Prepared by the researcher
Abdelrahman Mohammedain Abdelrahman Ahmed – Associate Professor of English literature –University of El Imam El Mahdi- Sudan
Dr. Mahmoud Abbas Ibrahim Hassan, – Assistant professor, English Language Department , Majmmah University –
Dr. Mahdi Hamad Elballa Hamad – Assistant professor -University of El imam EL Mahdi
Democratic Arab Center
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Thirteenth Issue – May 2022
A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin.
:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link
This study aims to probe the methods, techniques and the approaches that English language teachers used at Sudanese secondary school to teach literature; to how they should approach it. It investigates how teachers approach literature teaching, what they think about teaching literature, and what are the difficulties that they face when teaching. An interview for secondary school teachers and questionnaire for secondary school students were adopted as an instrumentation in Kosti, Rabak Elgazeera Aaba and Khartoum. The interview was analysed using Context Analysis whereas the questionnaire was analyzed using (SPSS) the statistical Package for Social Science. Teachers do not used any approach in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools. Teachers own way of teaching literature doesn’t enable them to achieve the objectives of teaching it. Lack of training and specialization result in disastrous result in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
Literary texts are used as additional passages at Sudanese secondary schools. They have given many contributions to increase students’ achievement such as critical and creative thinking, motivation, enjoyment, expressing own standpoints and so on.
Mustafa Erdem, (2015p:46) A number of researches have been conducted to find the best methods and techniques to teach foreign languages in the most effective way. Therefore, teaching methods have been changing with the new findings over time and alternative and sophisticated methods are being used.
A lot of experts, teachers, and researchers have introduced some of the issues, concerns, and approaches of teaching English literature at Sudanese secondary schools and elsewhere in the world. Proper approaches are needed to be implemented by secondary school teacher at basic and secondary schools in Sudan so as to achieve the objectives of teaching literature.
(Sandra Miriam Rodrigues Correia (2011p:3)In teaching a literary text, teachers need to be prepared to use several approaches in the classroom, so that students have the opportunity to work with the text, feeling prepared and ready to use strategies to understand its meaning. To achieve such thing, teachers should have personal knowledge of literary works which is important in order to give that awareness to students. Despite this, teachers have to adjust their information to students’ level and work on themes that can make them get so enthusiastic that they will discuss it freely. The purpose is to teach values and give students competences in several areas that will be useful in the present time and in the future. So the way that English language teacher teach literature should enable them to achieve the objectives of teaching it via using different approaches and techniques.
Oleh (2012 P:109) it is important to know the distinction between study of literature and the use of literature as a resource for language teaching. This idea should be understood by the teachers who teach English literature at the Sudanese secondary school. They have differentiated them which focus on what kind of competence or skills of the students will be expected in the language teaching. The way literary texts is taught should make literature itself as the content or subject of a language course, while the use of literature as resource draws on literature as one source among many different kinds of texts for promoting interesting language activities.
The main and ultimate role of teaching literature should not be compared with reading comprehension. But, it is basically aimed at developing the ‘literary competence’ of the students, while use of literature may not aim to develop ‘literary competence’ of the students but it is possible that the students will begin to acquire that competence through their exposure to literary texts. The use of literature helps students to sensitize the students’ literacy discourses3, develop in readers a lifelong interest in and appreciation 4 and develop students’ awareness of language use, and this awareness spurts their affective and experiential achievement that will motivate them to read on.
Instruction in suitable teaching methods at all levels of teacher training as well as at workshops for in-service teachers, and 4) the introduction of new texts at all levels of language instruction enable the teachers at Sudanese secondary schools to achieve the objectives behind teaching literature.
The Statement of the Problem
The basic aim of the study is probe how English literature is taught at secondary schools in Sudan. According to the researchers’ observation as English language teachers, English literature is not taught properly and not in accordance with the way it is taught at Sudanese secondary schools. A lot of challenges that face English language teachers such as ; teacher are not specialized in literature so they are not qualified enough to teach literature, they are not trained enough to teach literature and the materials which are taught are not satisfactory; the learner are not exposed to the real sources which led to disastrous results. So the students outcomes are very week with now development in critical thinking. The approaches and techniques which are used in teaching literature do not help the students to develop their critical thing of what they have read at the same time they don’t help them to appreciate and evaluate what they have read.
