THOUGHTS ON SECONDARY SCHOOL LITERATURE STUDIES (An Essay) by Euphemia Nkechi Nwodo

Literature is life. Literature is large and deep like the ocean and only a screwed and cavernous mind plunge into it. I must stress that the study of literature in secondary schools is to launch and inculcate the knowledge and passion for literary genres in the lives of our children. The knowledge of literature is meant to expose them to the pros and cons of the various genres of literature; while the passion ignited is to make them live it. When I say living it, I mean not only loving literature in order to pass exams but using it to express themselves as well as touch lives with their works. It is fun and honorable when we quote and live words from poems and novels we have read.

Literature is movies we watch; rhymes and songs we chant from cradle to grave, Histories we study, diagrams, charts and maps we use in Science Study, National Anthems and Pledges sung or recited during events, Proverbs that teaches wisdom, silly words used by Men to Tame their Ladies, those great Psalms used to Eulogize God, great kings and Queens: indeed Literature is life.

With great alarm, as we know, the study and appreciation of Literature in Secondary Schools is sloping downwards and it is

threatened by many factors that include:

  • Poorly trained or unmotivated teachers; Our Literature teachers are either lacking Professional Educational backing or expertise. While, some of the teachers who possess both ingredients are lacking the motivation to teach due to Personal and many obvious reasons; and so do not see the need to FLY with their Students and teach them to soar high.
  • Distracting Environment: Our Secondary Pupils are distracted these by so many Catchy, time consuming and Time wasting events, Practices, Objects and Association like phones/games/internet, Gambling/Drug Abuse/Sex/Abortion/Smoking/Exam Malpractice/Clubbing e.t.c., that is affecting not only their study and practice of Literature but also the study of others Subjects as well as living Positive Lifestyles and becoming responsible Adults.
  • Carefree Attitude by school authorities and government towards the teaching and learning of Literature in our Secondary Schools; these bodies of Authority do not see the need for enforcing thorough teaching of Literature Study in our various Secondary Schools.

I think the following proposition will help our society in advancing the study and practice of Literature today.

  • Conducting continuous restructured and interactive seminars’ and Workshops for Literature teachers in Secondary schools, as this would help in motivating them and sharpening their teaching skills and yielding student appreciation of the subject.
  • Avenues for motivating students should be introduced; these could be in forms of Competitions (organized by Individual school, or Inter-school, National or International levels), Excursions to sights and ‘Acts’ of Literature genres e.g. Literature Museums, Drama and Arts Theatre, participate in Literature and Arts festivals, Book Readings and tours. Join Literature Clubs.
  • Ministry of Education should encourage schools to provide Instructional materials e.g. Costumes; Instructional technologies e.g. Television/Literature Movies, Radio, Microphone and Speakers, Internet e.t.c. This approach will entice Students to love and Practice Literature in our Country Nigeria.

Am sure there are other useful suggestions that can also contribute immensely towards the study and practice of literature in Nigeria and the World at Large.

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