This study investigated the extent to which genral preference of students would predict their achievement in Literature in English in selected senior secondary schools in Ibadan. Five research questions were asked while descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. Simple random sample technique was used to select 500 students offering Literature in English in ten senior secondary schools in Ibadan Metropolis. Two research instruments were used in the study namely genral preference questionnaire r = .70 and Literature in English Achievement test r = .81. The data collected were analyzed using frequency count, simple percentages, and regression analysis. The result shows that: the student preferred prose to any other genre (X = 2.57); the preference for prose has significant contribution to the achievement of the students in Literature in English (b = 0.463; + = 8.472; p < 0.05); and prose literature is the only genre capable of predicting students' achievement in Literature. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that students' interests should be developed in other genres not preferred through good instructional strategies for optimal performance.
Key Words: Genral preference; Predictor; Achievement; Prose; Poetry; Drama
The word Literature was derived from the Latin word literal which means a letter of the alphabet. In a wide sense, literature is taken to mean every expression in letters that is written down (Okolo, 1993). But to Scholars of literature the term does not apply to every form of written expressions it is limited to certain categories of written expressions which have artistic merit or aesthetic appeal.
Okolo further explained that literature is a work of art created with words either oral or written, whose value lies in its impressive nature and ability to arouse admiration.
The Oxford English dictionary (2002) defined Literature as pieces of writing that are valued as works of art, especially novel, plays and poems.
Rees (1973) sees it as "writing which expresses and Communicates thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards life" Moody (1968), in his own words says:
Literature springs from our in-born love of story or arranging words in pleasing patterns, of expressing in words some special aspects of human experience. It is usually set down in printed characters for us to read, though some forms of it are performed on certain accessions.
Literature, he further states, has different forms as poetry, drama, prose and the short story. All of these are works of imagination or works that give the individual the capacity for invention. He, however, tries to bring out the difference between literature and other subjects when he observes that: the writer of literature is not tied to fact in quite the same way as the historian, the economist or the scientist whose studies are absolutely based on what has actually happened, or on what actually does happen in the world of reality.
According to Owoeye (2003), the primary aim of literature is to give pleasure, to entertain those who voluntarily attend to it. It also brings us back to the realities of human situations, problems, feelings and relationship. She further states that the importance of literature in the school curriculum cannot be underestimated. It plays an important role in the achievement of the goal that education aims at: the complete development of the individual.
Moody on the place of literature in the educational system says that:
Literature offers a vast reservoir of human experience and of judgment, of experience, a development of imagination and an entry into human situations which otherwise might fall outside our Ken.
Furthermore, it develops the cognitive domain of the Individual as it develops the capacities for discrimination, judgment and decisions. It helps in language development as it is a tool for understanding language because it is easily learned in real situations and an endless series of situations in which language is heard or in use. …