GEORGES V. SANTONI (Ph.D., Univ. of Colorado) is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Michigan, where he has been granted a 1972 faculty fellowship and grant for research in cross-cultural studies. He is the author of “Un cours de civilisation française au niveau universitaire,” published in Le Français dans le Monde (oct.-nov. 1971) and he is preparing Quand les Français parlent, a textbook about French language and civilization, scheduled for completion by late 1973.
Methods of Teaching Literature*
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 1972 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 5, Issue 4, pages 432–441, May 1972
How to Cite
Santoni, G. V. (1972), Methods of Teaching Literature. Foreign Language Annals, 5: 432–441. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1972.tb00705.x
This paper was originally presented at the 1971 Annual Meeting of ACTFL, in Chicago, 25–28 November.
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT Although methods of teaching foreign languages have greatly improved as a result of pedagogic and linguistic research, the teaching of literature has remained traditional, emphasizing exposure rather than achievement and directed to students of superior ability. Professional training has been virtually nonexistent. The vast amount of research in contemporary criticism and in linguistics opens a new perspective on methodology. Diminishing the importance of literary history and concentrating instead on the linguistic code of literature could help us to teach literature in a manner both more interesting and more likely to elicit the individual participation of students. Students who are often discouraged because of inadequate linguistic preparation to work with a literary text need preliterary exercises dealing with the lexical, syntactic, semantic, and cultural difficulties of the text to be studied. Such a forward build-up of the language as a means of communication, prior to the contact with the literary language, should serve as an instrument allowing teacher and class more time for a literary discussion, eliminating the need for verification of understanding. One example of teaching a poem in French illustrates this approach.