The expected outcomes of the students who have studied literature is to be able to share other with their own standpoints of what they have read, to be provided with aesthetic , intellectual, and emotional pleasure , to express personal opinion reaction and feeling. Moreover, it is expected to enhance the students’ proficiency. Students should have to get a certain impression of what they have read.
So The selection of literature and the way that it is presented to students in the classroom is also very important.
The Questions of the Study
This Study Aims to Answer the Following Questions
- What are the approaches which used by Sudanese secondary schools teachers in teaching literature?
- To what extent do the approaches and techniques which are used in teaching literature develop secondary school students’ critical thinking?
- What are some common difficulties that face teachers when teaching literature?
The Hypotheses of the Study
This Study Aims to verify the Following Hypotheses
- Sudanese secondary schools teachers do not used any approach in teaching literature in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
- Teachers own way of teaching literature do not enable them to achieved the objectives of teaching it.
- Lack of training and specialization results in disastrous result in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
The Objectives of the Study
This Study aims to achieve the Following Objectives
- To investigate the approaches which are used by Sudanese secondary schools teachers in teaching literature?
- To probe the way English literature is taught at the Sudanese secondary schools.
- To trace the impact of the Lack of training and specialization on teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
Historical Background about Teaching Literature in the Sudan
Literary texts are taught as additional passages at Sudanese secondary schools to enhance students’ proficiency in English language. Although there were a lot of approaches which could be used in teaching literate but the teacher used information based approach in which teachers think that teaching literature should enable students to get information about the text without enabling them to develop critical thinking of the texts that they read . Also teachers used language based approach in which literature should be understood via the text itself.
Mohamed Ahmed Ali (2001 p:7-10) literature first appeared for the fourth year intermediate students. It was reading lesson in witch no approaches was applied. The students at this level used to read as far as Reader VI. In the first year secondary some schools start with reader VII and the corresponding supplementary Readers.
Other schools introduce simplified works instead of Readers.
The literature was taught through dividing the lesson into three or four sections depending on the length of the piece concerned. Each section is read by the teacher and the students alternatively. After each reading, the teacher asks mainly factual questions to check the students’ comprehension.
During the whole year only two are read from the Readers or the simplified books. (Abdelrasol, 1976:54).
He further adds, in the second year secondary the Readers and their corresponding supplementary were discontinued at the beginning of this level the students study simplified works in their literature class. In the second or third term (the schools year is three terms) the Longman’s essential series was introduced. Books in this series were only edited and simplified. Representative titles were Rajah’s Diamond and country of the Blind. The number of books were read do not exceed four. The goal deal aimed at in the second year was to make the students read a great deal by themselves outside the class. The students were encouraged to read and a class library reading period is allotted for this purpose.
Though this lesson has its formal aspect, the teacher being present to direct it and answer questions, the students are not examined in these books or in this reading.
In third year secondary the transition from simplified to abridged books was supposed to take place. The syllabus of third year includes books like: Animal farm (abridged) and the Moonstere (Hutchinson abridged). However instead of reading these abridged books the students in third year are introduced to the non-simplified texts of fourth year. In fact the texts of fourth year are the set books for the Sudan school Certificate Examination. Hence the school certificate syllabus is taught in Third Year and Fourth Year. The Sudan School Certificate syllabus of literature consists of two sections A and B. section A contains plays and poems, section B is novels. The material of the two sections in non-simplified or unabridged terms are changed from year to another. The substitution observes strictly the historical period of each item i.e. a work of the romantic period is always replaced. By another, work of the same period Shakespeare’s plays appear yearly (Abdelrasol,l976:55)
The Sudan School Certificate Examination has been linked up since 1937 with Cambridge School Certificate Examination. It is true that this association has given certain valuable advantages. It enabled Sudanese students to take an internationally recognized examination with high standards.
