LITERATURE CIRCLES IN EFL:
HOW THEY STIMULATE THE SOCIAL INTERACTIONOsman Bedel March, 2011
Most English language learners often say that reading, which is a vital element of language learning, is boring and difficult. This problematic situation might be the result of not practicing EFL reading in the right way. So, is there an effective way of using literature in the EFL classroom? The issue, this research intends to investigate is, what language interactions and classroom discourse are taking place in “literature circles” and how this might affect the language development of EFL learners? Literature circles are classroom discussion groups made up of students who read a specific section of a book or a piece of literature and perform the tasks that correspond to their roles that change for every meeting. Each of these roles focus on different aspects of the text like: summary, vocabulary, preparing questions, determining cultural items, focusing on specific passages and making real life connections. To help students achieve these tasks some role sheets are offered as a guide for the preparation. During the discussions, the students present their work and share ideas with others about the text they have read. The suggested idea is that, as a balanced element of the school curriculum, literature circles can provide an exciting way to promote student engagement in extensive reading by means of cooperative learning and collaborative work and offer the potential to promote reading for enjoyment. The main focus of the observation has been the student-to-student interactions and classroom discourse taking place during literature circle discussions. The main concern was over how different variables affect the language development of English learners. The results show that, during the process, the students were highly motivated for reading and in that way improved their interactional skills in English. They experienced a different atmosphere of practicing language. They had similar tasks as they had before but this time for a more realistic purpose and in a more authentic environment.
Keywords: EFL, book discussion clubs, literature, reading circles, classroom interaction, collaborative language learning