Teaching english through literature

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Teaching English through Literature
Literature is a very versatile subject and is generally considered one of the most difficult subjects to teach. There is no right or wrong way to teach a Literature class; however, there is a smart way to teach it. The idea in Literature is not just to get an answer, it is to get an in-depth, provocative and creative answer. The job of the professor is not toteach the student, it is to lead the student.
Teaching Literature: why and what
The use of literature as a technique for teaching both basic language skills
and language areas is very popular within the field of foreign language learning and teaching nowadays. Moreover, in translation courses, many language teachers make their students translate literary texts like drama, poetry and shortstories into the mother tongue,
Since translation gives students the chance to practice the lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and stylistic knowledge they have acquired in other courses, translation both as an application area covering four basic skills and as the fifth skill is emphasized in language teaching. In the following section, why language teachers use literary texts in the foreignlanguage classroom and main criteria for selecting suitable literary texts in foreign language classes are stressed so as to make the reader familiar with the underlying reasons and criteria for language teachers’ using and selecting literary texts.

Reasons for Using Literary Texts in Foreign Language Classes
there are four main reasons which lead a language teacher to use literature in theclassroom. These are valuable authentic material,cultural enrichment, language enrichment and personal involvement. In addition to these four main reasons, universality, non-triviality, personal relevance, variety, interest, economy and suggestive power and ambiguity are some other factors requiring the use of literature as a
powerful resource in the classroom context.

1. Valuable AuthenticMaterial
Literature is authentic material. Most works of literature are not created for the
primary purpose of teaching a language. Many authentic samples of language in real-life contexts (travel timetables, city plans, forms, pamplets, cartoons, advertisements,newspaper or magazine articles) are included within recently developed course materials.
In a classroom context, learners are exposed toactual language samples of real life /real life like settings. Literature can act as a beneficial complement to such materials,particularly when the first “survival” level has been passed. In reading literary texts, because students have also to cope with language intended for native speakers, they become familiar with many different linguistic forms, communicative functions and meanings.

2.Cultural Enrichment
For many language learners, the ideal way to increase their understanding of
verbal / nonverbal aspects of communication in the country within which that language is spoken - a visit or an extended stay - is just not probable. For such learners, literary works, such as novels, plays, short stories,etc.
facilitate understanding how communication takes place in that 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. A reader can discover the way the characters in such literary works see the world outside (i.e. their thoughts, feelings, customs, traditions, possessions; what they buy, believe in, fear, enjoy; how they speakand behave in different settings. This colorful created world can quickly help the foreign learner to feel for the codes and preoccupations that shape a real society through visual literacy of semiotics. Literature is perhaps best regarded as a complement to other materials used to develop the foreign learner’s understanding into the country whose language is being learned. Also, literature
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