Research Conclusions

Teaching literature certainly promotes deeper emotional participation of the students in the process of learning a new language.

This is proved by the following figures:

Of the 29 learners who participated in the research...


The quotations from learners’ work and the statistics from the Final Questionnaire clearly illustrates Hişmanoğlu's statement that “once the student reads a literary text, he begins to inhabit the text. He is drawn into the text. Understanding the meanings of lexical items or phrases becomes less significant than pursuing the development of the story. The student becomes enthusiastic to find out what happens as events unfold via the climax; he feels close to certain characters and shares their emotional responses. This can have beneficial effects upon the whole language learning process(9).

The field trip to the Oscar Wilde exhibition initiated by one of the learners was an unexpected and surprising outcome, which demonstrated significant engagement of learners in this project.

For me, as a practitioner who has taught ESOL for many years, this research has been a breath of fresh air. It broke the routine and emotionally engaged both me and the students in the teaching and learning process. I noticed that for the first time in many years I was really looking forward to my lessons and I wished the sessions were longer than 2 hours. It also brought me closer to my students.

Reflections on Initial Assumptions

Assumption 1. Learners who had better education in their home country tend to read more books .

Outcome: The small number of students participating in the research did not provide enough statistical information to prove this assumption one way or the other.

Assumption 2. Some Muslim learners mostly read religious books and few fiction books.

Outcome: Almost half of the students participating in the research were Muslim. In the course of the research I noticed that learners from different cultural and religious backgrounds gave preference to different authors. A majority of my Muslim learners preferred Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales because they are simple and moralistic, but at the same time strongly disliked Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for their darkness and cruelty. On the other hand, many of my Eastern European learners saw the funny side in Roald Dahl’s stories and loved the irony and satire in O.Henry's stories.

Assumption 3. Learners have a fear of reading books in English because there are too many new words and they have to use the dictionary a lot which takes the pleasure away from reading.

Outcome: The Final Questionnaire figures show that even if there was such a fear at the start, it can be easily defeated by the right choice of stories that would emotionally involve the students.

Assumption 4. The majority of the learners have no prior knowledge of the three authors we are going to read.

Outcome: I was right that most of my learners were unfamiliar with the three authors.

What's Next?

  1. Make this research available for all WEA ESOL and Functional English tutors.

  2. Deliver a session to colleagues about the findings and discuss possibilities of their implementation in the organisation.

  3. The research was limited by a small number of students (29). Further research is needed into this subject with a bigger group of learners and over a longer period of time.

  4. This research project only covered higher level classes. However, it would be beneficial to try out a Book Club with lower level learners using shortened and adapted stories, Easy Reads and colour coded books from the library.

  5. Recommend to my colleagues some useful websites with free on-line stories, which I discovered in the course of this project.

Lessons Learnt

There are a few things I would do differently if I did the research again: