Promoting the Prevalence of Literature in the Practice of Foreign and Second Language Education: Issues and Insights

| December 29, 2006
Promoting the Prevalence of Literature in the Practice of Foreign and Second Language Education: Issues and Insights

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Sivakumar Sivasubramaniam
American University of Armenia

Bio Data
Sivakumar Sivasubramaniam currently teaches graduate TEFL programs and directs the Center for Research and Development in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching at the American University of Armenia. He has been an EFL/ESL teacher for nearly thirty years now and has taught English in India, Ethiopia, Thailand and Bahrain. He holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Madras, India, an MA in (Linguistics) TESOL from the University of Surrey, U.K, and a PhD in English Studies from the University of Nottingham, U.K. His research interests include response-centered reading/writing pedagogies, second language advocacy, narratives in language education, and genre-based approaches to reading and writing in EAP.

The course-book culture rampant in current foreign and second language settings appears to promote a reductionist view of language learning. Under its hegemony, language learners have been led to believe that language is a set of transactions, which they need to master in order to meet exam requirements/ academic standards. Such a belief has precluded our students from looking at language learning as a life-long educational endeavour and as an instrument of constructive social change/empowerment. The course-book drills neither provide frameworks for the learners to have an emotional engagement with the language nor nourish their capacity for imaginative and expressive use of language. Consequently, the students are subject to an educationally unrewarding language learning experience, which denies them of agency and voice. In light of this educational malaise, the use of imaginative content becomes an urgent educational priority in the language classroom. The prevalence of imaginative content in the language classroom can lay the groundwork for personal and social construction of meanings by the students. As literature abounds in imaginative language, this paper will argue for the inclusion of literature in mainstream EFL/ESL. Further to this, the paper will examine a set of issues and insights, which are meant to augment our understanding of the role of literature in the foreign and second language classroom.

See pages 254-273

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 8 Issue 4