Teaching literature to english majors at the universitiy of social sciences and humanities ho chi minh city an integrated approach

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INTRODUCTION This study aims at investigating whether an integrated approach can be a viable teaching approach in literature classes at the Department of English Linguistics and Literature, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City This introduction presents the rationale, the aim and the significance of the study and an overview of the rest of the thesis 0.1RATIONALE OF THE RESEARCH Over the last few years intensive and widespread debates have taken place concerning the nature and purpose of teaching and learning English literature There used to be a so high degree of uncertainty about the role of literature in the fast moving world that Zach (1989: 11) asked a very embarrassing, provocative yet truly fundamental question, “Are literary scholars today in the situation of dinosaurs on the verge of extinction?” To some people, literature reading can even be considered as a time-wasting, dreary, and even ridiculous activity Not only common readers but also „expected serious readers‟ like language students usually think of literature as something too academic, intellectual, difficult, and impractical The same thing happens to literature in foreign language classes nowadays Due to future employment prospects, the number of students who enroll the literature course is smaller and smaller More young Vietnamese are joining in a fast-paced, hectic, and even frantic way of life Their financial concerns and practical viewpoints gradually erode their interest in literature Even if English literature is a compulsory subject in the whole curriculum, students will have no choice but study literature with less effort than that for other subjects such as translation, business English, and language studies They rarely have time for the enjoyment of reading a long novel or citing a poem in their native language, let alone in a foreign language Moreover, students‟ lack of interest in English literature may also result from the way Vietnamese literature has been being taught in schools, usually imposing and centralized, rather than motivating and inspiring Pupils and high school students are not very often allowed to interpret a literary work in their own ways or freely respond to it They seem to copy what their teachers have said about the work for their exam papers In this way, their passivity and dependency are exacerbated, but their creativity and uniqueness are undermined, which may end up in their loss of enjoyment for this subject In addition, it is acknowledged that English literature is not an easy subject to deal with since the learning of English literature is not simply an involvement of the four language skills Learning literature requires not only students‟ language skills but also their „ability to think‟ while not all students were born to have an aptitude for literature Besides, it is common that students have to deal with “unfamiliar background references” (Lewis, 1999: 200) and allusions in English literature, which may sometimes make them „struggle‟ with the reading and hence take away their pleasure in reading it Another factor that makes English literature inaccessible to some students is the language barrier They often complain that the language used in literary works is old-fashioned, even archaic, which is too hard to internalize or „digest‟ In fact, some students complain that they are put under a lot of pressure when they are asked to some challenging tasks such as making oral presentations about the literary works or writing literary essays Apart from the difficulties in learning literature, the context of the shift to the credit system training since the school year 2007 has called for big changes in the teaching and learning of literature at the Department of English Linguistics and Literature (henceforth DELL) of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (henceforth USSH) American Literature has no longer been a compulsory subject in the graduation exam which is crucial to the whole curriculum for English majors of DELL The latest curriculum reform in the DELL permits students to choose whether or not they take literature as a major subject after finishing the course of Introduction to Literature This reform to some extent has put literature in a really challenging position, especially when the prestige of natural sciences seems to gain the ascendancy in society And even with students who choose literature as their major subject, they still find it difficult to enroll the other literature modules, namely Writing about Literature, Selected British Literary Works, Selected American Literary Works There exists a gap between the first and the second stage of the curriculum During the first stage, students are expected to spend time on building and developing the four major language skills which are speaking, listening, reading and writing through compulsory subjects such as phonetics, language studies, advanced writing, advanced grammar, etc Therefore, many students cannot cope with literature and the big changes in teaching methodology adopted for this subject during their second stage of learning Here appears a need to form a transitional phase to help students prepared for the new subject and methods in order to improve their both knowledge of and about the English language in general and literature in particular It is evident that many approaches are suggested to help teach English literature more effectively and practically Nevertheless, it can be a challenging task, especially for young and inexperienced teachers In order to apply a suitable approach to the teaching of literature, which enhances and motivates students to learn this subject, teachers need to know about the nature and kinds of learning motivation They also need to identify how much students are interested