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Communicative and Critical English Learning through Literature

Communicative and Critical English Learning through Literature
Park, Minjin
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외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Warren Euwon Chung
There has been a movement to learn English through literature to improve the four skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In the Korean EFL situation, however, most students are taught English through textbooks and deductive grammar books, memorizing the vocabulary, grammar and sentence structures from the text. Not surprisingly, most texts are inauthentic and boring. In addition, in public high school, since the allotted time for each class is 50 minutes, the Grammar Translation Method (GTM) is mainly used within such constraints and it seems not to be enough to let students practice and produce what they learn. Because of this, even though Korean students spend a lot of money and time on English classes inside and outside of school, their English communicative competence is not well developed. In particular, productive skills such as speaking and writing are relatively deficient compared to those for reading and listening. Moreover, because of the washback effect of the CSAT, Korean students are not fully exposed to communicative activities such as critical discussion and writing. For these reasons, in 2007, the Korean Ministry of Education started to change the curriculum by emphasizing English proficiency for communication (KICE, 2007). Indeed, the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) has been criticized for not testing students’ ability to speak and write English, instead focusing on memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules. The Korean Ministry of Education planned to replace the CSAT which is the current English-language test with the National English Ability Test (NEAT) by 2018 at the latest, believing that it could be improve students’ English-speaking proficiency levels. (June, 13th, 2013, Korean Joongang Daily) From these perspectives, this textbook focuses on learning English through graded readers and improving the four skills, critical discussion, and writing. According to Lazar (2010), using literature in the EFL class helps students develop interpretative skills, expands their language awareness, and gives them opportunities to express what they think and feel (pp. 14-15). Additionally, he says that “literature can provide students with access to the culture of the people whose language they are studying.” (p. 16). Brown (2000) also argues that learning a second language also means learning a second culture (p. 182). As many English educators believe, literature is a beneficial source to encourage students to think and show their ideas and feelings. Since the graded readers contain simplified versions of literary works, they can help language learners understand what is written in the book (Clandfield & Budden, 2011). Therefore, in this textbook, instead of original works of literature, graded readers are used. The target students are a group of second year Korean high school students taking an after school class during summer or winter vacation. Their proficiency level is pre-intermediate (ACTFL), and they hope to develop not only receptive but also productive skills. Their ultimate goal is to be confident about expressing what they think communicatively and improving their critical thinking abilities when they have an interview or writing test for college entrance examinations. This intensive after school class meets for four-five weeks during school holidays and is conducted for four hours a day from Monday to Thursday. One different graded reader is used every week. The first graded reader is Gulliver’s Travels and aims to have the students improve the four language skills critically and communicatively. Through each country’s depiction in the story, the author meant to raise awareness of social issues such as social class, corrupt government, education inflation, and negative human nature in general. This book contains 1400 headwords and the appropriate level is pre-intermediate according to ACTFL.
석사학위를 수여받기 위해 제출된 포트폴리오임;☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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