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THE EFFECT OF LITERATURE COURSES ON ELT PROSPECTİVE TEACHERS

ÖZGE ORHON, HAMİDE TABANCA

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper was to exhibit how literature courses effects prospective teachers at English
teaching department. In this study, in order to collect the views of prospective teachers on the literature courses in their
curriculum, many students in English teaching department were interviewed by means of questionnaires.

Keywords: literature, English Language Teaching, prospective teachers’ view, Turkish universities

1. INTRODUCTION
Both spoken and written, language has variety of discourse types. Teachers choose one
or more among them and try to use it effectively to teach students foreign language. When we
consider literature and all types of it, literature plays a significant role in teaching various
aspects of language. Literature is consistent component of second language programs of the
appopriate level (Plastina, 1999). Apart from this, literature is also of importance to us to
learn about human nature, to learn about the human past and our own pasts, and to learn about
other cultures. In other words, it consist of great historical, intellectual and societal
importance.
However, literature doesn’t cover very high situation in education. Along with
technology and entering the new millenium, students tend to study on different subjects such
as; genetic, medical, engineering etc. Literature is getting more and more trivial subject
among students. Educators and specialists also have contribution to this declining. They don’t
give enough importance to literature courses. Eren (2004) suggests that for along time,
literature has not been included in the curriculum of teaching English since teaching a foreign
language has been regarded as a matter of linguistics. Educators also major on whether or not
literature sould be included in language and culture curricula, rather than how it can be
integrated fort he benefit of students (Carrolli, 2002).
The problem must be solved. Arıkan (2005) suggests that the place of literature in
English Language Teaching must be concretized so that classroom applications are projected
in a firm manner. Some research and careful examination are being done about the place of
literature in EFL context.But little is done for the prospective English language teachers’
view, whereas their perception can provide valuable information for the assesment and
redesigning procedures of the curricular development of the programs. (Arıkan, 2005). The
aim of this study, therefore, is to illustrate the necessity and effectiveness of literature courses
for prospective English language teacher and how beneficial the idea of them.

1.1. Literature Review


Many researches are done about the importance of literature courses and its effect on
our lives. Lots of articles have been written about them. When it is considered Arıkan’s article
as a sample, it is markedly seen that literature is necessary. Arda (2005) suggest that literature
courses must be taken as a serious component of prospective teacher education during their
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planning, implementation, and curricular development phases. What is more, Türker,


Widdowson, Carroli, Plastina also interpret their views of literature.
1.1. Aim
The main aim of this research is to see the views of prospective teachers about
literature courses and its influency. In addition to that, we want to learn the necessities,
cultural aspects of literature and its effects on the students’ feelings.
1.1. Research Questions
1) What are the necessities of literature courses for prospective teachers?
2) What are the cultural aspects of literature?
3) How do literature courses effects students’ feelings?

2. METHODS
2.1. Participants
The participants were 33 students who had taken literature courses offered at Hacettepe
University, Faculty of Education, ELT department. The ages of the participants consist of
both female and male students (29 females and 4 males).
2.1. The instrument
The main purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain a special kind of information, one data
collection instrument is used in this research. The data were collected through opinion survey
questionnaires conducted with 33 students, who were not previously interviewed. Questions
were asked to reflect participants’ experiences and ideas on their views of literature. Each
question consist of 5 options which students can answer (strongly agree, agree, not sure,
disagree, strongly disagree).
2.1. Data Analysis
The data obtained from this questionnaire were analyzed separately. This grouping
makes evolution easy. Only percentage was given in results, while findings were being
presented. The options of “strongly agree” and “agree” together with and “strongly disagree”
and “disagree” together with were evaluated. “Not sure” was taken separately.
3.FINDINGS
3.1. What are the necessities of literature courses?
As we see in picture1, most of the students who take part in this research (66%) find that
literature courses in ELT department is necessary and the minority of them (12%) find that it is not
required at all. Those who think that syllabus of literature is not appropriate for us, makes up 45% of
total respondents. Majority of students (78%) don’t like literature so they claim that they take this
course just for passing the class. What is more they don’t think they will use literary works in their
daily lives. On the other side, students (30%) can’t make decision about sufficiency in literature
courses. When we look at the 24th question we find an interesting results which students answer for
each option are equal (33%).
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Picture 1

AGREE %

DISAGREE %
NOT SURE &
It is needed to take literature courses in ELT department. 66 12 18

My friends think that literature lessons are not required at all. 60 27 12

30 24 45
The syllabus of literature is enough for ELT department.

I take in literature courses just for passing the class. 75 9 15

33 33 33
24. To contrast with the other lesson, I study literature more willingly

3.2. What are the cultural aspects of literature?


When we look at picture 2, 72% of the students find that literary works can improve
their cultural knowledge and 9% of the students both neutral and disagree for this decision.
Most of the students (60%) don’t like go out for literary displays (theatre, opera, museum,
recitals) and 45% don’t find reading the novels boring.
Picture 2
NOT SURE &
AGREE %

DISAGREE %

72 18 9
I enjoy while reading the famous authors’ work.

81 9 9
Literary works can improve our cultural knowledge.

I often go to theatre, opera, museum, recitals etc. 30 9 60


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42 12 45

Reading the novels makes me bored.


3.3. How do literature courses effects students’ feelings?
For the respondents, literature courses effects on students’ feelings are them negatively. The
72% of the students don’t get pleasure from fixed syllabus of literature and literature courses
are not appealing to them (63%). What is more, the 18% of the students don’t study literature
more willingly to contrast with the other lesson and 21% of the students don’t like
participating in literature courses.
Picture 3

NOT SURE &


AGREE %

DISAGREE %
72 12 15
In literature lessons, I don’t get pleasure from fixed syllabus.

63 15 21

Literature courses are not appealing to me.

. 21 18 60
I like to participate in literature courses.

2. DISCUSSION and CONCLUSION


Data gathered from prospective teachers shows us that literature takes important place in
our life and this is proved with this questionnaire. Majority of students like literary work and
enjoy with it. However, literary works given in courses don’t appeal to them. They don’t find
it sufficient and find this course in syllabus compulsory. They take it just for passing the class.
Fixed subjects are not necessary for their daily life. They want to learn therefore naturally.

Literature courses’ importance can’t be denied. But many students don’t share this idea so
some suggestions must be given. Literature shouldn’t be seen as a monotonous courses. It
should become more attractive. Students must find it very enjoyable, appealing and
interesting while teacher are given this course. Teachers should avoid fixed subjects and
create non-threatening atmosphere in class.
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