in reading and studying literature as well as what reasons lie behind their interest and efforts In addition, an understanding of students‟ perceptions of motivational causes can help teachers encourage students to learn Another inspiration for the study is the concern over learners‟ autonomy, cultural awareness, and personal growth It is believed that literature can be a great source of interesting and easily assessable materials for later selfstudy Thanks to the authentic interactions with many cultural notions found in the literary works, learners‟ cultural enrichment can also be developed And the process of their personal growth can thus be reinforced After graduation, students are expected to continue teaching themselves for the sakes of not only language improvement, but also cultural enrichment and self-fulfillment However, there is no substantial body of research on a certain approach which can be used to teach EFL literature to Vietnamese learners in this new context It is in such direction that this paper, an investigation of teaching literature to English majors at USSH in the light of an integrated approach is conducted 0.2 AIM OF THE RESEARCH The urgent need of conducting a new approach to teaching literature is undeniable However, up to the present time, there has been no study with great focus on teaching EFL literature in the new context, especially the one that can meet the specific needs of English majors who are enrolling credit-based system at DELL-USSH Therefore, the aim of this research is to figure out how effective it can be to teach literature in the light of an integrated approach after identifying learners‟ difficulties in as well as expectations from the teaching and learning of literature 0.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH In terms of scientific significance, this research is to provide a theoretical framework for better understanding on an effective pedagogical method of teaching literature via the integrated approach, the new trend of teaching English literature to learners of other languages Hopefully, this research will contribute practical significance to the application of the new approach to the teaching and learning of literature to students at DELL - USSH in order to better both the students‟ study results and the teachers‟ pedagogy 0.4 ORGANIZATION OF THE RESEARCH Besides the introductory chapter which introduces the rationales for the research, its aims, significance, and organization, this research covers five main issues which are dealt with in separate chapters Chapter provides background information to the study, consisting of (1) the new literature curriculum for students at DELL – USSH, (2) the Introduction to Literature module, and (3) the characteristics of English majors at DELL – USSH Chapter reviews the relevant literature in four major sections, including (1) definitions of literature, (2) the knowledge about and knowledge of literature, (3) the teaching and learning of literature in an EFL class, and (4) approaches to the teaching of literature Chapter sets out in details the methodology employed in this research, regarding (1) the research questions, and (2) the research design Accordingly, the subjects, instruments, data collection procedures and data analysis procedures are presented Chapter is to (1) analyze the data collected via pre-questionnaire, postquestionnaire, as well as class observation, and (2) discuss the findings from the analysis result Chapter ends the thesis by (1) concluding the main points drawn out from the research and (2) making some recommendations for later application CHAPTER BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY For an understanding of the study context, this chapter looks in detail at (1) the place of literature in the curriculum for students at DELL – USSH, and (2) the Introduction to Literature module at DELL – USSH 1.1 THE PLACE OF LITERATURE IN THE CURRICULUM FOR STUDENTS AT DELL – USSH English literature has been a compulsory subject in the curriculum for fulltime English majors at DELL –USSH for years After spending their first two years on learning and improving language skills via subjects such as listening, speaking, reading, writing, and phonetics, students had to take subjects on English Linguistics and Literature (including British Literature and American Literature) in the last two years The goals are set out as to enable the students to improve their language skills, to enrich their knowledge of the English people, culture, and history, to use English for their communication and future career, as well as to bring about a love for the target language More importantly, since they have to sit a graduation exam in American Literature at the end of the course, British Literature and American Literature have always been the subjects taken seriously by teachers and students Therefore, the place of literature in the curriculum for English majors is of great importance Since the application of credit-based system to the university education in 2007, literature has under gone a number of changes and adaptation The number of literature modules included in the curriculum is reduced Except for the Introduction to Literature and Writing about Literature modules, the others are no longer compulsory subjects to learn Instead of enrolling eight courses in British Literature and American Literature (two courses for each semester during the two last academic years), students can choose whether or not they continue specializing in it Inevitably, students no longer sit a graduation exam in literature Since it is no longer a criterion for university graduation but a matter of optional choice, the important place of literature in the curriculum for English majors at DELL – USSH has been faded 1.2 THE INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE MODULE AT DELL – USSH Introduction to Literature is the compulsory module in the curriculum of DELL - USSH This module is