This article describes the Trans-Cultural Comparative Literature Method, an innovative way to use literature to teach advanced English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students
This method originated from the authors’ discovery of common themes and points of view as they compared Turkmen and English literary texts. While the method employs activities associated with Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), it also borrows from techniques associated with the Grammar Translation Method (GT) by focusing on grammar, vocabulary, and limited translation exercises during cultural comparisons of literary texts. Although GT is a widely criticized method, students from some cultures prefer its teacher-centered activities, which include vocabulary drills and the memorization of grammatical rules in a setting that deemphasizes spoken interaction in the target language (the language being learned).
However, since speaking the target language is such an important skill, we have devised a method that melds some of these favored GT techniques with interesting cultural activities that promote meaningful communication among English language learners. This adaptation of GT fits with CLTbecause translation and the study of grammar and vocabulary are notdone in the traditional tedious way; instead, GT techniques are connected with relevant and engaging cultural activities that inspire students to communicate ideas and apply their critical thinking skills outside the classroom. In this article we will explain how our method combines GT and CLT techniques in a lesson plan that engages students with activities that compare and contrast themes and cultural aspects found in two literary texts: one text (already translated into English) from the country where EFL is being taught and another from a country where English is spoken. […]