Literature study in EFL education

  • Zhang Xiu Rong

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    What is the role of literature study in EFL education? How can the study of literature make its maximum contribution within the total field of EFL education? These are the two major questions which this paper attempts to answer. The urge that prompted this study comes from the author's deep concern with the study of English at advanced levels in foreign language institutes in China. Research and study of the students and other circumstances at these language institutes show that it is possible as well as desirable for advanced students there to take up the study of literature. Literature study was the only approach to language teaching before the 1940's. In the modern approaches to language teaching, attention has been given to the study of language itself, and the study of literature has been quietly pushed into the shade . It is the author's belief that, as H.L. B. Moody puts it: 'the pendulum has perhaps swung too far from one extreme to the other' . After much research and study about the value of literature in language classrooms, the author intends to show in this paper that the study of literature in language classrooms can be expected to: a) improve students' general linguistic ability, b) provide an insight into the culture associated with the target language; c) through reading, develop students' comprehension and ability to read between the lines. Parallel with these points, this paper is also intended to establish a theoretical basis for three aspects of the study of literature in EFL: Literature as language; (see: Chapter Three) Literature as experience; (see: Chapter Four) Literature as art. (see: Chapter Five). In Chapter Six of this paper, tentative suggestions are given concerning the problems of selecting appropriate materials for advanced foreign language learners, and how literature study can be carried out both in and outside classrooms. The limitations of the study of literature in certain circumstances are also considered in Chapter Six. It is hoped that this paper will serve as a basis for further study and research.
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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