Malaysian Ministry Of Education Introducing The Literature Component Education Essay
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In the case of second or foreign language teaching and learning, literature has been widely accepted as a motivating material, a medium of accessing other cultural background, a resource for language acquisition and a medium to expand learners' language awareness (Abdullah Et al, 2007). According to Elliot (1991) over the last few years there are positive feedbacks to using literature in a language context or at least has been a medium to expose language learners to a new world.. It is different from previous perceptions towards literature whereby literature was thought to embody archaic language which had no place in the world of audiolingualism where linguists believed in the primacy of speech, thus considering the written form somewhat static, (Elliot, 1991)
In Malaysia, the Ministry of Education had decided to introduce Literature Component as a part of English syllabus in schools in the year of 2000. Hence, students from primary and secondary schools are required to learn literature together with other existing subjects in schools. The Ministry of Education has come out with a list of literary texts which cover Malaysian, British, European, Australian, American and African works. After ten years using the same texts, the government has changed the list of literary text with a complete new list for KBSM in 2010.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY.
Teachers play important role in assuring all the objectives that are stated in the Curriculum Specification can be achieved by all students. The learning outcomes provided by the Ministry of Education to be the guidelines in teaching. However, it would be difficult to suddenly expose students to literary studies without any form of prior preparation (Talif, 1992). The success of this implementation is very much depending on how the lessons are carried out. Teachers play an important role in the teaching process of developing students' ability to learn literature. Therefore, teachers have to be wise in selecting the suitable approaches to be used in classrooms, according to students' background as well as the literary texts.
There are a number of approaches which are believed to help teachers in delivering the messages conveyed in each literature piece. According to Bottino, the teaching of literature is often seen in the framework of the three models which are the Cultural Model, Language Model, and the Personal Growth Model. As for trainee teachers, these approaches assist them in preparing their lessons. Before going to the real teaching world during the practicum session, they have been exposed to "micro and macro-teaching" which are part of their methodology courses. This mock-teaching includes their lesson plan preparation and expectations in teaching literature. The problem here is, the audience for their micro or macro teaching are not real school students. Their audiences are their classmates and friends, who have studied and analyzed the literary texts, therefore, there is a big different between teaching school students who might not read the literary texts before hand and people who have prior knowledge on the texts taught.. In fact, their behaviour/attitude in class is completely different from the real school kids. Hence, trainee teachers feel that they have a lot of inadequacy in teaching literature in ESL classroom as the objectives set were not achieved.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Since Literature component has been implemented as a part of English subject in schools, certain issues arise. Based on my own experience and that of my friends', we faced a lot of difficulties in carrying out literature lessons when we were sent to school to teach. We were equipped with all the theoretical, content, and pedagogical knowledge from our Methodology of Teaching Literature class. However, we found out that it was difficult to apply the knowledge to real classroom teaching and how our expectations differ before and after teaching literature in the real classroom. Hence, these difficulties we encountered during our practicum have created the interest in conducting this research.
This study, therefore, would be looking at the problematic aspects with regard to the teaching of literature as experienced by trainee teachers. The first one is trainee teachers' readiness and expectations in teaching literature before entering classrooms. The second aspect would be the experience of teaching gained during the practicum session, and the third aspect would be other important trainings or exposure they might need in order to improve their literature teaching in the future.
The objectives for this study are crucial in determining its success. Through the objectives, researcher is able to classify explicitly what to examine for the research. The objectives of this study are:
To identify trainee teachers' readiness and expectations of teaching Literature in ESL classroom before leaving for practicum.
To identify "issues" faced in teaching literature during their practicum
To find out trainee teachers' memorable/good experience in teaching literature.
To identify trainee teachers' needs and demands in order to improve their literature teaching in ESL classroom
This study attempts to answer four main questions on the perception of TESL students with regard to the teaching literature.
1.5.1 What are the TESL trainee teachers' expectations in teaching literature before leaving for practicum? Are they prepared and equipped with relevant knowledge?
1.5.2 While doing the practicum did they experience difficulties in teaching literature components? What kind of experiences that trainees faced during literature lessons?
1.5.3 What are the memorable or good experiences that they gained from teaching literature in ESL classroom?
1.5.4 What do trainee teachers feel that they need in order to improve literature teaching?
DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms will be used throughout this future research:
1.5.1 Teacher: The definition of a teacher is someone who embodies all those qualities that exude the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from master to student, (Larzelere). In this context it refers to the TESL students who are going to be a future teacher.
1.5.2 Trainee: is someone who is being trained for a job. In this context it refers to the TESL students who had gone trough the learning and practicum process while they were students in UiTM. The meaning is taken from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: The Living Dictionary.
1.5.3 TESL: a term which referring to a course of Teaching English as Second Language.
1.5.4 Practicum: The practical part of a study or course, as opposed to the theoretical parts.
1.5.5 Literature: The collective body of literary of productions, embracing the entire results of knowledge and fancy preserved in writing; also the whole body of literary productions or writings upon a given subject or in reference to a particular science or branch of knowledge, or of knowledge, or of a given country or period.
There are a few limitations which is inherent in the present study. The first limitation is time constraint. Due to limited time, this study will only involve twenty percent of Semester 7 and 8 students whom I can get easy access to gather the data. The second limitation is budget constraint. As a student, I have limited financial support in completing this study. Therefore, I could not carry out a large scale study, but had to be content with a small scale study instead.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This is a small scale study whereby the data collected would involve TESL students from UiTM Shah Alam who had undergone their teaching practicum, as the requirement to complete their bachelor in education course. Therefore, the findings of this study cannot be generalized to other situations. However, it is sufficient as an exploratory research by a novice researcher.
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The result of this study can be utilized by various parties who are involved in deciding the course contents of literature subjects in Faculty of Education, UiTM Seksyen 17. The study would create changes in literature course contents/syllabus in the faculty in producing better quality English teachers especially in teaching literature in ESL classroom.