The Integration of Literature and the Other Arts: Teaching Literature to Artistically Talented Young Adults
This paper presents a case study on the teaching of Literature in English to artistically gifted students who possess varying degrees of fluency in spoken and written English but share a common passion for the arts.
Students (age 13-18) at the School of the Arts, Singapore, are admitted based on their talent in an area of the arts: music, dance, theatre, or visual arts. There is a wide range in their academic scores, and their command of English reflects this. The curriculum is geared at developing students' interest in Literature by foregrounding the ways in which Literature and the other arts connect. Improvements in literacy and sustained enthusiasm for Literature and creative writing have resulted from this connected curriculum.
Knowledge about the connections between Literature and the other arts inform the choice of teaching materials and instructional modes. Students are taught to recognize the common element of expression in all art forms, including the literary arts. Literature teachers take into consideration the different modes of instruction in the other arts and apply this in their teaching practice.
The positive response of the students is especially evident in their reception of poetry. Most of the students have come to love the reading and writing of poetry. This is not a typical scenario in pre-tertiary institutions in Singapore. This case study is an attempt to share a teaching philosophy that could have wider implications for increasing national levels of literacy and interest in Literature.
Keywords: Literacy and Literature, Teaching Literature, Artistically Gifted Students, Integrated Curriculum
Dr Wei Wei Yeo
Head of Department, Department of Literature in English, The School of the Arts, Singapore