Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Literature Helps Learning

Literature helps language learning by providing a genuine and rich context. Students use their knowledge of the world they bring to class and this context given to them enables them to make predictions and inferences in searching for meaning. They also link the new knowledge learned with the old knowledge to comprehend the new knowledge more clearly. In short, literature helps students learn language by giving them opportunity to become active participants in the learning process. For example, the poem "Row, row, row your boat" which has very striking vocabulary and structures enables the students to memorise and with additional actions and movement involved, gives extra support to their understanding of the language.
For secondary students, they can be asked to work in groups and choose the part that they like best in the novel The Prisoner of Zenda ( form 3 ) and act it out in front of the class. For better proficiency students, they can be asked to form their own conversation or script based on the part they have chosen. To make it more interesting , students can be encouraged to prepare their own props for their short act or sketch. This gives meaningful and memorable contexts for processing and interpreting the new knowledge. Thus, it gives support to their learning of the language. 
Using literature as a source of materials for language learning can bring variety, fun and enjoyment to the language class. From a simple piece of literature such as "Row, row, row your boat" to a more challenging production of an act or sketch by the students can wake them up and stimulate them.