Also in the past it ensured a high standard in English language. However, with all its obvious advantages the examination was planned originally and essentially for a different social and cultural background and its syllabus and standards have not adopted the new needs and special conditions of the Sudan. Conditions have changed radically since 1956. The country has attained its independence and it must according evolve a system of education which will train people to shoulder their new responsibilities meaningfully and worthily. Fortunately the first step in this direction was taken in the establishment of the Sudan Examination Council. This body operating in collaboration with the Cambridge syndicate, has introduced a special Sudan version of the overseas Examination. As a result certain minor adjustment have been made from time to time in the English syllabus
However, There were major changes in the school curriculum as a whole made by the Sudan Examination Council. These seriously affected the English language and literature program. First of all there was grouping of subjects in the Sudan Certificate Examination. The consequence of this is that English literature once compulsory and main source of linguistic strength competes on unfavourable terms with Islamic Religious knowledge. Secondly, there was Arabicisation of the subjects that were taught in English. The medium of instruction became Arabic instead of English in 1965. Finally, it is no longer a requirement to have a pass in English in order to get this certificate though a failure in English disqualifies applicant for admission university.
Regarding the 1980s, Mohamed (2009:1) Stated that the significance of literature in the development of English language is very crucial, because it creates the sense of competition among the learners in terms of developing vocabulary reading skills and spoken skills. He added that “While we were in the intermediate schools in the 1980s we used to keep and memorize the whole chapter of Kidnap and Jane Eyre. And some of the words I got from those books are still in my memory as unforgettable words because they are related to certain events in the stories.
He also says that the books of literature stepped to forward in secondary schools in length and width in other words in their contents and goals. Therefore we were asked to read a book (e.g. Cry the beloved country, Arms and the Man) during a week then we represent it in the class. That it was a real challenge for the students to develop their skills. However, in the 1990s the English literature was excluded from the syllabus of English language in Sudan which led to a great damage in the standard of English language (Mohamed, 2OO9:2) .All in all we can say that there aren’t any other builders for English language palace except the literary books. So why do wait ? We have to invite them to participate now.
Different approaches of teaching literature
There are a lot of approaches and techniques which are used to teach literature. These approaches are used differently according to the objectives of the teaching that are needed to be achieved. But Sudanese Ministry of Education does not adopt specific approach because it deals with literary texts that are taught as reading text not as literary texts.
Lorena Giuria(2015p:4-5)There are of course different theories and methods for teaching literature that are based on different conceptions of literature.
The transmission theory is based on the traditional conception of literature: the teacher presents the facts about the text studied and the students learn mechanically to reproduce these facts. This theory is most effective for a test-driven educational practice, and therefore still in use, but it is highly criticized. Recent studies conducted in Asian countries show the disadvantages of an approach where the teaching of English literature merely consists in the teacher presenting, explaining, translating, analyzing, summarizing etc. the text while the students listen passively (Hwang & Embi, 2007; Yimwilai, 2015).
The study conducted by Hwang and Embi in Malaysia (2007) clearly shows that the students are not motivated in their learning and development when their literary studies are limited to repeating what the teacher said about a text: in this way literature becomes a futile exercise with the only effect of discouraging students from reading. According to the student-centered theory, it is the students who have all the responsibility for their learning; the students can choose the material and the way to work with it that suits them best. The critique against this type of approach is that there is no social growth in this method and the learning is limited to the students’ experiences. Finally, the socio-cultural theory lays on Vygotsky’s vision of learning as a social practice. The students learn from each other and develop their knowledge and ways of thinking. In literary studies it can enhance their ability of using different critical lenses and be open to others’ interpretation.
Gabriella Lengyel (1975p:9) Methods of teaching literature in foreign-language classes have not been given due attention in scientific research and hence in teacher training. This is what has been happening English literature begun to be taught in Sudan. Most practice teachers of foreign languages are expected to teach reading material with special attention to new grammatical devices and new lexical items. Those who feel that a passage requires special treatment borrow categories and methods of literary analysis from their teachers at the university level. Discouraged by the poor results, however, some of them use the literary pieces to practice translation; or they teach new grammatical devices and lexical items but read and discuss the passage in the stu- dents’ native language. Again, others read the passage in the original language but discuss it in the students’ native language. (In my experience, there is nothing more discouraging and ineffectual than the continuous alternation between the native lan- guage and the target languages, and I shun this practice like the plague and encourage practice teachers under my supervision to do likewise.)
