Should Literature Be Taught in School?

I used to be dead against it. Argument: Most pupils do not enjoy most of the stuff they have to do for school. So if they are forced to read literature for school, they come to see it as a chore rather than fun. Hence most people who become avid readers do so not because of, but in spite of school.

My sister, to whom I presented this argument and who used to work in a school which caters to a not-so-advantaged neighbourhood, disagreed. Most of her pupils, she argued, had only a vague idea of the book concept and needed to be told, for example, that there are books in which the author purports to tell the truth and/or his or her opinions (nonfiction) as well as books in which the author told made-up stories (fiction). Hence, she said, it makes an awful lot of sense to teach literature to these kids.

If one accepts both sides of the story, this might lead to the conclusion that literature should be taught to disadvantaged, but not advantaged, youths. Discuss.

(Earlier: What should be taught in school)

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