The effectiveness of literature on acquisition of language skills in the high school context (2017)

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Sam Duncan and Amos Paran—Institute of Education, University College London

This study explored the use of literature to support language aquisition in International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) language B classrooms. In conducting the study, the researchers aimed to learn more about how teachers choose literary texts, how they use these texts in the classroom and their views on the impact of using literary texts in language B teaching. The mixed-methods study involved case studies at three different IB World Schools in Europe and an online survey distributed to nearly 500 schools offering the DP across the world. In general, teachers and students were overwhelmingly in favour of using literature in language teaching, with teachers citing the general contribution of literature in education as well as the linguistic benefits. The main skills that teachers believed could be enhanced in students by using literary texts in language B teaching included vocabulary development and the development of reading skills. Analyses indicated that the amount of training that teachers had received from their initial teacher education programmes favourably impacted their attitudes toward and likelihood of using literature for language teaching.

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