Educational Perspectives

  • Geoff. Hall
Part of the Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics book series (RPAL)


This chapter deals with research into literature in education, under four headings: curriculum and syllabus; assessment; literature in the classroom; and literature and intercultural education. As we have seen in Part 1, a key question in teaching literature has always been: which texts to study, in which order, and what the rationale for the use of literature in education might be. This has tended to be a particularly acute problem for the second language classroom, where the desire to provide motivating material for an individual lesson (the ‘springboard’ cliché) often seems to override longer-term curricular views, one text following another with possibly thematic coherence, but little obvious or thought through justification in terms of developing language proficiency and/ or literary competence. Thus Brumfit (1981), in an early but still largely unrealised proposal, argues for a more conscious and principled approach to literature use in language classrooms, with sequencing decisions to be based on considerations such as:
  • linguistic level;

  • cultural level;

  • length;

  • pedagogical role (linked themes would be included here);

  • genre representation (not just short stories!);

  • classic status or relevance (could be a motivating factor).


Language Teaching National Curriculum Literary Work Literary Text Literature Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Further reading

L2 literature syllabuses

  1. Brumfit and Benton (1992).Google Scholar

Literature in classrooms

  1. Nystrand and Gamoran (1991): how to research the extent to which a literature lesson (L1) is ‘working’ by studying classroom interaction.Google Scholar
  2. Isaac (2002): ESL students discuss value of literary cloze exercises for their language and literature learning.Google Scholar


  1. Brumfit (1991).Google Scholar
  2. Alderson (2000).Google Scholar
  3. Carter and Long (1990).Google Scholar
  4. Henning (1992).Google Scholar
  5. Spiro (in Brumfit 1991).Google Scholar

Literature and culture

  1. MacDonald (2000) reports overseas learners in the UK exploring their own changing identities and beliefs through literature as part of their English programme in a Scottish university.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoff Hall 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoff. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Applied Language StudiesUniversity of Wales SwanseaUK

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