The purpose of this review is to assess whether recent scholarship on language-literature instruction—the deliberate integration of language development and literary study at all levels of the foreign language curriculum—within the context of U.S. institutions of higher education reflects shifts in thinking regarding the role of literature in foreign language curricula. These shifts have come in response to the 2007 Report of the Modern Language Association Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages, which recommended replacing the traditional two-tiered program structure with more coherent curricula that merge language and content, and to the general questioning of communicative language teaching as a viable method for language instruction and adequate preparation for advanced-level work in a foreign language. Current approaches to language-literature instruction and foreign language curriculum design favor multimodal language development that places equal importance on oral and written language and interpretative interaction with literature to construct textual meaning and establish form-meaning connections. This review surveys empirical and classroom practice research on literature in language courses and language in literature courses and concludes with a consideration of larger curricular issues and areas for future research.
(Online publication September 02 2011)
Kate Paesani is an associate professor of French and director of basic French courses at Wayne State University. Her research interests include literacy-based approaches to language instruction, the role of literary texts in the undergraduate curriculum, and foreign language teacher development. Her work has appeared in journals such as Foreign Language Annals, The French Review, and L2 Journal. She is also co-editor of the volumes Language program articulation: Developing a theoretical foundation (Heinle & Heinle, 2005) and The syntax of nonsententials: Multidisciplinary perspectives (John Benjamins, 2006).