s experience, FL students are often able to relate it to their own lives. Literature is considered as a store of topics to use in teaching FL. Within literature, one can come across the language of medicine, of law and of church.
Literature tackles topics which are basically exciting and which are treated in ways designed to attract the readers’ attention. One of the great strengths of literature is its suggestive influence. Even in its simplest forms, it invites us to go beyond what is said to what is implied. Since it suggests many ideas with few words, literature is ideal for generating language discussion.
Literature speaks subtly diverse meanings to different people. It is unusual for two readers to react identically to any given text. That no two readers will have a completely convergent interpretation establishes the tension that is needed for any fruitful exchange of ideas.
Apart from the above mentioned reasons for using literature in the foreign language class, one of the main characteristics of any literary text is its sociolinguistic richness. A person speaks differently in different social contexts (i.e. formal and informal). The language used changes from one profession to another (i.e. doctors, engineers, politicians and lawyers use different terminology). To put it in a different way, since literature provides students with a wide range of language varieties like sociolects, regional dialects, jargon, idiolects, etc., it develops their sociolinguistic competence in the target language.
Teaching literature in FL classes is thus required. Literature ought to be taught because literary works are often enjoyable to be read. Besides, they are authentic. Literary texts help students to know about other cultures. They also build up students’ interpretative skills. Furthermore, they develop students’ language awareness. Hence, incorporating literature into FL teaching programs as a powerful source for reflecting the sociolinguistic aspects of the target language gains a great importance.
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