Reading Literature : A Study of the Significance of Literature in Language Education

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur

Abstract: The aim with this study is to find out the role of literature in language education. More specifically, this essay focuses on discovering how literature can be used to learn and acquire the English language. The study will show how reading literature can benefit students’ proficiency. The paper is based on two parts. The first part is an interview section where four English teachers have been interviewed in order to learn what teachers’ thoughts are on the role of literature in the courses in English. The teachers that have taken part in the study work at the same school in a smaller municipality. The second part of the study examines the availability of literary material in three current ELT coursebooks that the interviewees use in their teaching. This was done by a page-by-page analysis of the coursebooks.  The results of the interviews suggest that through reading literature students can acquire skills such as expanded vocabulary and proficiency. Moreover, the study shows that the coursebooks available to the teachers fail to provide enough reading material, nonfictional or fictional, to develop the proficiency the authors of the coursebooks claim students will acquire by using their coursebooks.

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