V Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2013


Карманова Н.С. 1, Вебер Л.В. 1
1Карагандинский государственный универститет им. Е. А. Букетова
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In recent years, the role of literature is considered to be a basic component and the main source of authentic texts of the language. Professor Colin MacCabe of the University Of Exter School Of English says that to truly know a language, you must know something of the literature of a language. Among teachers of foreign languages, there has been a hot debate as to how, when, where, and why literature should be incorporated in ESL curriculum.

Reading authentic literature has a crucial role in teaching foreign languages. Extensive reading imports changes in ordinary classroom activities provided by coursebooks and syllabus. According to Collie and Slater, there are four main reasons which make a language teacher use literature in the classroom. These are valuable authentic material, cultural enrichment, language enrichment and personal involvement. [1] Teachers should keep in mind that literature is authentic material. Most works of literature were not created for the purpose of teaching a language. Despite this fact, samples of language in real-lifecontexts (i.e. travel timetables, city plans, forms, advertisements, newspaper or magazine articles) are included in current school curriculum. By means of such samples learners are exposed to topical language usage in real life. It is good but is not enough for successful mastering language; literature should act as a beneficial complement to such materials. While reading pupils deal with language intended for native speakers, they become familiar with many different linguistic forms, communicative functions and meanings. Moreover literature informs pupils how communication takes place in target country. Though the world of a novel, play, or short story is an imaginary one, it presents a full and colorful setting in which characters from many social / regional backgrounds can be described. [2] A reader can discover the way people in target country see the world outside (i.e. their thoughts, feelings, customs, traditions, possessions; what they buy, believe in, fear, enjoy; how they speak and behave in different settings. This colorful created world can quickly help the learner to shape a real society through literature. Literature helps to develop the foreign learner’s understanding of the country whose language is being learned.

Literature provides learners with a wide range of individual lexical or syntactic items. Through reading pupils become familiar with many features of the written language. The syntax and discourse functions of sentences, the variety of possible structures, the different ways of connecting ideas, which develop and enrich their own writing skills can be observed by learners. It gives pupils potential to improve their writing. Syntactic structure of foreign language can be understood from literary text much easier, this is the main difference of literary language from the spoken one. Getting to know formation of paragraphs and chapters, distinguishing functions of the sentences learners will acquire eloquence; improve their writing and speaking skills.[3] Students will apparently expand their vocabulary while working with authentic foreign text. They will have to look up new words in the dictionary and new words will awake some cultural references. That is to say, that while reading a text learners face some cultural aspects of the time and place they are reading about, will learn some peculiarities about history and culture, will get awareness of traditions, and habits of that time. Customs and rites, lifestyle, dress, architecture, weather, landscape are always mentioned in literary writings, so cultural patterns are never deficient in literary texts.

Nevertheless, literary text may have several disadvantages. First of all, literary texts may occur to be quiet distinct from the real life experience. Furthermore, students have only one possible ability-to follow author’s thought and have no other alternatives.[4] In order to avoid this teacher should pay careful attention to choosing different types of text, varying styles, genres and authors; he should find texts with rich cultural material. That will help to arise learners’ interest and will help them to form cultural references and make more clear cultural connections between native language and the target language. Dealing with literary text not only awakens some associations between native culture and culture of the foreign language, but creates major understanding of the way of life, of where the foreign language comes from. This leads to development of learners’ outlook, making strong connections with other cultural disciplines. When meeting new advantages, which the target language can offer, students can visualize a universe of possibilities, opened by the foreign culture. They can connect their acquired knowledge in such fields like sociology, history, arts, politics etc. As we can see using variety of literary material in the classroom conveys cultural background, forms foreign culture insight, enlarges students’ outlook, enriches their active vocabulary, and cultivates speaking and writing skills. All these aims can be achieved by using single technique during classroom-literary material. The teacher may mix other techniques(like revising grammar, doing exercises, learning new words etc) with this useful one to succeed in teaching foreign language, developing multicultural competence, combining pragmatic, pedagogical and cognitive aims of teaching.[5]

The work with authentic material should be dynamic and student-centered. Teacher should begin at the literal level with direct questions of fact regarding setting, characters, and plot which can be answered by specific reference to the text. Then goes inferential level, where they must make some interpretations concerning the characters, setting and where they produce the author’s point of view, after all pupils are ready to do a collaborative work. They give their personal attitude to it - to its characters, its theme(s), and the author’s point of view. The third level, the personal / evaluative level stimulates students to think imaginatively about the work and provokes their problem-solving abilities. Choosing texts to be read, the teacher should take into account needs, motivation, interests, cultural background and language level of the pupils. One major factor is to take into account is whether the text is able to reveal the kind of personal involvement by arousing the learners’ interest and eliciting. Books preferable should be relevant to the real-life experiences, emotions of the learner. Pupils’ language level is very important in choosing a suitable book, although books can be more difficult, according to L.S. Vygotsky (Learning should be in advance of development). All these things help learners to cope with the linguistic obstacles that might be considered too great in less involving material. [6]

All things considered, literature has been proven as a great tool in teaching foreign language and foreign culture. In the final analysis literature helps in teaching and learning communicative competence of foreign language. Authentic literature is the primary material of teaching the target language, providing real contexts of communicative situations. Reading also provides the pleasure of learning through interesting stories. Students can broad their knowledge and experience of the world by reading literature. No one should be forced to read, the teacher should encourage pupils to do it for their own pleasure and benefit. Even though pupils sometimes consider it too boring, we, as future teachers and students in the past know the role of literature in our life and we can say that it works. Reading authentic literature can get closer to the language, culture as well as customs and it is always a way of learning how to write and spell correctly. The only problem is to make literature interesting for students. Literature also shows pupils new ways to view the world around them.


1. Collie, J. and S. Slater. 1990. Literature in the Language Classroom: A Resource Book of Ideas and Activities. Cambridge: CUP.

2. Elliot, R. 1990. “Encouraging reader-response to literature in ESL situations” in ELT Journal. Vol 44, No. 3, p.p:191-198

3. Elizabeth S. Pang, Angaluki Muaka. Teaching Reading/ The Internatioanal Academy of education-The IAE, 2001.

4. Kamil, M.L.; Mosenthal, P.B.; Pearson, P.D., eds. 2000. Handbook of reading research, vol. 3. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

5. Spack, R. 1985. “Literature, Reading, Writing, and ESL: Bridging the Gaps” in TESOL

6. Helton, C.A, J.Asamani and E.D.Thomas. 1998. “A ‘Novel’ Approach to the Teaching of Reading”. Tennessee State: Tennessee State University, p.p: 1-5, Available Internet Address: http: // www.nade.net / documents / SCP98 / SCP98.19.pdf

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