Topic Thread

1.  Literature in Language Elementary Classes

Posted 12-05-2016 21:42


I think sometimes pedagogy and Literature are parallel rivers that try to stay apart from each other. Specifically, I'm thinking in graduate students or young M.A.'s or Ph.D.'s with a strong Literature background. After the struggle of finding a job, skills such as "close reading", having a critical perspective of the artistic canon or knowledge of contemporary schools of thought don't seem very significant when teaching language elementary classes. Similarly, TAs can be more dedicated to Literature coursework than to pedagogy classes.

An answer to this "problem" could be "graduate students should take more pedagogy classes" and I could agree with it. However, I'm trying to see things from the other side.

Thus, how can we take advantage of literature coursework for language elementary classes? It is only for advances classes? What is the role of artistic texts in elementary classes? Why it seems that understanding/feeling "art" is not always part of the cultural standards for learning languages?

Thank you for your answers! Looking forward to your ideas, comments, critiques, etc.

Daniel Romero

2.  RE: Literature in Language Elementary Classes

Posted 3 days ago
Hi Daniel,
I have always thought that literature should be left for later stages when students have enough exposure to and confidence with the TL. This belief, was however proven to be wrong when we once had a poet as a guest speaker in our WL festival. The students were very inspired by her poems and they went back to their classes with a real motivation to play around with their learned vocabulary and come up with some short poems. Nowadays even with my intermediate Non-heritage students students I try to expose them to authentic works. I take excerpts from some modern short stories or novels and we focus on the different parts of speech in these excerpts. We come up with categories of adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc. We also study the major tenses ( past and present tenses) in these texts. So, what I mean is that literature could be started as early as Novice High levels. I hope this is what you meant and I didn't rush to a conclusion that literature could be taught in early stages of WL classes. 

Fatima Baroudi