Literature - beneficial in the language learning process
A. In the textbook of 'Prosveta'……………………………………..43
B. Language sections in the textbook of 'Lettera'…………………45
1. Literature is beneficial in the language learning process.
For many language learners, the ideal way to deepen their understanding of life in the country where that language is spoken - a visit or an extended stay - is just not possible. Some may start learning a language knowing that they are unlikely ever to set foot in an area where it is spoken by the majority of inhabitants. For all such learners, more indirect routes to this form of understanding must be adopted so that they gain an understanding of the way of life of the country: radio programs, films or videos, newspapers, and last but not least, literary works.
It is true, of course, that the 'world' of a novel, play or short story is a created one, yet it offers a full and vivid context in which characters from many social backgrounds can be depicted. A reader can discover their thoughts, feelings, customs, possessions, what they buy, believe in, fear, and enjoy, how they speak and behave behind closed doors. This vivid imagined world can quickly give the foreign reader a feel for the codes and preoccupations that structure a real society. Reading the literature of a historical period, is after all, one of the ways we have to help us imagine what life was like in that other foreign territory: our country's past.
Literature is perhaps best seen, as a complement to other materials used to increase the foreign learner's insight into the country whose language is being learnt.
But we have to make distinction between the study of literature and the use of literature as a resource for language learning. The study of literature involves an approach to texts as cultural artifacts. Using literature as a language resource involves starting from the fact that literature is language in use and can therefore be exploited for language learning purposes. The two different approaches stem from different traditions and imply different methodologies.
Much of the confusion and controversy surrounding literature in foreign language programs arises from the failure to keep these two purposes (the study of literature and the use of literature) separate in our minds. If our purpose is the first there is an immediate rivalry set up between teaching language and teaching literature. If it is the second, we can avoid this polarization, since literature is a language. Purpose one tends to emphasize the 'special' status of literature, to put it on a pedestal. Purpose two regards it as one among many other equally valid uses of language and treats it as a proper object for the work bench.
We will explore the role of literary texts in the language classroom and, in particular, as a resource for language development.
Literary texts are treated in the language lesson in ways, which may not be radically different from the ways in which any
other kind of text is treated.
One important question arises from this section. If literary text can be treated methodologically in essentially the same way as other texts, then why should we teach literature at all? The question is particularly acute when arguments are mounted for the use of the literature as a resource for language teaching. Is there anything which literary texts can offer in the second or foreign language classroom, which other texts cannot offer?
This is a question which is touched on in a number of papers but it is quite directly addressed by Bill Louw in his contribution to the integration of language and literature in the curriculum and in the paper by Alan Maley. Contributors generally agree that teaching literary texts should result in literary experiences and the work undertaken on the language of the text should not be an end in itself but should serve literary goals. A basic element in this literary experience could be said to be the way in which literary texts do not so much refer to experiences as represent them.
We have to assume that students have already attained a level of competence in the language, and familiarity with the literary conventions, which will allow them ready access to literary text for this purpose.
Finally we have to mention interdisciplinary relations in the textbooks of English literature. As the theoretical principles of the literature analysis are based on logic, psychology, history, theory of literature and aesthetics, they are used to interpret a literary work.
In the textbook of 'Prosveta' there are some examples of interdisciplinary relations with arts, especially: music, painting, cinema and so on. We have noted the great importance of the pictures in the two textbooks. On p. 92 is William Blake's famous painting of Sir Isaak Newton. Students have to discuss the main characteristics of Romanticism in more details. There are some other pictures to help. The terms for using are given. This example shows how art and literature can interact.
Music is not very well used in the textbooks.
On page 73 there is a song called Jankee Doodle and its history.
The connection with the cinema is very significant. On page 38 students should answer the following question: 'Have you seen any recently made films about the English Renaissance?' Students have to comment on the differences in representing the age. In the section 'Free time' on p. the task is connected with the film 'Wuthering Heights', on p. - with the film 'The scarlet letter', etc. In the textbook of 'Lettera' there are also such examples: p. 16; 'Name some films made after old stories'.
In the same textbook there is a lot of additional information: about national flowers (p. 159 / 7), about animals - what they symbolize (p. 180), etc.
The two textbooks complete each other. They both have got their own advantages and disadvantages and we hope, that in the diploma paper these advantages and disadvantages were clarified. We tried to suggest some new approaches and exercises for teaching and learning literature and we underlined the connection between language and literature, especially the role of literature in learning a foreign language.
1. Carter, R (ed.) (1989) 'Literature and the learner: Mythological Approaches', Modern English Publications.
2. Colie, J. and Slater, S. ( 1987 ) 'Literature in the language classroom'
3. Maley, a ( 1989 ) 'Down from the Pedestal Literature as Resource', Modern English publications
4. Byrne, D. (ed.) ( 1969 ) 'English Technical Extracts', Longman
5. 'Literature' for the 11th grade ( 2002 ) 'Lettera', Plovdiv
6. 'English through Literature' for the 11th grade ( 2002 ) 'Prosveta', Sofia
7. Кръстев, Емил 'Обучението по литература в средното училище' ( 2000 ), Благоевград
Темата е изготвена 01.2004г
Темата съдържа една таблица
Ключови думи: functions of literature in the process of learning, literary study, language study, the role of 'Listening' sections, tests and examinations, literary translations in Bulgarian.