J. Ballester Roca, N. Ibarra Rius

Universitat de València (SPAIN)
What goals should literary education pursue in today’s society? This question opens up our thoughts about contemporary literature methodology, since the answer determines the understanding of the discipline, its relationship to innovative teaching, and specific classroom canon. Our research looks into how to face the necessary renovation in literature teaching strategies in order to respond coherently to its objectives.

From our perspective, the starting point of the renovation path should be recovering its instructive value, whose main axes are the cognitive ability to interpret reality and the socio-cultural construction. The training needs of our students, regardless of their educative level, will be the basic cornerstone of this new methodological line, a method guided by the premise of comprehension and enjoyment of reading in order to develop and acquire reading and literary competence.

Literary competence understood this way transforms previous indispensable steps towards literary education, which we will achieve after a long journey of reading. Additionally, a selection, which will have an essential importance, will be made by the mediators.

Likewise, the corpus of the texts that should be used is another important aspect to be taken into account. It has to be, in all senses, multicultural. That is, classic and universal canon texts (in the deep sense of this term, and at the same time, close to the students’ context) as well as those belonging to the so-called other literature (children and youth literature, mass literature, comics, graphic novels, etc.)

At the same time, the comparative approach will allow a wide range of options, since the boundaries between the different artistic discourses become more and more diffuse (cinema, advertising, art, music). According to this, it is fundamental to benefit from the union of different aesthetic languages as an excellent channel for motivation.

In our research, we will demonstrate how innovative possibilities in literature teaching are essential to defend the plurality of voices in methodologies and text selection integrated in classroom canon—not aiming in any way at forcing any kind of quotas—whether they are ethnical, gender or culture related. Only from this perspective, literary education in the 21st century may be an answer to contemporary socio-historical transformations and, especially, it may establish a dialogue with the surrounding society.