Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION According to many scholars, teaching literature in EFL classes is required. They see that literature ought to be taught because literary."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION According to many scholars, teaching literature in EFL classes is required. They see that literature ought to be taught because literary works are often enjoyable to be read. Literary texts help students to know about other cultures. They are a stimulus for language acquisition. They also build up students’ interpretative skills. They develop students’ language awareness. In addition, they push students to talk about their opinions and feelings. In fact, literary texts promote personal involvement in the learning process.
PRESENTING THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS The present study aims at casting light on the attitudes of EFL students at University of Ouargla towards literature courses. The University of Ouargla is one of the developing universities and it is located in the South of the country. It can be considered as an average university in Algeria and the academic ranking of the department is just above the average and this fact has also been very convenient for the purpose of the current study since neither a very good nor a very bad sample can be considered as a good sample.
PRESENTING THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS It was noticed that the academic staff themselves also complained about the lack of students’ active participation in literature classes and they noted that they would be very pleased to know about their students’ attitudes toward literature. Thus, it has been decided to conduct the study at the English Language and Literature Department, Faculty of Letters and Languages, University of Ouargla, Algeria.
Therefore, the present paper comes to answer the following questions: What are the attitudes of EFL students towards literature courses? Do the teaching techniques used in the EFL class of literature have an impact on students’ attitudes? What is the link between the students’ achievement and their attitudes towards literature courses at the Department of English at Kasdi Merbah University of Ouargla-Algeria?
PRESENTING THE SUBJECTS The participants of the study are 40 second year LMD students of EFL at Kasdi Merbah University of Ouargla-Algeria. The undergraduate curriculum of English at University of Ouargla is a three-year training leading to a BA degree (License), and consists of six semesters of 14 weeks each. The students enter the department by means of their results in the BAC exam; there is no competitive university entrance examination. The literature courses taught in the department are Universal Literature, British Literature, English Literature, American Literature and Universal Theatre.
PRESENTING THE INSTRUMENT The data for the study are collected through a structured interview session. The interview aims at exploring the subjects’ attitudes towards literature in the EFL context. The interview session is audio recorded.
DATA COLLECTION The 40 students are invited to a structured interview for 35 minutes. The interview consists of 7 questions: 1- Do you feel that you are motivated to study literature? Yes/No- Why? 2- Which literary genre do you prefer to read? Short stories/ Novels/ Plays/ Poetry? 3- What is your impression on literature courses? They are interesting? / They are boring? 4- Why do you read literary works? For enriching your language diction?/ For fun? 5- When do you read literature? Just when your teacher asks you to do that?/ You read by yourself? 6- What kind of difficulties do you encounter when reading any literary text? Vocabulary?/ Culture? 7- In your opinion, does literature play an important role in EFL? Yes/No- Why?
DATA ANALYSIS To answer the research questions, the interview script is transcribed and used as a means for getting findings. Most students involved in the interview are motivated to study literature. They consider literature as an important module and a useful tool to learn English. However, some other students feel that they are not motivated; they maintain that using literature in EFL requires some authentic materials which are not found in their classroom. A great number of students prefer to read short stories and some others prefer novels since the two literary genres are simpler than the other genres. Literature according to most students is wholly interesting because it enriches their knowledge at large; however, some still think that it is dull and boring sometimes.
Most students state that they read literature to enrich their own diction and to have fun. Literature gives students a chance to know about the other’s culture. Though some other students have the same outlook, they still think that using other authentic texts may be more useful than literary texts in the EFL classroom since they lack vocabulary and they also find it difficult to understand cultural aspects related to the writer’s community that is far and totally different from theirs.
Most students agree on the fact that they do not receive much support from their teachers concerning reading and studying literature. They add that teachers do not do their best to help their students to understand and analyse literature. In fact, the majority of students admit that they rely on some websites to analyse literary texts without reading them since this way is very simple and saves time. Some other students admit that even if they read the target literary work, they need to have recourse to some sites on the net so their reading intuitions come to be true.
A great number of students involved in the interview maintain that EFL teachers of literature ought to provide them with some appropriate methods that enable them to get more clues about the text’s writer, his themes, his style and his social background. The interview has also showed that the majority of students complain about their motivation and admit that their performance in literature courses is poor. It is most of the time evident that classes are highly teacher-centred and students are usually tested on either memorisation of what the teacher or the critical book stated about a given literary work, or on historical questions on the time the literary work was produced and the author’s life and his/her works. The majority of students also notice that the way teachers handle literature classes lacks an appropriate methodology and that the classes are often unexciting and boring.
The results have revealed that the practice of using systematic methodologies to encourage students to attempt their own analysis is very rare. All of these results have showed once again the fact that EFL students at university have positive attitudes towards the courses of literature although they are less enthusiastic about the teaching techniques used by their teachers.
CONCLUSION EFL learners ought to be trained to create their own questions or hypotheses about the texts they read. They should be guided into higher level activities which require critical thinking skills so that they are able to get both systematic knowledge of the language and meanings interpreted. Gradually done, learners will become more critical readers in literature classrooms in EFL contexts, and potentially more autonomous so that they may enjoy learning more about literature. Using literature in EFL classes provides a window into western cultures, helping students understand how foreigners live and think. It indeed helps students to expand their “linguistic and cognitive skills, cultural knowledge and sensitivity”.
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