Teaching English Literature and Critical Thinking, beyond just Language Acquisition

  • Received : 2010.10.12
  • Published : 2010.12.30

Abstract

This study suggests that English literature educators need to be eclectic and flexible in applying theories and methods, not simply adhering to one or two for all situations and occasions. They need to be available to go with the flow and particularly employ whatever is needed at any given moment of class time. There is a current trend emphasizing English literature as merely a language resource rather than the study of English literature as an end in itself. Without much attention given to literary analysis and criticism, students tend to lack creative and critical thinking abilities. Given the current imbalance, it would seem important to address the issue, and create English class programs that maintain a balance between teaching the study of English literature to improve students' critical thinking abilities, and its use as a language resource. To fulfill this goal, thorough preparation is required. Indeed, we can direct our intelligence more effectively when we are well prepared and we are familiar with the basic methods and mechanics of teaching our subject. The greatest achievement of the English literature class I taught was that the students showed unexpectedly remarkable creative and critical appreciation of the novel we studied, in addition to improving their English language skills.