WHY STUDY LITERATURE
Literature has been an essential and popular component of language courses in the Malaysian English Second Language (ESL) context. Even so, the journey towards the inclusion of literature in language courses has been an evolving one, ensuing in many stages of change. As a result, the teaching and learning of literature was drawn back to a state of extinction from being an essential component of the language curriculum, only to resurge in a more fervent form. The introduction of the literature enhanced curriculum in the Malaysian ESL context has steered much discussion on the significance of teaching the subject as part of the English language syllabus in Malaysian primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions. This paper discusses the importance including literature in the Malaysian ESL lesson. The inclusion of literature in the English language curriculum of Malaysian secondary schools provides the platform for the growth of literature in Malaysian English Language Teaching (ELT). The Malaysia English Language Teaching needs plenty of improvement and growth because there are some gaps existing in the Malaysian ELT at the present time. The gaps are lack of in depth English teaching, using limited resources in teaching the subject with the fear for students not understanding the content and unwillingness of teachers to volunteer to teach the subject. As such if the literature is added as a component in Malaysian ESL, there will be a need to teach the English subject in more depth to improve the students’ understanding. This in turn will motivate the educators to look for extended resources to be able to provide deeper teaching of the subject. Extended resources are able to provide better ELT compared to the limited resources. With the inclusion of the literature in the Malaysia learning sessions more teachers will come forward to teach the subject. The interesting argument for the inclusion of literature is that it increases the realization of the learners and also the teachers on the way the language functions. It is said to be interesting because learning something through the teaching process and the learning takes place due to the understanding of the lesson has a huge different. Learning by just listening to the teachers may not last long or may not motivate the learners to explore further what they are currently learning. In contrast learning that takes place when the students understand the function of the subject will last longer in their memory. And there is no need for any pushing for the students to continue learning.
Including the literature in Malaysian ESL is a way to promote to effective teaching for the learners. In effectively teaching literature the literature teachers are able to enhance learners’ understanding of syntax, morphology, semantics and phonetics. A brief lesson of phonetics can help students differentiate between the hums in both their first and second languages. When teach the students to detect the sections of the vocal tract namely the tongue, teeth, lips, vocal cords, alveolar ridge, palate, velum and nasal cavity, the students can detect those hums in ethnic languages that cannot be categorized as a section of the English sound system and also those hums that are a section of the English sound system. Even younger students as young as preschool students are able to learn to determine the sections of the oral cavity faster with the enhancement of the phonetic learning. At the same time, including the literature will create the awareness of the vocabulary enhancement and highlight the smallest building blocks for comprehension through the understanding of the morphology. Vocabulary enhancement will give way to effectively write and speak in English. On the other hand, including the literature in the Malaysian ESL the students are able to know the way the single words and the most fundamental units are put together to make one sentence. This knowledge is...
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