made up 45 class meetings, which counts as credits in the credit-based curriculum The teaching objectives of this module are to provide students with a basic comprehension of elements of fiction and to back them up with necessary skills to read, analyze and comprehend a literary work In order to enroll the module, students are required to finish all Language Skills modules The assessment policy for this module is based on two kinds of scorings The first one is from the mid-term test, which makes up 30% of the final result The second one made up 70% of which 20% is for attendance and participation, 30% for assignment, and 50% for the end-of-term test However, there are still chances for the teacher to replace the suggested literary texts by those which are still relevant to the teaching content and more suitable to the level and interest of the students Presented below is the preliminary syllabus for an Introduction to Literature course Class meeting Content of Teaching Fiction: Introduction Understanding biographical/cultural background Identifying the Formal Elements of Fiction Fiction: Plot Concepts: Conflict – Complications – Climax - Resolution Practice: Plot in Kate Chopin‟s “The Story of an Hour” Fiction: Character Concepts: Protagonist/Antagonist/Round/Flat, etc Characterization Practice: Passages from short stories by J London, J Joyce and K Mansfield Fiction: Setting Concepts: Time and Place Practice: Setting in J London‟s “To Build a Fire” Fiction: Point of View Concepts: First Person/Third Person – Narrative Voice Practice: Two versions of a fairy tale Fiction: Image, Symbolism and Allegory Concepts: Sense Impressions - Universal/Cultural/Contextual Symbols Practice: Symbolism in Doris Lessing‟s “Flight” Fiction: Style, Tone and Language Concepts: Language Conventions – Voice – Attitudes Practice: Style in Doris Lessing‟s “Flight” Fiction: Theme Concepts: Meaning Practice: Two versions of a fable by Aesop How to Read and Understand Poetry Concepts: Sound and Sense Practice: Analysis of “Stopping by Woods” by R Frost Table 1.1: Introduction to Literature syllabus 1.3 SUMMARY This chapter has provided relevant information regarding the situation of teaching Literature at DELL – USSH The chapter also sketches a clear image of the course practitioners The description of the students‟ characteristics adds final details to the picture of teaching and learning of Literature at DELL –USSH CHAPTER LITERATURE REVIEW The previous chapter has presented the background information crucial to the overall planning of the research This chapter provides the theoretical context of the study by reviewing the relevant literature in four major sections, namely (1) definitions of literature, (2) the knowledge about and knowledge of literature, (3) the teaching and learning of literature in an EFL class, and (4) approaches to the teaching of literature The theoretical framework accounts for the design and implementation of the research It also serves as a cornerstone for the discussion in the subsequent chapters 2.1 DEFINITIONS OF LITERATURE Commenting on the efforts in defining literature, Meyer (1997: 4) writes, “Understanding exactly what literature is has always been a challenge.” Critics and scholars have given numerous definitions of literature According to Murdoch (1978), literature is a sort of disciplined technique for arousing certain emotions As Selden (1989: 9-10) points out, literature is “a special use of language which achieves its distinctness by deviating from and distorting practical language.” Rosenblatt (1995) supports the idea that literature treats the whole range of choices and aspirations and values out of which the individual must weave his own personal philosophy The literary works that learners are urged to read offer not only literary values, to use a currently favored abstraction, 10 they should be used to teach literature and language Guy Cook, in his paper entitled ‘Texts, Extracts, and Stylistic Texture’ (Brumfit and Carter, 1997: 150-151) confirms that the most widely held assumption about the use of literary extracts is that they acquaint learners with the „best‟ English and will somehow whet their appetites for more As has often pointed out, the study of literary English is seldom suited to the foreign learner‟s needs, and the mastery of literary texts has little bearing on the learner‟s needs to understand or produce more functional written or spoken forms of the language It is, moreover, often in its deviation from the norm of English grammatical and lexical usage that literature achieves excellence While such deviations may please the native speaker by the freshness they may bring to his/her linguistic world, they can little but confuse the foreign learner New shades of meaning or syntax can hardly be appreciated before their everyday usage has been fully assimilated There is a further and perhaps more crucial reason why the study of literary extracts may be of little use to the foreign learner For obvious reason of convenience, literary extracts are usually restricted to –at most –two or three pages They are usually taken from the middle of a work Yet the „excellence‟ by which the choice of extract is justified may not reside within the extract but in its relation to the preceding and following text from which it has been artificially isolated for pedagogic purposes Guy Cook concludes that literary discourse may both lose meaning and acquire false meaning when extracted from the full text to which it belongs The author of this essay would like to stress on his „may‟, which implies that the use of extracts in teaching, especially in the light of integrating literature and language in a foreign classroom is not purely 115 destructive in all circumstances If the chosen extract can clearly present the theme of the whole work and convey the „essence‟ of its literariness, it can be fruitfully used Furthermore, in some cases, long texts such as novels or plays can be