Teaching with Literature: the Needs of Indonesian Islamic Universities

Dedi Irwansyah, Burhan Nurgiyantoro, Asruddin B. Tou


Reading literary works helps learners grow linguistically, personally, culturally, and spiritually. However, researchers in the field of ESL and EFL have not conducted adequate analysis on the use of literature as a resource particularly in a multi-layered educational contexts like Indonesian Islamic universities where values embedded in literature might be in conflict with each other. This research therefore aims to provide a thick description on the target needs and the learning needs of teaching with literature in such context. A case study with qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection was conducted. A questioner was distributed to 30 students and a semi-structured interview was conducted to five lecturers from three Islamic universities. Major findings show that short stories with the topics of noble character, self-empowerment, freedom, code of conduct, and greed are preferable to novel, drama, and poem. The stories in the forms of their simplified and original versions should be used to teach language skills and to inculcate global, national, and Islamic values within the CTL framework. Values similarities are to be the basis of teaching universal values while their differences are to strengthen cross-culture understanding.


Teaching with literature, EFL, Indonesian Islamic university, reading

Full Text:



Adebayo, R.I. (2010). Islam and the promotion of mulitilingualism: lessons for the Nigerian muslims. Allawh: Journal of Arabic & Islamic Studies, 2 (6), 183-201.

Adelabu, B. & Matthias, N. (2013). Survey of methods of teaching English and literature among secondary school teachers in Benue State. International J. Soc. Sci. & Education, 3 (3), 847-858.

Akhter, T. (2013). Importance of English literature teaching in 21st century in students of higher secondaries and colleges of Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The International Journal of Engineering and Science (IJES), 2 (4), 6-8.

Ali, H.M.B.M. (2007). Islamic Terms in Contemporary English. English Today. 23 (2), 32-38. doi: 10.1017/S0266078407002064, http://Journals.cambridge.org/ENG.

Al-Mahrooqi, R. (2012). An investigation of literature teaching methodologies at a higher educational institution in Oman. TESOL Journal, 6 (1), 172-180.

Areqi, R.M.M.A. (2015). Teaching/testing English literature through eclectic model. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL), 3 (4), 9-21.

Bacha, N.N. (2010). Teaching literature in an English as a foreign language classroom: A study of student attitudes. The International Journal of the Humanities, 8 (1), 47-64.

Bibby, S. & Mcllroy, T. (2013). Literature in language teaching: What, why, and how. The Language Teacher, 37 (5), 19-21.

Carter, R., & Long, M.N. (1991). Teaching literature. New York: Longman Publishing, (Chapter I).

Carter, R., & McRae, J. (1996). Language, literature, and the learner: Creative classroom practice. London: Addison Wesley Longman Limited, (Chapter 0, Introduction Part).

Chalikendy, M.A. (2015). Literature: a Natural Source for Teaching English in ESL/EFL Classrooms. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature. 4 (6), 224-234. doi: 10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.6p.224, http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.6p.224.

Chen, M.L. (2014). Teaching English as a Foreign Language through Literature. Theory and Practice in Language Studies. 4 (2),.232-236. doi: 10.4304/tpls.4.2.232-236.

Choudhary, S. (2016). A literary approach to teaching English language in a multicultural classroom. Higher Learning Research Communications, 6 (4), 1-6.

Chun, Y. (2015). Application of Literary Theory in Teaching Literature: a Case Study from “Approaching Fiction” in China Youth University of Political Sstudies. Sino-US English Teaching. 12 (9), 730-735. doi: 10.17265/1539-8072/2015.09.012.

Cox, C. (2012). Literature-based teaching in the content areas. California: SAGE Publications, Inc., (Chapter 0, Introduction Part).

Diallo, I. (2012). The interface between Islamic and western pedagogies and epistemologies: features and divergences. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 7(3), 175-179.

Erkaya, O.R. (2003). Benefits of using short stories in the EFL context. Asian EFL Journal, 1-13.

Gall, M.D., Gall, J.P., & Borg, W.R. (2007). Educational research: an introduction (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., (Chapter (Part) IV)

Hall, G. (2005). Literature in language education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, (Chapter II).

Halstead, J. M. (2004). An Islamic Concept of Education. Comparative Education. 40 (4), 517-528. doi: 10.1080/0305006042000284510.

Hayati, D. & Hashemy, S.A. (2013). Communication Technologies and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in Teaching Literature. International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology. 4 (2), 181-184. doi: 10.7763/IJIMT.2013.V4.387.

Hişmanoğlu, M. (2005). Teaching English through literature. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 1 (1), 53-66.

Hussein, E.T. & Al-Emami, A.H. (2016). Challenges to teaching English literature at the university of Hail: instructors’ perspective. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 7 (4), 125-138.

Hwang, D. & Embi, M.A. (2007). Approaches employed by secondary school teachers to teaching the literature component in English. Jurnal Pendidik dan Pendidikan, 22, 1-23.

Jain, M. (2012). ICT as an aid in teaching English literature and bridging the digital divide. Bhatter College Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, Vol. II, pp. 49-54.

Kasser, C., & Silverman, A. (1986). Stories we brought with us: beginng readings for ESL. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, (Chapter XIV).

Kennedy, V. (2014). Critical, cultural and multimodal approaches to using song as literature in language learning. Liberi & Liberi, 3 (2), 295-310.

Khairuddin, Z., Shukry, A.S.M., & Sani, N.A. (2014). Reading trends and perceptions towards Islamic English websites as teaching materials. English Language Teaching. 7 (8), 124-133. doi: 10.5539/elt.v7n8p124, http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v7n8p124.

