English Language Teaching Through Literature
Keywords:Literature, authentic text, language and literature, language skills, integrated way, literary forms, genres, literary competence, responsibility.
In recent years, the role of literature as a basic component and source of authentic texts of the language curriculum rather than an ultimate aim of English instruction has been gaining momentum. A close look at literature and language shows that the two are closely related. This relationship is obvious because from all indications, literature presupposes language. It is inconceivable to discuss literature without reference to language. Language and literature are the two sides of the same coin in teaching and learning process in any language. Literature and language are not only intertwined but also inter-related. Literature presupposes language because it is with the instrument of language that literature is concretized. Therefore, it sounds absurd to study literature without language at the centre stage or to study language without literature playing a prominent role. Language is a set of words to express our ideas to others. This is a means through which we express our thoughts and without means we cannot express our thoughts. On the other hand, literature is the thought which is expressed with the help of language. Thus it is clear that without language literature does not exist because without language we cannot express our thoughts. Language is the fundamental unit of literature and it can be said that language makes literature. Literature plays an important role in teaching the four basic language skills like listening, speaking, reading and writing. However, when using literature in the language classroom, skills should never be taught in isolation but in an integrated way. It can be said that literature has several forms which are called literary forms like prose, poetry, drama, novel, epic, short stories etc. All these literary genres are laden with language in which it is written and they can be used in and outside the English classroom. There are many reasons for using literary texts in language classes as they provide opportunities for multi-sensorial classroom experiences and can appeal to learners with different learning styles. Literature provides students with an incomparably rich source of authentic material over a wide range of registers and if students can gain access to this material they can develop literary competence. When selecting the literary texts to be used in language classes, the language teacher should take into account needs, motivation, interests, cultural background and language level of the students. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government, the curriculum designers, the institutions as well as the teachers of literature and English language to work hand in glove to ensure that this suggested innovation in the teaching of literature and English language in our schools and colleges is effectively implemented.
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