Using literature in ESL and the principles of Communicative Language Teaching
Among the reasons Van (2009) believes studying literature in the ESL classroom is advantageous (providing meaningful contexts, a profound range of vocabulary, enhancing creativity and developing cultural awareness and critical thinking), he mentions the fact that it is in line with CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) principles.
It is worth to elaborate this last point by specifying the ways in which literary exploration in the language classroom can go hand in hand with the main tenets of CLT.
Communicative language teaching (CLT) is considered an approach to language which is based on the theory that the main function of language use is communication. It has as a primary goal that learners develop communicative competence or ability. In other words, its aim is to make use of real-life situations where communication is involved.
Bradl (2008) defines communicative competence as “the ability to interpret and enact appropriate social behaviours, and it requires the active involvement of the learner in the production of the target language”. He also states that “such a notion encompasses a wide range of abilities: the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary (linguistic competence); the ability to say the appropriate thing in a certain social situation (sociolinguistic competence); the ability to start, enter, contribute to, and end a conversation, and the ability to do this in a consistent and coherent manner (discourse competence); the ability to communicate effectively and repair problems caused by communication breakdowns (strategic competence)”.
The kind of activities teachers may use in communicative language teaching are the ones that require fre...
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...en, Piet-Hein, Doecke, Brenton (ed). (2011). Literary Praxis,A Conversational Inquiry into the Teaching of Literature. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam/Boston/Taipei
Van, T.T.M. (2009). The relevance of literary analysis to teaching literature in the EFL classroom. English Teaching Forum, 3: 2-9.
Widdowson, H.G. 1975. Stylistic and the teaching of literature. London: Longman Group Ltd.
Widdowson, H.G. 1982. The use of literature. In On TESOL ’81, Mary Hines and William Rutherford (Eds.), 203–214. Washington, D. C.: TESOL.
Widdowson, H.G. 1983. Talking shop: on literature and ELT. English Language Teaching Journal 37(1):30–35.
Zoreda, L.M. & Vivaldo-Lima, J. (2008). Scaffolding linguistic and intercultural goals in EFL with simplified novels and their film adaptation. English Teaching Forum, 3: 22-29.
Hall, Geoff. Literature in Language Education, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
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