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Teaching English Literature to the Open and Distant Learners in an EFL Context: An Empirical Study

Salma Ainy

2021

Abstract: This paper aims at investigating the possibility of making literature an effective area of study for the learners of the open university who will be receiving education through distant mode. It speculates and discusses how the benefits of teaching literature could be spread throughout the target society to minimise the discrepancy between different educational opportunities offered to the individual. To combine these aspects and present concluding recommendations, the areas discussed are the advantages literature offers both from a humanistic and a linguistic point of view, and the role of open university in catering to the needs of the masses. This helps establish the facts incorporated with literature teaching in a language-dominated world. The teaching of literature through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and Distance Education (DE) systems is possible and accommodates the students’ needs from elementary to tertiary level. The researcher administered a questionnaire among 50 MA students at the University of Warwick, UK. In order to serve the purpose, both quantitative and partly qualitative investigations were made. The study among other possibilities shows that the promotion of learner autonomy develops a sense of responsibility in the learner towards learning and achievement. This also enhances their understanding of self achievement, confidence, and self-reliance. As the concept of open university is becoming more and more popular, it is believed that through proper use of the rich resources available there the benefits of literature teaching can reach the masses at the grassroots level. Moreover, as open university expenses are comparatively affordable in the context of Bangladesh, introducing literature in the English classroom could be beneficial, lead to a positive impact on learning, and ensure equal educational opportunities for all.
Keywords: Open and distance learning, English, EFL context, Bangladesh

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