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Abilities and Cultural Understanding through Literature in the EFL Classroom: - A Literature Review
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The English language can be seen as a lingua franca of contemporary times. Its spread and

use in the globalized world has affected most levels of society and it can be argued that, in

current times, English is synonymous with communication. This need for communication

has shaped the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) syllabus, which is evident in the

Swedish national steering documents for the educational system. For the upper secondary

school these documents show an emphasis on communication, on cultural understanding,

and also on the use of literature within the EFL classroom.

The need to possess communicative abilities and cultural understanding, in connection

with the use of literature, has sparked an interest to investigate if and how literature itself

can be used as a tool to develop and improve EFL students’ communicative skills and

cultural understanding.

This literature review thesis analyzes five international research articles from different

geographical parts of the Globe. The findings are categorized, compared, synthesized, and

finally discussed in order to answer the research questions asked, and also compared with

the English subject syllabus for the Swedish upper secondary school.

The findings indicate that the analyzed articles share a consensus, to a varied degree,

regarding the positive aspects of literature use in the EFL setting. The arguments are that

communicative skills and cultural understanding are intertwined - enabling each other to

exist, develop, and improve. One cannot exist fully without the other, and literature is a

good tool to use to develop and improve these abilities. Literature can help develop all

skills needed to acquire and produce both written and spoken English, and it also enables

cultural understanding and a broadening of the mind. Where the articles differ somewhat is

in the ideas of why literature is a good tool, how to implement literature in the classrooms,

and what some of the negative aspects might be.

The thesis also brings the lack of Swedish studies within EFL to the readers’ attention,

as well as the need to do more research focusing on the students’ perspectives towards

literature use in the EFL setting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Literature, communicative abilities, communicative skills, cultural understanding, EFL.
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-19879OAI: diva2:866581
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03

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