The Teaching of Literatures in English VII

Topics: Postgraduate education, Literature, La Folie Pages: 7 (755 words) Published: February 23, 2015
The Case of Algerian Universities

Issue?
How is knowledge in literature transmitted?
What are the didactic parameters that

determine the particularity of its
transmission?
Which kind of policy dictates that
transmission?
What are the characteristics of the Algerian
University Context?

Literature lectures: three antagonistic
alternatives
The profile of graduation and post-

graduation→ Quantity
The programme of the Ministry of Higher

Education→ Quantity
The Student’s career worries→ Efficiency

(Lakhdar Barka,
1990)

On the need to depict three
profiles
The TEACHER→ Who is he?
The INSTITUTION→ What

does it aim at?
The STUDENT→

Teachers’
Profile
1970s till mid 1980s→ A Quality-oriented system

(graduation + sophisticated post-graduate degrees)
BUT.

From (1971 to 1974)→ The first ‘Reforms’ at

university


Pedagogical Divergence

lecturer vs. students and programmes

Two Philosophies behind Quality
The licence ‘Ancien Régime’
 Rooted in the French
system of education
 Gave more weight to
The knowledge of the FL;
- civilization
-culture
-history of ideas….
Unconscious process of
comparative and
contrastive cultural
anthropology

Licence des Belles Lettres

Quality as a criterion
The highly specialised
post-graduate training

the acquisition of an indepth knowledge in a
particular field

antagonizes with the
rather shallow initiation
level the institution
requires from him.

The Institution: New Targets
Quantity→ More teachers needed for the

Secondary schools
Utility→ English is a means to have access to
documents especially in Science and
Technology( the Market’s requirement)
BUT.
- The same infrastructure
- The same staf
- The same equipment…..

Number of undergraduate students in Algerian universities:
available at www.triplehelix5.com.
1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2001

2004

1137

12243

57445

18135
0

46608
4

55280
4

70000
0

Syllabus: Major drawbacks
No synchronic neither diachronic completion
No coherent continuum in the modules’

contents
No scientific compatibility
No pedagogical harmony

systematic slicing of of the Subjects

Subjects
Linguistics: spreads the status of science that

provides key answers to learning language for
a utilitarian purpose
Civilization: More a course of history of the

country of the lg taught rather than a cultural
initiation to the values and ideas of its people.

Literature: A series of recurrent Observations
Almost no literary text is read as an entity (whether a

short story, a novel, or play) by the student, sometimes
Up to the third year
The theory of literature course sounds too pretentious
when it comes to practice. It deviates into a series of
critical ideas that hang in a referential vacuum by dint
of elementary reduction in order to make it
understood.
Surveys boil down to a list of dates or writer’s birth, themes, and publications since there is no steady
reading background to sustain them.
How can we explain the antagonism between the
lecturer’s objectives (expertise one should say) and the
system’s inability to optimize them? (Lakhdar Barka,
1990,84)

Literature in English:
The equation: time/content
American Literature= two centuries
British Literature= four centuries
Third World Literature= half a century over

three continents

The Syllabus’ Time Allocation
1st YEAR: 22h Teaching load per week
No Literature
2nd YEAR: 23h Teaching load per week
AM. LIT. 2H/ BRIT. LIT. 2H
3rd YEAR: 19h Teaching load per week
AM.LIT. 2H/BRIT.LIT.2H/
Third World. LIT. 2H
4th YEAR: 17h Teaching load per week
3h Seminars
Total: 81h
lit. 13h= 6.2%

The Student
Literature is seen as a ‘cultural break’
No compatibility with professional

expectations
Absence of reading culture
Meagre mastery of French (the lg of the
colonizer), which might provide...
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