The number of class meetings per week as well as the students’ future needs should decide what kind of material should be used; i.e., whether we should employ lessons written by applied linguists and language teachers or introduce expository prose and literature first in the broad and later in the belletristic sense. Since I do not think that literature belongs to the curricula of other than special foreign-language classes* my proposed selection of material is meant for them
An approach, according to Anthony (1963), was “a set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language, learning and teaching”. Brown
(2001) defines approach as “theoretically well-informed positions and beliefs about the nature of language, the nature of language learning and the applicability of both to pedagogical settings”. Moody (1983) cited by Diana
Hwang & Amin Embi (2007) explains that the importance of an approach is to “provide a framework, or sequence of operations to be used when we come to actualities”. Based on the definitions above, it is clear that an approach will influence teaching strategies. There are many approaches that can be employed to teach literature to below average group such as the information-based approach, language-based approach, personal response approach, paraphrastic approach and moral-philosophical approach. Stylistic approach is excluded in this research as learners require a degree of language competence even before they participate in learning using the approach and therefore it is more likely to cater for intermediate and advance learners and not applicable for less proficient group.
This approach is closely related to the Language Model presented by Carter and Long (1991) where literary texts are seen as means to helping students’ improve language proficiency. This is done by providing them exposure to the target language and connecting them to specific vocabulary and other aspects of the language. A. Maley and Duff (1990) insist that the primary aim of this approach is “quite simply to use literary texts as a resource for stimulating language activities”. With the use of language-based approaches, the focus shifted to the learner, the reading process and creating language awareness in the learners (Too Wei Keong 2007). In line with this approach, a language-based framework for reading literary texts is proposed by McRae (1991) and McRae and Vethamani (1999) which moves from lexis (vocabulary), syntax (sentences) to coherence (discourse). It also focuses on phonology (sounds), graphology (visual effect of the text), semantics (meaning), dialect (variations of standard English), register (tone), period (archaisms) and function (message in the text).
Paraphrastic approach which deals with the surface meaning of the text. It allows teachers to use simpler words and sentence structures compared to the more complicated ones in the texts and sometimes the teacher can translate it into other languages. It can be used for beginners of the target language because it gives information about the writer’s original idea.
The Information-based approach is an approach that demands a large input from the teacher. It describes the study of literature as “aesthetically patterned artifact endowed with the knowledge potentials philosophy, culture, morality, and humanities” (Ganakumaran 2007:2). Carter and Long (1991) further argue that it involves critical concepts, literary conventions and metalanguage and the students should be able to use such terms and concepts in talking and writing about literature. This approach is a way of teaching knowledge about literature where literature is seen as a medium to offer a source of information to students (Carter 1988).
The Personal-response approach is an approach which aims is to extract personal response and foster students’ personal development. It focuses on learner’s response to the author’s text. The learners would respond to what they think are the author’s intentions and what are the meanings that could be derived from the text.
The Moral-philosophical approach is an approach which incorporates moral values across curriculum. It concentrate on revealing the ethical and moral values while reading a particular literary text. It seeks to answerer questions such as what are the moral and philosophical considerations behind what students read in literary texts. Moral values such as being independent, being honest, being grateful, and respecting others are not intended to be taught by the Sudanese Minster of Education .but teaching literature to them is to increase students’ proficiency in English language just like aims of reading comprehension.
This article was conducted by Oleh (2012) entitled.’ Technique in Teaching Literature it aimed to explore a particular technique in literature classroom.
Literature is a content subject and compulsory subject, such as: poetry, prose, drama, etc. which give for the college students who take course in English language education. The paper focuses on using small group discussion technique included pre-discussion activities, whilst-discussion activities, and post discussion activities and how to implement them in teaching English poetry for the EFL/ESL students of English language education program. The study found out that this technique of small group of discussion might help students in improving their poetry comprehension and motivating them to learn literary subject especially poetry. It is a good study which takes an essential issue in teaching literature which is teaching poetry.
