Literature as an Integral Aspect of Human Development
The study of literature is of great importance in students' academic and personal developments by improving reading skills and essay writing skills also applicable in other subjects that require a mastery of comprehension abilities such as History, Social Studies, English Language etc. These skills are then utilised in everyday life beyond a child’s schooling years. Furthermore, the study of Literature explores the creativity in students’ minds, inculcates the value of understanding different perspectives and teaches readers to read between the lines to see what is implicit.
Recognising its importance, the Ministry of Education (MOE) offers Literature as a specialisation and also as an option to take in the combined Humanities subject with Social Studies in Upper Secondary school. Giving students the opportunity to explore higher levels of literary works, Literature is also offered in Junior College and in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.
Common Obstacles Encountered when Studying Literature
- Weak foundation in the English Language
A poor command in the English Language would not only hinder the student’s ability to comprehend textual meanings but also impede the student’s articulation of their thoughts and opinions necessary in dissecting the literary work studied. This lack of understanding of works may discourage the student further from exploring the textual materials.
- Lack of familiarity with texts
Studying literary works spanning across time may prove to be a difficulty students face due to the different way language is utilised and due to the long narratives. These works may be considered long and wordy, resulting in students’ lack of engagement and dedication to the literary work as seen in falling grades especially when time constraints in school may make it difficult for teachers to explain every aspect of the text.
- Poor essay skills
The subjectivity of the nature of literature may be daunting if a child lacks the argumentative skills require to articulate their point of view in essay writing, a skill which is examinable and holds the main bulk of the examinations they are to take in school.
Benefits of Literature Tuition
- Practice makes perfect
Having private home tuition for Literature allows the tutor to go to the root of the problem and improve the student’s command in the English Language through consistent practise along with the immediate correction of mistakes. Over time, the student’s foundation and skills acquired from Literature tuition will give them the confidence in tackling difficult essay questions during examinations.
- Participatory engagement
Private tuition engages the child directly, allowing the student to actively participate by solving problems and exploring concerns in depth with the tutor. The direct relationship between student and tutor will allow for detailed explanations of literary texts that may have been skimmed over in school due to time constraints.
- Personalised teaching
Literature tutors will cater to the specific needs of the student, thus private tutoring teaches different methods and techniques to answer essay questions according to the student’s style. While such methods build the student’s confidence in articulating their opinions, they also improve essay writing skills when the student is able to defend their perspectives during examinations.
Secondary School Literature
Source: MOE Literary Response Framework (page 13)
Embracing the Literary Response Framework as highlighted by MOE, Secondary Schools have Literature as part of the student’s curriculum in their Lower Secondary education. In Upper secondary, students are given the option to take Literature in English as a pure subject that is more rigorous in comparison to the other option of taking Literature in English as part of the Humanities subject along with Social Studies which is less content heavy.
GCE O-Level Literature
Source: GCE O-Level Literature in English Syllabus (page 3)
Literature in English:
Separated into 2 different papers, students are tested on both unseen materials and set texts. As seen from the Literature in English syllabus above, while questions depending on set texts can be prepared for in advance, the unseen questions require students to think on the spot and apply their skills according to literary works they have not seen beforehand. In order to be fully prepared and to inculcate application skills in students, a private Literature tutor can help make these come smoothly in the examinations.
Source: GCE O-Level Humanities Syllabus (Literature in English) (page 15)
Humanities (Social Studies and Literature in English):
Comprising of 50% each of the Humanities subject grade and separated evenly between 2 papers (Paper 1: Social Studies, Paper 2: Literature in English), both Social Studies and Literature examinations are greatly dependent on each other for the student to score well. Focusing on the Literature portion, both studying in depth for set texts and having application skills for the unseen literary texts are needed to do well. Hence, a Literature tutor will do well to ensure that the student will be prepared in all these aspects of the examination.
Junior College Literature
In Junior College (JC) Literature is offered in 3 levels - H1, H2 and H3. Particularly for the JC Literature Syllabus, the skills needed for these higher levels examinations are accumulated over time from Secondary School. In order to ensure this foundation is steady and to encourage academic development, Literature tuition can help with doing so.
Source: GCE A-Level Literature H2 Syllabus (page 6)
GCE A-Level Literature
The H2 GCE A-Level Literature subject consists of 2 papers, Paper 1 which is compulsory and Paper 2/ Paper 3 which is an elective paper based on the school’s selection of whether to focus on the time period centred paper (Paper 2) or a topic-centred paper (Paper 3). Generally, students are expected to master comparison skills, application skills and analytical skills among the total of 6 questions that are to be answered in both papers. In order for the candidate to be prepared fully in those areas, extra learning outside normal school hours through literature tuition can prove to very helpful for the improvement of the student’s grades.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme has become an increasingly popular credential to work towards for students. Many of them take Literature as part of their curriculum where they can take the programme in Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL).
Source: English A: Language and Literature- Standard Level (page 2)
The focus on IB Language and Literature is on both unseen texts and set texts, furthermore, emphasising an importance on oral examinations. With this in mind, a private Literature tutor can ensure that students are prepared for unseen texts, set texts and oral assessments when there is more attention given to the student to cater to their academic needs.
Get in Touch with Nanyang Academics!
In short, the study of Literature requires analytical skills, comprehension skills, essay writing skills and argumentative skills. Additionally, students need to apply these skills which require time and practice. Therefore, at Nanyang Academics, we recognise the importance of a qualified and professional Literature tutor to help prime candidates for their examinations. So whether your child is taking GCE O-Level Literature, GCE A-Level Literature or IB Literature, get in touch with us today!