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Choo, S. S., Chua, B. L., & Yeo, D. (2021). The challenge of cultivating national and cosmopolitan identities through literature: Insights from Singapore schools. Reading Research Quarterly. Advance online publication.
Reading Research Quarterly
Since the late 20th century, scholars have called for a need to broaden the aims of teaching English Literature away from its Eurocentric focus. Much effort has also been invested in making the subject more relevant through diversifying the texts studied and connecting texts to current social and global issues. It is pertinent now to ask what the significant role of Literature is in a globally interconnected age. In particular, what do teachers believe are key philosophical objectives of teaching literature, and how does this influence the texts they select, the instructional strategies they employ, and the values they seek to cultivate in the classroom? In this article, we report on the first National Survey of Literature Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices in Singapore schools. First, we review four key pedagogical movements that have underpinned the teaching of literature in schools around the world: New Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism, Poststructuralist Criticism, and Ethical Criticism. These respectively represent four key constructs (text, reader, culture, and other) used in the design and analysis of our survey instrument. Next, we report on the survey findings, focusing on Singapore as a barometer of current trends given its identity as an Anglophone country negotiating conflicting global and postcolonial identities with an education system that inhabits colonial traditions. We highlight key tensions arising from the impetus to develop national and cosmopolitan identities through Literature, and reflect on the implications for future directions in teaching.
0034-0553 (print)
1936-2722 (online)
Project number: 
OER 22/17 CSL
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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