Book review: Educational Reform : Exploring the role of Malay literature component in students' thinking development

10:43 AM


Although this book focuses on Malay literature component, as an English teacher, I think some of the points and arguments in this book are relevant and can be applied to the teaching of Literature in English. The main point that I would like to elaborate on is the type of approaches that teachers tend to apply when teaching the literature component. I believe every secondary school teacher who is teaching literature (be it in Malay or in English) is aware of their own methods of teaching literature. 

Many of our methods take in the form of the structural approach as this type of approach helps the students to score high marks in the literature section of the exam papers (both for BM and English subjects alike). However, as this book illustrates, this approach does not cater to the aesthetic aspects of literature. The students might score well, but they won’t have much appreciation for the literary component as all they do is memorize the points (characters, moral values, etc.) without much thinking process taking place. 

Therefore, an alternative approach that should be put more emphasis on than the aforementioned approach (not saying that the approach is not relevant to teaching literature) in terms of teaching method is the reader response approach. This approach is well suited to develop students’ appreciation for literature as well as it fulfills the aesthetic aspect of the literary works. It gives freedom for students to express their opinions by which it reflects their thinking process based on their own subjective evaluation of the required readings. By applying such a method, their thinking skills will develop with hopes to extend as well as to apply the skill to other disciplines which is the main aim for education. However, there are drawbacks to this as the format for the literature component exam papers do not focus on the reader response approach which is the reason for most teachers to not apply this approach in their teaching methodology. 

Perhaps there should be changes done in the literature component section so that maybe structural approach and reader response approach can be both represented in the exam questions. 

With all that said, I now have ideas on how I can make my literature lessons more interesting.

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