About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3217-3222
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

NOT JUST WHAT IT MEANS, BUT ALSO HOW IT MEANS: TEACHING BETTER READING SKILLS TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF LITERATURE. AN INTERUNIVERSITY PROJECT.

C. Font Paz, L. Gimeno Pahissa, D. Owen

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
This paper describes an interuniversity literature-teaching project aimed at improving the advanced and specialist reading skills required of students taking a modern-language degree with a literature component. The project includes participation from university departments of English, French and Italian, and will carried out from September 2011 to December 2013. It has been awarded a Teaching-Quality Improvement Grant (Millora de Qualitat Docent) by the Catalan Government’s University Grants and Research Agency, AGAUR.
Students taking a degree in a modern foreign language, in which literature is very often a fundamental component, face a series of obstacles. Beyond the obvious difficulty of the language itself there are other factors such as an urgent need to discern the basic elements of study required for the effective analysis and comprehension of literature. Many early-stage students, perhaps even the majority, are simply not equipped to read or discuss literature at anything other than the purely superficial level of plot development, and this, in turn, is felt in the reading and study of literary texts by more advanced students at higher levels. The aim of literature syllabuses, on the other hand, is to address issues that are far deeper than the purely plot-based (questions such as sources, style, characterisation, thematic concerns, gender and genre concerns, historical context, etc.) and this discrepancy—between the objectives of specific course programmes and students’ prior understanding of what the study of literature involves—can create considerable confusion among students and not infrequently leads to a sense of disorientation and disillusion.
Bearing in mind this scenario, our project aims to develop student’s skills as what we term ‘professional readers’; this involves enabling them to read beyond the purely narrative level and to perceive the manner in which the creative construct of a given literary work is established in a complex series of ways, a clear understanding of which is essential to the effective study of literature.
By systematically developing our students’ understanding of this critical aspect of reading literature, we aim to facilitate the ability to read, assess and discuss literature in a more fully engaged and sensitive manner, to transcend a common tendency amongst undergraduate students to limit literary assessment to the purely plot-based and to equip students with a ‘professional’ vision of how literature works. From this basis, though this exceeds the objectives of our current proposal, it is hoped that other still more advanced forms of assessing literature would then become more transparent and accessible through having successfully connected with this aspect of critical reading and having seen the way in which the study of literature involves the professional reader in active enquiry with the narrator’s presentation of the plot.
Our paper will give fuller details of the rationale underpinning this project, as well as outlining the general approach and methodologies that we intend to put into practice. Finally, inasmuch as this is feasible at this stage, we will suggest what outcomes we are hoping to achieve and will detail the eventual activities that we will be hoping to successfully undertake, such as publications and a dedicated conference.
@InProceedings{FONTPAZ2011NOT,
author = {Font Paz, C. and Gimeno Pahissa, L. and Owen, D.},
title = {NOT JUST WHAT IT MEANS, BUT ALSO HOW IT MEANS: TEACHING BETTER READING SKILLS TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF LITERATURE. AN INTERUNIVERSITY PROJECT.},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {3217-3222}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Font Paz AU - L. Gimeno Pahissa AU - D. Owen
TI - NOT JUST WHAT IT MEANS, BUT ALSO HOW IT MEANS: TEACHING BETTER READING SKILLS TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF LITERATURE. AN INTERUNIVERSITY PROJECT.
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 3217
EP - 3222
ER -
C. Font Paz, L. Gimeno Pahissa, D. Owen (2011) NOT JUST WHAT IT MEANS, BUT ALSO HOW IT MEANS: TEACHING BETTER READING SKILLS TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF LITERATURE. AN INTERUNIVERSITY PROJECT., ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 3217-3222.
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