English literature discussion in EFL undergraduate literature course

Year: 2012

Author: Panyasi, Suphinya

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:

The purpose of this research is to improve the quality and quantity of target language use in undergraduate English literature course in EFL contexts of Thailand.  Although it is a common practice to use English as a medium of instruction in English language courses in higher education in Thailand, students struggle to understand the reading and are often reluctant to participate in class activities in English and prefer to use Thai.

It is expected that a reader-response based approach to the teaching and learning of literature  will enhance students' literary knowledge, target language use in the classroom and the independence of learners beyond the classroom. This research explores the effects of literature discussion on students' language outcomes both in term of the quality of contents and the quantity in interactivity. It also investigates the students' opinions towards learning experiences in classroom and the teachers' disposition towards the students' learning as well as their own professional learning. The research will be contributing to the knowledge base around classroom interactions in EFL contexts and it will inform the development of a teaching and learning model for EFL literature classes in Thailand. The research will help extend the scope of communicative language teaching into literature-based classrooms by offering opportunity for meaningful language use.

The research is based on an ongoing action research project. The study is located in two universities in Thailand which represent two different streams of students: one with English as a medium of instruction and another with Thai as a medium of instruction. They also represent different genres of literary texts: prose and poetry.  Data on the implementation and evaluation of a communicative student-student interaction model based on reader-response theories and literature circle discussions is collected from four teachers and four undergraduate literature classrooms (20-22 year old age group) over a three-month period. Data collection methods include classroom observation, student questionnaires, teacher semi-structured interviews, diary entries by students and teachers, and document research. Student questionnaires and teacher interviews are collected twice: once at the beginning of the semester and again at the end of the semester. Classroom observation and diary entries are ongoing process during the semester. The data analysis applies tools drawn from discourse analysis and thematic analysis. The presentation will highlight the initial data analysis results so far from the classroom observation and class discussion.

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