Choose A-Level Lit stu­dents wisely

The Manica Post - - Education/ Entertainment - Mor­ris Mtisi

WISELY means not fill­ing up classes be­cause some teacher must have an area to teach. It also means not dump­ing the re­mains . . . the riff-ruff. . . the scum of your L6 in­take into space.

Wisely also means not guided by the com­bi­na­tion rule where the third Arts sub­ject can only be Lit­er­a­ture in English.

There are sev­eral key rea­sons Lit­er­a­ture stu­dents do badly: poor read­ing cul­ture (learn­ers who have no idea how both in­ten­sive and ex­ten­sive read­ing are crit­i­cal) and poor un­der­stand­ing of the syl­labus (stu­dents not hav­ing an idea what the ex­am­in­ers want.

The syl­labus must be stud­ied care­fully, not just shown and kept in the teacher’s locker.

Each learner must have a copy . . . must thor­oughly go through it), ig­no­rance of the skills ex­pected to be mas­tered in each Lit­er­a­ture Pa­per, poor di­dac­tic meth­ods on the part of the teacher . . . and poor at­ti­tude of the learner, lack of ef­fec­tive mo­ti­va­tion.

These are not the only rea­sons. But I want to high­light a rea­son not of­ten talked about — per­haps not even well known or ap­pre­ci­ated.

The cal­i­bre of your learner in the con­text of gen­eral mas­tery of the English Lan­guage is para­mount . . . his or her com­mand of English . . . his or her ver­bal fit­ness can­not be overem­pha­sised. This is Lit­er­a­ture in English and if the learner’s lan­guage is gen­er­ally prim­i­tive, he or she will not stand up to the oc­ca­sion. Even in the pres­ence of per­fect teach­ers and many com­men­taries with per­fect notes, these must be un­der­stood.

If the teacher and the books speak, com­mu­ni­cate above the learner’s head, the effort ends up fu­tile.

One of my sim­ple def­i­ni­tions of Lit­er­a­ture is, “Lit­er­a­ture is com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the writer and the reader.”

Once the line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is cut, in the sce­nario un­der dis­cus­sion be­cause of a lan­guage barrier, it is hope­less to ex­pect much from the learner. The poet speaks, the drama­tist speaks, the nov­el­ist . . . who­ever is the au­thor of the pieces or books un­der study speaks, but if the reader does not un­der­stand much be­cause the au­thor is speak­ing above the scope of the learner, there is no In­dia to reach any­where on the globe. For­get it!

English Lan­guage it­self is not a walk in the park. It is not a bed of roses. It poses a lot of bar­ri­ers for both the teacher and the learner.

To ex­pect an av­er­age English Lan­guage stu­dent who ac­ci­den­tally or luck­ily scratched a C grade in the Form 4 ex­am­i­na­tions . . . and most of them did not even pass, but pulled a D and E grade, is to ex­pect a don­key to sire a horse.

If you want smart ex­am­i­na­tion re­sults at the end of the year, line up stu­dents who are smart. As it is no one seems to care who stud­ies Lit­er­a­ture. Not the school head.

Not the Head of English Depart­ment. Un­til the seed changes, ex­pect the same har­vest . . . sea­son in sea­son out!

Happy New Year! En­joy teach­ing and learn­ing to the fullest in 2019!

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