Literature is the mirror of society. It depicts life. It is an artistic expression of surroundings and situations in written, sung or spoken form.
The word literature originated from Latin word ‘Literatura or Littera’ which means letter or handwriting.
In its broadest sense, It is any single body of written works. Literature is writing considered to be an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.
The literature can be classified in fiction or nonfiction. It can also be classified as Prose, poetry and drama.
There can be two distinct purposes of teaching literature.
1. Linguistic purposes
2. Thematic purposes
In linguistic purposes of teaching literature, we can enlist certain prominent language components.
1. LSRW- Listening, speaking, reading and writing
2. Phonetics, Phonemics, Semantics, Morphology, syntax, Rhetoric, Poetic devices, diction, Grammar, lexicon, Rhythm and Meter
3. Literary forms like prose, poetry and drama
In thematic purposes of teaching literature, some of them are:
1. Cultural values and legacy
2. Expanding horizons of learning, knowledge and understanding
3. Enhancement of critical thinking and appreciation
4. Delight and celebration
5. Creative and constructive expression
6. Helps in making of man with IQ an EQ
Methods of Teaching
4. Classroom discussion
6. Classroom action research and many more
Teaching literature to students
Literature portrays life. Life is enormously abundant in variegated and multicolored situations, experiences and occurrences. To define or present such heterogeneous and stereotype literature to learners in closed chamber and insufficient time is no less than an adventure. It requires proper planning, prowess and preparation.
It also warrants the teacher to be well acquainted with four important factors:
1. Whom to teach
2. What to teach
3. How to teach and
4. Where to teach
To make literature teaching convenient and congenial in classroom, some strategies can be followed.
· Ask children to understand every word written in a text.
· Ask children to derive meaning from context as they read,
· Ask children to always read closely and analytically.
· Allow children to feel free to read against a text.
· Encourage children to see their reading of literature as a source of questions to think about rather than answers to accept.
· Ask children to parrot the responses or interpretations of other people, particularly those with authority over them, to prove that they understood the “right” things about a book they read.
· Encourage children to have their own ideas about what they read.
· Encourage children to exchange their viewpoints with others and respect the differences.
· Provide children with diverse experiences of literature.
· Help children to read with an awareness of ideological implications, that is, of the ways in which texts represent or misrepresent reality and work to manipulate readers.
Few citations about teaching literature
1. Children are naturally capable of taking pleasure in what they read.
2. Readers are made, not born (Chambers, 1983, p. 30).
3. Literature is more experienced than taught (Glazer, 1986, p. 51).
4. Critical analysis of literature somehow destroys pleasure in it.
5. Many people don’t focus their teaching of literature on the enhancement of pleasure because they believe that pleasure is private, too dependent on individual tastes and feelings to be taught (Nodelman & Reimer, 2003, p. 32).
6. Literature must be discussed. It is only by discussing with others who have experienced a book that new meaning can be effectively constructed (Bicknell, p. 45).
7. Children need teachers to demonstrate how to enter into and explore the world of literature, just as children learning language need adults who show them how the language functions in the everyday world (Peterson & Eeds, 1990, p. 12).
Some more important strategies
1. Use of media and technology
To sum up literature teaching to the students, the famous quote of Mathew Arnold is worth mentioning.
He aptly and appropriately says that, ‘It starts with delights and ends with wisdom’.