An investigation of the use of children's literature in Key Stage 1 teaching in Cardiff with specific reference to its possible use in Malaysian primary English language classes.
Hafiz, Zahedah Abdul
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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This study has been undertaken because of concern about falling standards of English proficiency among school children in Malaysia. It has set out to investigate whether the use of children's literature as a resource in the teaching of English might help in arresting this decline. A review of literature pointed to the link between reading literature and language learning. Learning a language is clearly more than acquiring a set of discrete skills. It involves the mastery and interplay of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The knowledge about language that comes from reading children's literature is particularly valuable for the beginning learner. Cardiff and Malaysian teachers' responses, elicited by a variety of means, reinforced the view that reading strategies can be further developed by listening, reading, interacting and responding to stories, rhymes, poems and plays. It was hypothesised that teachers in Cardiff, where the use of children's literature is common practice in English teaching, would agree that it was a useful tool for language learning. This proved to be the case, their responses showing that not only did children's literature make English lessons fun and assist language learning, it provided many more benefits because of its rich storehouse of genres. In Malaysia, where it is not in common use, primary school English language teachers' views were also sought as to the feasibility of using children's literature in their English Language teaching. Malaysian teachers of different demographic characteristics were in strong agreement that its use would assist language learning and attainment of teaching objectives, while making English lessons enjoyable. However they maintained that appropriate training and materials would have to be provided before such pedagogic practice was considered.
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