effectively used in teaching if the teacher cleverly uses extracts which can stimulate students to continue reading autonomously The key in choosing extracts should follow the specific pedagogic constraints in selecting texts According to Alan Durant (adapted from Carter and McRae, 1996: 73), the extract, if possible, should be the “beginning of a work” because this helps to avoid confusing students with anaphorics- cohesive ties referring to the preceding text Besides, it encourages students to read further The novel which the author of this essay would like to cite in this regard is Nathaniel Hawthorne‟s The Scarlet Letter Many students who are introduced chapter as its extract find it possible to figure out the theme of the whole novel and want to read it to the end The suitability of content also has role to play in text selection Alan Durant also points out, “if literary texts are to serve the function in the language classroom of motivating and stimulating interest, then their relevance to student concerns is important” Therefore, teacher should select texts for the assumed relevance of their theme or topic There is a risk, however, that the tendency to second-guess student tastes can become patronizing, to the extent that it draws on images of young people‟s interests, held by teachers whose age and cultural experience and aspirations are often very different To tackle this problem, teacher should 116 conduct a careful survey on students‟ interests before making any decision about texts to teach 10 Interestingly, it is also true that “it helps if texts are chosen on the basis of their relevance to students, but this is often not possible because of syllabus or other external requirement” (Lazar, 1997: 43) Inevitably, a combination of these approaches is the best way of ensuring that students become enjoyably involved in learning literature And hopefully, text selection based on the above-mentioned approaches can meet the needs and interest of both teachers and students in teaching and learning literature 11 As mentioned above, a proper text selection helps teachers to decide which approach to be employed In its turn, a certain approach to using literature with foreign language learners decides which kind of text should be chosen Let‟s examine some popular approaches to see how they work with text selection 5.1.2 Approach selection 12 Conducting a suitable approach to teach literature is also highly recommended By examining the benefits and advantages of the integrated approach after making an experimental teaching of the approach undertaken, the researcher of this thesis urges the need for implementing it to the teaching and learning of literature to English majors at DELL-USSH in particular and many learners of English in general The approach to literature views literature as a content is the most traditional approach which concentrates on the “history and characteristics 117 of literary movements, the social, political and historical background to a text, literary genres and rhetorical devices” (Lazar, 1997: 24) In this case, texts are selected for their importance as part of a literary canon or tradition The modern approach views literature a personal enrichment This approach considers literature as a “useful tool for encouraging students to draw on their own personal experiences, feelings and opinions” (Lazar, 1997: 24) Students are expected to involve intellectually and emotionally in learning and thus, improving their language acquisition as well as literature competence That is to say, texts are chosen on the basis of whether they are appropriate to students‟ interests and will stimulate a high level of personal involvement In summary, there are many different approaches to the teaching and learning of literature Each approach has it own advantages and disadvantages to face However, to back teachers up with a new and appropriate approach, as to motivate English majors at DELL to learn literature for academic purposes, cultural enrichment as well as personal growth, and for the enjoyment and appreciation of literature, the implication here is that teacher should take integrated approach into consideration 5.1.3 Motivation 13 Besides text selection, teachers of literature in the while-teaching stage face the problems of how to motivate students to give personal responses to a literary text rather than repeat what was said from books or internet source of information and how to stimulate them to take part in class 118 activities The cause of such problems lies in the traditional trend of teaching and learning in many high schools Vietnamese students of literature are much influenced by the traditional mode of education which stressed rote learning and an authoritarian role for the teacher They are not familiar with student-centered approach which highly appreciates the active role of students in learning Besides, a variety of factors, including students‟ personal characteristics, life style and even their sensitivity to particular issues raised in a text such as religion, sex, or political viewpoint may play a negative impact on their responses In order to stimulate students to respond, teacher should help them to feel comfortable with sharing ideas with teachers and classmates by letting them know that all responses are welcomed first and then the whole class will work together to come to some valid responses, to correct or even omit some invalid responses 5.1.4 Implementation of new theories of literary responses 14 In literature, in fact, there is no right or wrong response because a literary work itself is not a dead thing for readers to examine but a living and aesthetic piece of language in use instead Roland Barthes claims in his paper entitled The Death of the Author (Walder, 1990: 229) that it is language which speaks, not the author He believes that to give a text an Author is to “impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing” And he illustrates his belief