ATTITUDES OF TRAINEE ENGLISH TEACHERS TOWARDS THE USE OF LITERATURE IN EFL TEACHING
Louise Kocianová, University of Trnava, Slovakia;
Abstract: Existing research supports the use of literature in the EFL classroom not only as a tool for improving linguistic skills and thinking skills, but also as a vehicle for increasing cultural and intercultural awareness. This research aims to discover to what extent undergraduate trainee teachers feel that literature is a potentially important part of language teaching and, furthermore, precisely what kind of literature they would consider to be beneficial and enriching in the EFL classroom.
The paper draws upon research, in the form of a detailed survey with 100+ respondents, into the attitudes and opinions of trainee English teachers towards the future use of literary texts in the EFL classroom. Respondents identify the particular genres they are most comfortable with utilising as teaching resources, and name specific texts they would like to use in the classroom. They identify what potential benefits are most likely to come out of the use of literature in the classroom and explain their feelings towards literature in general. Those respondents who do not wish to use literature in their future English classes give brief explanations of the reasons why they feel it is not appropriate. Many respondents include detailed comments on the potential value of literature in the language learning process.
Respondents are from Slovak universities, and there is an interesting paradox here in Slovakia in that literature-based courses are a fundamental part of the university syllabus for trainee English teachers, and yet there is absolutely no provision for the teaching of literature in EFL classes in the Slovak school curriculum. It is therefore entirely up to individual English teachers to decide whether they wish to use literature as a resource in the classroom or not. Many of them do not use it, for various reasons; ranging from a lack of time and space in the curriculum to the simple fear of doing something new and different - or something for which they feel they have not received adequate training. But perhaps, if more emphasis was put on the value of literature in EFL teaching at the teacher training stage, there could be a shift in future teachers' attitudes towards literature. Therefore, this paper explores the current attitudes of undergraduate students towards including literature in their future classes - with a view to potentially making some changes to literature modules included in undergraduate teacher training courses.
Keywords: literature, EFL teaching, teacher education, teacher training, language teaching
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