The objectives of teaching literature in Zambian secondary schools and the extent of their attainment through the set book syllabus
Mwape, Freddie Lulamuna
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This study seeks to identify »<>»» ° objectives of teaching Literature in Zambian Secondary Schools and the degree of their attainment through the set book syllabus used at present. An alternative Literature syllabus is proposed which would facilitate the attainment of the identified objectives, as is an examination which would evaluate these objectives. Chapter One argues that the set book syllabus was a product of African colonial educational policy which assumed that Literature teaching in Britain (Ll) was equally applicable to situations where English was a second language (L2)« It has since been increasingly felt that Ll Literature teaching is different from L2 teaching, A review of related studies sheds light on the potential influence of Literature on students, the ineffectiveness of traditional Literature teaching methods, and the language deficiencies of L2 students with their implications for Literature teaching in Zambia. Chapter Two identifies the problems of teaching Literature through the set book syllabus in Zambia as being the obscurity of objectives, insufficient teacher training in methodology.and Literature examination questions which lead to the assumption by teachers and students that Literature is a content (rather than a skills) oriented subject. The separate study of Literature and English language and a widespread shortage of set books are also considered as part of the problem* It is from this standpoint that the study hypothesises that a) the Literature examination in Zambia seeks to test low level educational skills at the expense of higher—level ones; b) there is no relationship in student performance between Literature and English language in the School Certificate examination Chapter Three proposes three ways to test the hypothesese In respect of the first hypothesis. School Certificate questions for the 1972-1982 period and Mid-year questions from six selected secondary schools on the Copperbelt are analysed and classified on the basis of the responses they were intended to obtain* A sample of student answers to the Mid-year examination is also considered for analysis and classification* In testing the second hypothesis the study examines the 1982 School Certificate examination results of a stratified sample of 842 students who took both Literature and English language to ascertain whether or not a relationship exists between the two subjects. Thirdly, the nature of the set texts on the Literature course and teaching methodology are examined in respect of skills required to achieve the desired objectives. The research findings in Chapter Four support the first hypothesis, but the second hypothesis is rejected. The study therefore concludes that a) the Literature examination is basically aimed at testing students ability to recall information from the set texts (a low-level skill), b) teachers are more likely to set challenging questions than School Certificate examiners, c) despite the Africanisation of the Literature course, it is questionable that appropriate social and cultural values can be developed through the study of five set texts, d) it is unlikely that Zambian Literature students are encouraged to develop discrimination since this skill requires an individual's exposure to a wide variety of reading materials Chapter Five proposes an alternative Literature syllabus whose major elements would be a three-year course comprising two components: a Grade Ten course and a Grades 11-12 wide~ranging reading programme with an examination divided into two parts; the first paper would focus on 12 books read on a. related theme, while the second paper would test aspects of critical skills* The study also recommends that Literature be made a compulsory subject and that there be concomitant changes in the training of teachers of English if the proposals are to succeed.
- Education