This another study was conducted by Siti Salina Mustakim , Ramlee Mustapha , Othman Lebar  under the title “Teacher’s Approaches in Teaching Literature” The study aimed to identify the approaches employed by teachers in teaching Contemporary Children’s Literature program to upper primary school. Using classroom observations and interview as research instruments, this paper evaluates the approaches of five ESL teachers teaching Year 5 students and examines the various challenges faced by them in the teaching of literature. Preliminary findings on the approaches revealed that the incorporation of literary elements in the classroom was minimal. Teachers were lacked creativity and fully utilized the modules provided by the Curriculum Development Centre. The Pre, While and Post-Reading was not employed effectively due to the lack of textbook provided by the school. Nevertheless, the program provides great potential for enhancing students’ language learning in the classroom. This study contributes to the field of curriculum and pedagogy for authentic learning from the evaluation of teachers’ approaches in the classroom learning.
Radzuwan Ab. Rashid and Malachi Edwin Vethamani (2010). This study aimed to identify the approaches and strategies employed by teachers in teaching the literature component to less proficient students in Forms 1 and 2 in selected secondary schools in Kelantan, Malaysia. The study was conducted in 18 rural schools. Triangulation involving the questionnaire as the primary data and classroom observation and semi-structured interview as the secondary data was used. Findings show that the information-based approach is popularly employed by teachers, followed by moral-philosophical approach and paraphrastic approach. The findings indicate that the teaching approach is influenced by the students’ inability to comprehend English language which forces teachers to spoon feed the students and use the students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction. The implication is that literature teaching with the aims of developing students’ language and thinking skills and generating students’ personal response and appreciation may not be achieved.
The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. It used a mode of triangulation whereby data collection and information were based on a questionnaire as the primary instrument, and classroom observation and semi structured interview as secondary instruments.
Location of the Study
The study was conducted in 15 secondary schools in Wite Nile State.
Three target groups were adopted in this research. Group one was English Language teachers who taught English language literature for the first time. The second group were the teachers who were not specialized in English language less-proficient students and the third group were teachers who have experience of teaching English. The teachers were selected randomly to be observed and interviewed. The second targeted group was the less-proficient teachers
Two questionnaires were designed to collect the data. The first questionnaire was distributed to the 20 teachers who teach English literature at Kosti Aljazeera Aba secondary school. This questionnaire consisted of agree, disagree and neutral items. Another questionnaires were distributed to the students who study English literature at White Nile secondary Schools in Rabak and Kosti. To get their feedback on the way literature is taught to them as well as their impression about this approach and strategies employed by the teacher. This questionnaire consisted of Yes-No items to give them a chance to express their opinion and suggestions on matters related to the research topic.
The interview questions for teachers were categorized and coded into a few constructs statements to extract information about the different approaches that were used to teach English literature. The questionnaire were analyzed and interpreted.
The questions of the interview for the students were written in simple language. it is structured to be answered by yes or no. It aims to extract information about students’ feelings towards the approach employed by their teachers, their evaluation on the effectiveness of the approach employed, and their suggestions on how literature should be taught in class.
Analysis and the Discussions of the Study:
The study required quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Descriptive statistical analysis was adopted for the quantitative data which is the teachers’ questionnaire. The Statistical Pages for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyse the student’s. The teachers and the students’ interview were analysed by using textual analysis method to draw appropriate conclusions and interpretations.
Hypothesis (1): Personal Response Approach.
All statements expressing the first hypothesis (Personal Response Approach) are higher than the standard mean (3). This result indicates that the sample membersagree on all the expressions expressing the hypothesis.
And the most important of the terms of the hypothesis is the term (I encourage students to express feeling towards the issues raised in the text) with a relative importance of 97%, where the average responses of the sample on the words (4.60, and the relative importance of 92%. This indicates that the sample respondents agree with all the statements that measure the first hypothesis with a standard deviation (0.83), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ responses to these terms.
Hypothesis (2) :): Moral-Philosophical Approach
All statements that reflect the second hypothesis for an average of more than the standard mean (3). This result indicates the approval of the sample on all statements that reflect the hypothesis.
