Why is Literature Taught in English Language Classroom?
Traditionally, teachers didn’t want to bring literature in the classroom because it is beyond the students’ comprehension. The language of literature has no use in practical life, since it is difficult students lose interest in leasing and one should be a literary person to teach literature. These all are fallacies about introducing literature in the language classroom. In the country, the recently trend has been changed and the role of literature is considered very much crucial in language learning. So, the importance of literature in language teaching is mentioned through the following points and explanation (Collie and Slates, 2009):
- Valuable authentic materials
Literature is authentic materials. It offers a bountiful and extremely varied body of written materials which is important in the sense that it says something about fundamental human issues, and which is enduring rather than ephemeral.
Students gain additional familiarity with many different linguistic uses, forms, and conventions of the written mode: with iron, exposition, argument, narration and so on.
Literature can incorporate a great deal of cultural information.
- Cultural Enrichment
The ‘world’ of a novel play or short story is a created one, yet it offers a full and vivid context in which characters from many social backgrounds can be depicted (to show an image of sb/sth). A reader can discover their thoughts, feelings, customs, possessions: what they buy, believe in, fear, enjoy, how they speak and behave behind closed doors.
III. Language Enrichment
Literature helps learners to learn many functions of the written language along with it increases learners’ receptive vocabulary. And it facilitates transfer to a more active form of knowledge. Literature provides a rich context in which individual lexical or syntactical items are made more memorable.
Reading a substantial and contextualized body of text, students get familiarity with many features of the written language the formation and function of sentences, the variety of possible structures, the different ways of connecting ideas which broaden and enrich their own writing skills.
A literary text can serve as an excellent prompt for oral work. A student working with literature is helped with the basic skills of language learning. The compressed quality of much literary language produces unexpected density of meaning. Figurative language yokes brings level of experience that were previously distinct, casting new light on familiar sensations and opening up new dimensions of perception in a way that can be exhilarating but also starting. The students of literature will become more creative and adventurous.
- Personal investment
It fosters personal involvement in readers. Engaging imaginatively with literature enable learners to shift the focus of their attention beyond the more mechanical aspects of the foreign language system. When a novel, play or short story is explored over a period of time, the result is that the reader begins to ‘inhabit’ the text. Reader is well-motivated.
Lazar (2009), similarly, presented the following importance of teaching literature:
- Motivating material
- Access to cultural background
- encouraging language acquisition
- Expanding students’ language awareness
- Developing students’ interpretive abilities
- Educating the whole person