Who Said Literature Study is Worthless? Literature as a Tool for Development of Critical Thinking

By Chaya Surajbali-Bissoonauth.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Within this era of rapid technological change, and where science subjects dominate the curriculum, literature is often relegated to the periphery. Yet, the value of literature cannot be undermined. This paper surveys the possibility of assigning significance to literature study within the twenty- first century setting. At the centre of the argument lies the way in which literature can offer experiences and thus enhance learning by carrying the young learner into different worlds, cultures and settings. Literature is a key tool to enhance and develop critical thinking skills in young minds. The aim of the paper is to present ways in which practice may be altered to adopt and adapt different ways of promoting thinking skills, including critical thinking, critical reading, listening and writing through stories. Drawn from findings following an action research to assess the possibility of the using literature to promote critical thinking, the paper makes a case for a modification of perspective towards literature and its function within the curriculum. The ultimate goal is to allow and cater for self-motivated and autonomous learners who can apply their learning both inside and outside classroom situations.

Keywords: Literature, Critical Thinking, Critical Reading, Metacognition, Action Research

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp.127-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.293MB).

Chaya Surajbali-Bissoonauth

Lecturer, Department of Curriculum Studies and Evaluation, Mauritius Institute of Education, Port Louis, Mauritius

Chaya Surajbali-Bissoonauth has been an educator of English language and literature for the past 14 years. She has worked in several State Secondary Schools. She has, since the beginning of 2011, joined the Mauritius Institute of Education as Lecturer. Among her research interests lay critical thinking, language and literature curriculum development and the teaching and learning of literature. She has produced a series of programmes in collaboration with the Mauritius College of the Air on Poetry, Pinter’s Homecoming and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She is also keenly interested in the literature from the South Asian Diaspora and issues around identity, displacement and modern feminism.


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