by his well-known concluding statement which reads “the birth of the reader must be at he cost of the death of the author” However, as the teacher of literature, though agrees with Roland Barthes that so often different readers respond to the same text differently, the author of this essay finds it necessary to 119 ponder the validity of this modern theory in literature teaching and testing If all responses, even those which are in big conflicts with one another are valid and acceptable, how can the teachers give feedback or mark their students‟ essays? More seriously, students may plead for their misunderstanding of a literary text by this so-called The Death of the Author Therefore, it sounds more reasonable, though rather humorous to add that the author is dead but he left readers inheritance! The inheritances here are clearly the sound evidences drawn out of a literary text That is to say, there are many possible ways to interpret a literary text but not all of them are valid Only those rooted in the text itself are trustable while many other responses may be viewed as subjectivity 15 Meanwhile, E D Hirsch, Jr supports this belief with his paper called The Babel of Interpretations (Walder, 1990: 48) in which he writes, “no single interpretation can possibly exhaust the meanings of text Therefore, to the extent that different interpretations bring into relief different aspects of textual meaning, the diversity of interpretations should be welcomed; they all contribute to understanding The more interpretations one knows, the fuller will be one‟s understanding.” The meaning of a text, Lazar (1997: 10) believes, “can never be fixed or frozen, but that different readers of a text make sense of it in their own way” Hence, the process of reading is a process of meaning creation by integrating one‟s own needs, understanding and expectation with a written text (Brumfit, 1985: 119) Only by interacting with the text, the so-called ideology The Babel of Interpretations can work precisely and the process of reading can achieve the aims to pursuit an aestheticism in a literary text and a literature competence in a learner In other words, to solve the 120 problems of interpreting and responding to literary texts, teachers should bear in mind that the “ultimate goal is to produce accurate and fluent readers and to synthesize in-breadth and in-depth approaches to reading literature” (Carter and Long, 1991: 5) 5.1.5 Aesthetic reading and readers’ personal response 16 There is no claim that the reading of literature requires different reading strategies from other kinds of reading This study claims, though, that reading which exploit literary perceptions must be an aesthetic reading According to Sandra McKay in her paper entitled Literature in the ESL Classroom (Brumfit and Carter, 1997: 194-195), aesthetic reading refers to the reading process in which “the reader‟s primary concern is with what happens during the actual reading” while in efferent reading, on the other hand, the main concern lies in what “the reader will carry away” And of course, what is most important to a reader in aesthetic reading is the enjoyment attained by interacting with the text 17 Also, these suggestions should be taken into consideration in finding a way to gain students‟ personal responses rather than their repeated ideas or borrowed feelings toward a literary text They include giving students a list of literary texts with a brief summary of their content and asking them to choose the one they like; providing them with a questionnaire which is designed to figure out the kinds of text they want to study; asking them to suggest some topics/themes they are interested in so that the teacher can select texts that meet their interests; and giving them opportunities to select and work on the texts they find the most interesting 5.1.6 Teaching techniques and classroom activities 121 Last but not least, a variety activities and techniques drawn from the EFL classroom can thus be applied in an adapted way to the handling the matter of motivating responses and participation from students They include lexical prediction, discussion, rewriting, presentation, films, role plays, and a number of games that bring fun into class and liveliness to literature 18 Lexical prediction can lead to the kind of individual and group involvement with the text as well as to the kind of oral language practice which are not usually engendered by exposition from the teacher Lexical prediction can be made during a reading or after the work has been read, and preferably after some preliminary discussion 19 Forum is not a technical term but suggests the inherent potentially of literature to mobilize among students‟ discussion and debate with each other 20 Rewriting of one style into another should help students to get inside a writer‟s intended communicative effects and to explore the connections between styles and meanings Carter and Long (1991: 116-119) claims that by becoming a writer, the learner is being asked to look more closely at the original angle and the special impression produced by that particular (literary) angle By rewriting, he or she will appreciate the singularity, possibly even the strangeness, of the literary angle However, learners may have to be warned that they are not asked to paraphrase the literary text, it is a rewriting, or a complete shift of angle And for the teacher, rewriting exercises are easy to set up, and thereafter they are essentially learnercentered Such exercises can be the rewriting a text from a different view 122 point, rewriting a text in such a way as to incorporate a reordering of events, and rewriting a text to include an additional character 21 Presentation is obviously an activity that engages students in learning most It provides students with many opportunities to raise their ideas and involve in the text Although it is sometimes not easy to anticipate how long a particular presentation will take, teacher should try to create tasks that the participants will be able to carry out in the time allocated and to set an allowed period of time for presentation activity This, on one hand, provides students with the habit of expressing themselves precisely and concisely On the other hand, setting time allows „spaces‟ for other discussion and debate on any issues related to the presentation More importantly, both teachers and the remaining students are expected to take notes of what participants have said so that the myth that the presentation time is the time for teachers to relax and students to their homework no longer exists! 