Teaching a Literature Reading Class

Fall 2021 Fellow: Nora Melnikova

How can a literature reading class be taught and where does it find its place in the divide between language and literature courses? Does this divide still make sense at a time when ‘language teaching’ has been moving away from the narrowly understood communicative approach aimed solely at teaching transactional language skills towards pedagogy that combines developing these skills with cultivating critical thinking and cultural literacy?

My paper tries to answer these questions. It also reflects on my journey to create a literature reading course in a world language that would inspire me and my students, and that would allow us to engage with literature on multiple levels, from language explorations to literary analysis to contemplations of historical, cultural and societal issues. With the aim of increasing student engagement and the ‘joy of learning,’ I am drawing on principles of dialogic pedagogy. As a case study to illustrate my approach, I use a module on the Hindi writer Nirmal Verma that I developed for my Readings in Modern Hindi Literature class.

The full paper will be submitted for publication.