Khalid, A. (2016). Critical role of assessment in teaching English literature to non-natives. International Journal of English Literature and Culture, 4 (2), 24-31.

Khanum, F. (2016). Preference of the learners towards literature based materials in the present textbook of classes ix and x in Bangladesh. Language in India, 16 (12), 30-45.

Khatib, M., Rezaei, S., & Derakhshan, A. (2011). Literature in EFL/ESL classroom. English Language Teaching, 4 (1), 201-208.

Kirgöz, Y. (2012). Incorporating short stories in English language classes. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 6 (2), 110-125.

Lazar, G. (2009). Literature and language teaching: a guide for teachers and trainers. (19th printing). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (Chapter I & II).

Li, D. (2011). How to teach and learn English literature in e-education era. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 1 (3), 241-245.

Llach, P.A. (2007). Teaching language through literature: The waste land in the ESL classroom. Odisea, 8, 7-17.

Makhdoom, M. (2014). Education and neo-colonization: A critique of English literature curriculum in Pakistan. A Research Journal of South Asian Studies, 29 (2), 411-421.

Maley, A. (2012). Literature and languge teaching. In Alsagoff, L., et.al., (eds.), Principles and practices for teaching English as an international language (pp. 299-317). New York: Routledge, (Chapter XVII).

Midhin, M.M. (2015). Techniques used by university instructors in teaching short story. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2 (3), 83-92.

Mills, N. (2011). Teaching Assistants’ Self-Efficacy in Teaching Literature: Sources, Personal Assessments, and Consequences. The Modern Language Journal. 95 (i), 61-80. doi: 10.11111/j.1540-4781.2010.01145.x.

Mittal, R. (2014). Teaching English through poetry: A powerful medium for learning second language. IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, 19 (5), 21-23.

Mohamed, S.E.H.E. (2015). Towards effective values of teaching literature to secondary school students. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), 4 (11), 2317-2322.

Mohammad, Khatib, Hossein, A., & Rahimi. (2012). Literature and language teaching. Journal of Academic and Applied Studies, 2(6), 32-38.

Muhadjir, N. (2011). Metodologi penelitian. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Rake Sarasin, (Chapter XI).

Muhammed, A.A. (2013). The effect of teaching literature on learning English language: A study on EFS (English as a foreign students) and EFL classes. International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature and Education, 1 (1), 27-38.

Mujumdar, S.A. (2010). Teaching English language and literature in non-native context. Language in India, 10 (6), 210-216.

Nation, I.S.P., & Macalister, J. (2010). Language curriculum design. New York: Routledge, (Chapter III).

Njagi, M.W. & Muriungi, C.K. (2014). Effectiveness of professional development on English and literature teachers in selected schools in Tharaka-Nithi and Meru County, Kenya. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4 (8), 142-148.

Novianti, N. (2016). English Literature Teaching: an Indonesian Context. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics. 6 (1), 42-49. doi: dx.doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v6il.2660.

Nurgiyantoro, B., & Efendi, A. (2013). Prioritas penentuan nilai pendidikan karakter dalam pembelajaran sastra remaja. Cakrawala Pendidikan, XXXII (3), 382-393.

Ortells, E. (2013). Teaching English as a foreign language in Spanish secondary schools: The value of literature. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 12 (1), 91-110.

Qiping, Y. & Shuba, C. (2002). Teaching English literature in China: Importance, problems and countermeasures. World Englishes, 21 (20), 317-324.

Rashid, R.A., Vethamani, M.E., & Rahman, S.B.A. (2010). Approaches employed by teachers in teaching literature to less proficient students in form 1 and form 2. English Language Teaching, 3 (4), 87-99.

Rohmah, Z. (2012). Incorporating Islamic messages in the English teaching in the Indonesian context. International J. Soc. Sci. & Education, 2 (2), 157-165.

Samuel, M. (1995). Learning and teaching literature: A curriculum development perspective. Alteration, 2 (1), 94-107.

Shakfa, M.D.A.(2012). Difficulties Students Face in Understanding Drama in English Literature at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). English Language Teaching. 5 (9), 95-103. doi: 10.5539/elt.v5n9p95, http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n9p95.

Stern, S.L. (1991). An integrated approach to literature in ESL/EFL. In Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (2nd ed) (pp. 328-346). Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, (Chapter III).

Tuncer, H. & Kizildağ, A. (2014). Pre-service EFL teachers’ attitude towards the use of literature in practice teaching. International Journal of Language Academy, 2 (3), 170-185.

Violetta-Irene, K. (2015). The use of literature in the language classroom: Methods and aims. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5 (1), 74-79. doi: 10.776/IJIET.2015.V5.479

Yeasmin, N. (2011). Prospects of teaching and learning English literature in Bangladesh: Background vs the current status and some recommendations. American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal, 1 (1), 10-20.

Yeasmin, N., Azad, M.A.K., & Ferdoush, J. (2011). Teaching language through literature: Designing appropriate classroom activities. ASA University Review, 5 (2), 283-297.

Yimwilai, S. (2015). An integrated approach to teaching literature in an EFL classroom. English Language Teaching, 8 (2), 14-21.

Zainal, A. (2012). ESL Teachers’ Use of ICT in Teaching English Literature: an Analysis of Teachers’ TPCK. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 34 (2012), 234-237. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.02.047.

Zhen, C. (2012). Characteristics and strategies of literature teaching in the EFL context in China. International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering, 5 (3), 35-43.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.7p.169


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.