22 As Anthony Jennings proves in his paper ‘Viewer, I married him: Literature on Video’ (Carter & McRae, 1996: 185), “the use of films in the literature classroom is becoming more widespread as more facilities become available and teachers are obviously keen to take advantage of a resource which promises to make the study of literature more stimulating” Despite this enthusiasm, however, the difficulties of exploiting video in the literature classroom can prove daunting No one can deny the fact that films help to break down the barrier that normally separates novels and plays like Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet from the popular culture that is part of our students‟ daily lives Sometimes films spoil the literariness of the work Sometimes a certain scene is added for the sake of commercial 123 products (The Scarlet Letter), which may bring bad effects to students‟ interpretations And sometimes, films that are quite faithful to the original work such as Jane Eyre and The Vanity Fair are said to be so uninspiring that they bore the watchers with their slow progress and lack of dramatics Therefore, the author of this paper suggests that films should not be shown before exploring the text And teachers must make sure that students would view films as an aid assisted the perception, not the result of literature perception itself 23 Games that bring fun into class and liveliness to literature can be used to motivate the literature learning However, it is a great challenge for teachers to find other games, besides those borrowed from language teaching strategies that are suitable for a literature lesson Anyway, the author of this essay would like to quote Mao Sihui‟s comment in his paper entitled „Interfacing Language and Literature: With Special Reference to the Teaching of British Cultural Studies‟ (Carter & McRae, 1996: 168) to conclude for the part dealing with how to tackle problems in students‟ responses and participations in class That is, “by putting imagination, creativity, passion, and fun back into the classroom we can make teaching and learning a joyful business of discoveries, not a painful Sunday service with a boring, babbling priest” 23 In the post-teaching stage, test designing if not taken seriously, will spoil the teaching heavily According to Culler (1977: 19), “our examinations are not designed merely to check whether the student has read and remembered certain books but to test his or her progress as reader of literature.” That is to say, examination or test should give the student the opportunity to show what has been learned, how that learning has been 124 applied and how that learning can be expressed The researcher would like to support this viewpoint by quoting Mao Sihui (Carter & McRae, 1996: 175), “if analyzing a text in a language or literature class only means a systematic and rigorous analysis on a linguistic level, it would be like experiencing the sea only by counting the number of graceful gulls over the sea or colorful shells lying on the beach, without actually plunging into the surging sea itself” In conclusion, the main aim of this chapter is to argue that in the teaching of literature, difficulties are unavoidable They can exist in all three stages of teaching, including pre-teaching, while-teaching and post-teaching The matter here is whether or not the teachers are willing to overcome such difficulties in their teaching Though the suggested techniques and activities may be insufficient for application, the researcher does hope that they can at least provide Vietnamese teachers of EFL literature some interesting points to consider in their noble mission of teaching EFL literature 5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS In order to put the integrated approach into practice, there are a number of recommendations to be considered 5.2.1 Recommendations to the teachers Teacher should develop students‟ habits of reading literature and their learning autonomy As mentioned in the previous chapters, the aim of literary education is to produce competent, committed, independent, and critical readers of literature, who are not only efferent but also aesthetic readers, and ultimately autonomous learners It is the teacher who is 125 expected to help students “gradually develop the capacity for selecting English texts according to their own preferences and interests, as well as dealing with and understanding the language, discourse, style, form and contexts of these texts” (Sinclair, 1996:142) Based on McRae‟ view of representational material and literature with a small „l‟, it is argued that the use of representational materials in the classroom can initiate readers‟ active involvement and response Teachers of literature should be responsible for the promotion of students‟ language skills, especially reading and writing about literature It is hoped that when students come to enjoy reading literature and feel confident with writing about literature, they will find their literature study interesting to learn and meaningful to pursuit In order to reduce students‟ anxiety during literature exams, processoriented assessment should be carried out throughout the literature courses As it is observed that teacher‟s feedback, assessment or evaluation may give rise to students‟ efforts or discourage them from making any efforts at