Congresos y reuniones científicas
The Case for Literature in the Language Classroom: Learning EFL through Short Stories
Congreso; XXXV FAAPI Conference: EFL & Art. Learning English with all our Senses; 2010
Institución organizadora:
Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés
Literature has been used in the language classroom for a long time. The reasons that are often given for its use are cultural, linguistic and personal. First, literature develops cultural awareness as it enables students to understand and appreciate cultures different from their own. Second, it develops language awareness as students are exposed to authentic language and a wide variety of registers. Third, it stimulates personal involvement and fosters critical thinking skills as students react to the texts they read. In fact, literature not only motivates students but also stirs their imagination thus making English language learning a more enjoyable experience. This rationale for integrating literary texts into language teaching is well established, but it does not go unchallenged. In this paper, we first examine the role of literature in the language classroom ? the arguments in favour and against its use ? and then review studies in this field. One area of investigation that seems to deserve more attention is the evaluation of the teaching of English through literature. In order to contribute to fill this gap in the research, we describe an action research project in which we explore learning English through short stories in the English Language II classroom at the School of Languages, National University of Córdoba. In this context, students deal with short stories that are thematically linked to syllabus units within a content- and task-based approach to the teaching and learning process. Students are given guidelines for short story analysis which focus on the key aspects of the literary work, on the basis of which they give group oral presentations. In this project, a questionnaire was administered before and after the classroom experience described in order to obtain information about the students? abilities and attitudes towards learning English through short stories. The results of the pre- and post-study questionnaires will be compared and interpreted in order to assess students? perceptions, draw conclusions and make suggestions for classroom applications and future research. It is our intention to encourage both teachers and students to exploit the benefits of using short stories to make language learning a pleasurable experience.