And the most important words of the hypothesis phrases are the words (I help students to search moral values from a text experiences) relative importance amounted to 94%, with the average answers to the sample on the ferry (4.76) whereas the average of all phrases (4.57), and the relative importance amounted to 91%, and this shows that members of the sample agree on all terms that measure the second hypothesis, with a standard deviation (0.90), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ answers to these phrases.
Hypothesis (3): Information-Based Approach
All statements that reflect the third hypothesis for an average of more than the standard mean (3). This result indicates the approval of the sample on all statements. The most important words of the hypothesis phrases are the words (I ask questions to check students’ knowledge based on what they have read) relative importance amounted to 94%, with the average answers to the sample on the ferry (4.80) and standard deviation (0.26). as the average of all phrases (4.45), and the relative importance amounted to 91%, and this shows that members of the sample agree on all terms that measure the third hypothesis, with a standard deviation (0.69), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ answers to these phrases.
All statements expressing the four hypotheses are higher than the standard mean (3). This result indicates that the sample members agree on all the expressions The most important of the terms of the hypothesis is the term (I set simple language activities in literature lesson and generate language practice using the text) with a relative importance of 97%, where the average responses of the sample on the words (4.40) and standard deviation (0.88).
3-The average of all expressions (4.37) and the relative importance of 92%. This indicates that the sample respondents agree with all the statements that measure the first hypothesis with a standard deviation (0.74), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ responses to these terms.
Hypothesis (5): (Praphrasic Approach):
All statements that reflect the fifth hypothesis for an average of more than the standard mean (3). This result indicates the approval of the sample on all statements. The most important words of the hypothesis phrases are the words (I explain figurative and ambiguous language used in simple words) relative importance amounted to 94%, with the average answers to the sample on the ferry (4.65) and standard deviation (0.50).
As the average of all phrases (4.42), and the relative importance amounted to 91%, and this shows that members of the sample agree on all terms that measure the second hypothesis, with a standard deviation (0.80), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ answers to these phrases.
The Analysis of the Teacher’s Interview
The following are the questions of the interview for secondary school teachers who teach literature:
1-What are the approaches which are used by Sudanese secondary schools teachers in teaching literature?
The answers of this question reveal that Sudanese secondary school teachers who teach literature at secondary school do not use specific approach in teaching literature. Some of them have no idea about the way that literature taught.
2- To what extent do the approaches and techniques which are used in teaching literature develop secondary school students’ critical thinking?
The answers of this question reveal that Sudanese secondary school teachers who teach literature at secondary school some teachers have idea about how literature is taught. But the methods that they use don’t develop the critical thinking.
3- What are some common difficulties that face teachers when teaching literature?
The lack of training and specialization is the most important factors that render teaching literature at Sudanese secondary school.
According to the above analysis and the discussions of the hypotheses of the study we concluded and arrived at: Sudanese secondary schools teachers don’t used any approach in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
Teachers own way of teaching literature doesn’t enable them to achieve the objectives of teaching it.
Lack of training and specialization results in disastrous result in teaching literature at Sudanese secondary schools.
- Centre for Arts, Humanities and Sciences (CAHS), acting on behalf of the University ofDebrecen CAHS.
- Gabriella Lengyel(1975) The Role of Literature in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Source: Angol Filológiai Tanulmányok / Hungarian Studies in English, Vol. 9 (1975), pp. 59-70 Published by: Centre for Arts, Humanities and Sciences (CAHS), acting on behalf of theUniversity of Debrecen CAHS.
- Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41273703
- Accessed: 13-10-2018 09:16 UTC
- Lorena Giuria(2015)Teaching Literature in the ESL Classroom; A Qualitative Study on Teachers’ Views of Literature in an Upper Secondary School Environment in Southern Sweden.
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|Siti Salina Mustakim , Ramlee Mustapha , Othman Lebar  ( )Teacher’s Approaches in Teaching Literature: Observations of ESL Classroom.|
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- Radzuwan Ab. Rashid and Malachi Edwin Vethamani (2010) Approaches Employed by Teachers in Teaching Literature to Less Proficient Students in Form 1 and Form 2, Vol. 3, No. 4;