all Teacher‟s corrective but encouraging feedback and teacher‟s fair assessment, teachers of literature are strongly recommended to practice a positive feedback, assessment, and evaluation Actually, teacher‟s positive feedback can help promote students‟ confidence, self-fulfillment, personal autonomy, and critical thinking ability Ongoing assessment, based on an appropriate number of tasks and assignments and on each individual‟s effort and progress, can result in students‟ satisfaction 126 Choosing texts for study that are not too far beyond the students‟ current reading level and are relevant to their interests, desires is also a good recommendations for carrying out the integrated approach in teaching literature Moreover, teacher should supply students with materials and teaching aids to meet motivate students in learning Various types of support material and teaching and learning facilities such as simplified texts or readers (e.g Longman Simplified English Series and Oxford Graded Readers), reference books, literature guides, anthologies of literary works, commentaries, translation versions, tapes, CDs, VCDs, DVDs, computers with the Internet access, LCDs, overhead projectors, etc should be compiled in a modern literature class Holding more extra-curricular activities is inevitably an urgent need It is evident that extra-curricular activities contribute to the enjoyment of literature reading and learning At the initial stages, game or quiz shows about books, authors, etc and movie/film shows can and should be held to spark students‟ interest and curiosity, which then will spur them to read more and more At later stages, oratory contests, play performances, seminars, workshops, and so on can be held to boost students‟ active and creative involvement in literature study and to create a more exciting atmosphere However, these activities can be very time-consuming and should be carefully selected for the effectiveness and efficiency of a literature class Last but not least, it may be drawn out that teacher‟s wisdom, devotion, enthusiasm, sympathy, and patience can play a vital role in fostering 127 students to learn literature for their language competence, literature perception, cultural enrichment and personal fulfillment 5.2.1 Recommendations to curriculum designers, syllabus or textbook writers, and administrators The integrated approach proposed may work well if it is adopted by syllabus and textbook writers and curriculum designers, who will then offer a wide range of options for teachers to choose from and experiment with Accordingly, curriculum, syllabus and textbooks should be revised and updated to meet the new needs of learners of the modern time This requires the curriculum designers, syllabus and textbook writers, and administrators to put the learner-centeredness into practice of teaching and educational management In so doing, it helps re-define the role of the teacher in the literature classroom: teacher as a guide, a resource, and a facilitator or “an enabler, working with students and creatively intervening to ensure a relevant and meaningful experience through a direct contact with the text” (Carter & Long, 1991:7) rather than as a mere lecturer high on the „pedestal‟ with teacher-centered and transmissive modes of pedagogy The application of technology and availability of sufficient new teaching equipment are believed to help improve the teaching and learning of literature in the new contexts of credit-based system and a fast changing world with diverse cultures and identities.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Hopefully, a new grading policy and assessment will be developed to 128 limit the disadvantages of a credit-based literature class as well as open more spaces for modification and adaptation 5.3 SUMMARY In brief, this chapter has discussed how the results of the study can be applied to the teaching and learning of FL literature at DELL The first section of the chapter presents twenty-three main implications for the classroom; the second offers eight recommendations for the teachers and three for those who in charge DELIMITATIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY Initially, this study confines itself to investigating the effects of teaching literature to English majors at DELL-USSH in the light of integrated approach Therefore, no attempt would be made to give prominence to the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) Also, only data relating to the teaching reality from class 07E and 07F were collected, and findings from the research could be of use to those who are in charge of teaching and learning EFL literature at DELL-USSH However, the results of the study cannot be validly interpreted without a clear understanding of its limitations On one hand, the number of classes undertaken was limited to the class of Introduction to Literature, which makes the researcher unable to test the validity and reliability of the study result with both qualitative and quantitative methods Another limitation is in the administration of the class observation by the researcher Therefore, if the approach under study had been re-administered on another sample, or the same sample in other contexts and learning modules, there would have been more convincible evidence of the result 129 ... about and knowledge of literature, (3) the teaching and learning of literature in an EFL class, and (4) approaches to the teaching of literature The theoretical framework accounts for the design and. .. habits of first reading in Vietnamese and then translating their in-mind ideas into English to perceive the content of the literary work, and thinking in their mother tongue and then translating their... competence and performance 2.4 APPROACHES TO THE TEACHING OF LITERATURE Moody (1983: 23) defines the term approach to teaching literature as the framework, or sequence of operations to be used for the
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