Enriching the Teaching of Literature

By Coyne, Sue | NATE Classroom, Autumn 2009 | Go to article overview

Enriching the Teaching of Literature


Coyne, Sue, NATE Classroom


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Earlier this year, the out-going Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, aired his concerns (in a Guardian interview) about the emptiness of many students' cultural 'kit bag', which hindered them from a comprehensive experience of literature. His comments were backed up by the findings of the Biblical Literacy Survey (reviewed in the Independent).

Why is this noteworthy? Because, according to exam boards and university English departments, one of the key factors determining success in studying literature is the comprehension of the world in which it was created and initially received. This is particularly highlighted at Advanced Level literary study. Context is enshrined in the fourth Assessment Objective and permeates all the new syllabuses.

The problem is, many students, and even teachers, don't know what they're missing. While we can confidently talk about a 'post 9/11 society' and know that everyone understands the shorthand, we may be blind to the allusions used by almost every author encountered during A Level study and beyond--references to the Bible and classical literature, to historical events and ideas. How many of us realise that the mention of things like the drawing of lots, a cup of wine, dust, grass and doves taps into what was a universal cultural worldview in Western Europe?

Furthermore, given the pressures of KS5, few teachers have the time to gather all the background information which illuminates set texts, whilst many students may struggle to read up on all the various sources. For them, the lure of the dreaded 'Google essay' can seem much the easier option.

This is why the www.crossref-it.info English website has been designed, by teachers, for busy colleagues and stressed students who want to succeed at A Level/Pre U etc. It is a free resource which has steadily gained in popularity over the last year.

After scouring the bookshops and web for resources, it became clear that most still expect too much familiarity with a Western European/Christianised worldview, or ignore such references altogether. www.crossrefit. info assumes no prior knowledge or belief but has succinct pop-ups to explain terms from parish to purgatory, while mini essays unpack the connotations of bread, salt and vines for example. It's not just Bible stuff either; explanations cover classical myths and historical events, alongside all the usual literary technical terms, from alliteration to zeugma.

The site is usefully arranged under four subject areas:

* Writers in context

A range of articles illuminating 'The world of' various writers or eras, which cover the historical, social and political context, as well as the religious and philosophical worldview which affected writers and their works, all under girded by an interactive timeline

* Aspects of literature

Articles covering developments in English literature and language and other key areas of subject knowledge, such as the cultural impact of classical literature and the Bible. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enriching the Teaching of Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.