The Use of Literature in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

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The Use of Literature in Teaching English as a Foreign Language By:
Amr Alhemiary

Abstract
This research aims at emphasizing the use of literature as a popular technique for teaching both basic language skills (i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening)and language areas(i.e. vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation) in our times. Reasons for using literary text in a foreign language classroom, suitable situations for teaching literature and main criteria for selecting suitable literary texts in foreign language classes are stressed so as to be familiar with the underlying reasons, situations and criteria for language teachers' using and selecting a literary text. Furthermore, literature and the teaching of language skill, the use of different genres(i.e. poetry, sort stories, drama and novel) to language teaching and some problems encountered by language teachers within the area of teaching English through literature( i.e. lack of preparation in the area of literature teaching in TSL/TEFL, programs, absence of clear-cut objectives, defining the role of literature in ESL/EFL, language teacher's not having the background and training in literature, lack of pedagogically-designed appropriate materials that can be used by language teachers in a classroom context) are taken into account.

1. Introduction

In recent years, the role of literature as a basic component and source of authentic texts of the language curriculum rather than an ultimate aim of English instruction has been gaining a momentum. Among language educators, there has been a hot debate as how, when, where and why literature should be incorporated in ESL / EFL curriculum. Vigorous discussions of how literature and ESL / EFL instruction can work together and interact for the benefit of students and teachers has led to the flourishment of interesting ideas, learning, and as an interesting and worthy concern ( Sage 1987:1). In this paper, why a language teacher should use literary texts in the language classroom, what sort of literature language teachers should use with language learners, literature and the teaching of language skills, and uses of different genres of literature to language teaching will be taken into account. Thus, the place of literature as a tool rather than an end in teaching English as a second foreign language will be unearthed. 2. Teaching literature: why when and what

In this section, why language teacher should use literary texts in the foreign language classroom, conditions for using literature in EFL classes and main criteria for selecting suitable literary texts in foreign language classes are discussed so as to be familiar with the underlying reasons conditions and criteria for language teachers' using and selecting literary texts.

2.1. Reasons for Using Literary Text in Foreign Language Classes

According to A.K SHARMA, teaching literature is teaching language, for literature is essentially language. It is the best and the most intense and vigorous use of language which amply illustrates the creative and generative aspects of language. Any utterance or sentence is meaningful but when it means more than it says it becomes a literary expression. Considering literature as a text, we find a literary text most significant. What in fact makes a literary text different from other texts is literariness (the intense use of language). Almost all varieties of language, more or less, have the element of literariness, yet literature exploits it maximally. A literary text is a lift-contained artifact, a translinguistic discourse, involving more than bare system of language. It contains socio-political, cultural, historical contexts inextricably interwoven in the structure of the text. Multiple valency of word combinations, metaphorical expressions, and ambiguity as well as socio-cultural allusions are used in many varieties of language but literary texts exploit these resources to the maximum possible...
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