English Language and Literature Education as a Tool for Opinion Formation and Influence


The present world, replete with strong opinions in the form of influencers and media houses, is a difficult place to navigate without the ability to think independently and the confidence to voice ideas. In Ayn Rand’s classic The Fountainhead, Ellsworth Toohey demonstrates the might of words that can mould popular opinion and shape history. In the process, he lays bare the fragility of the collective mind that can be herded in any desired direction by an eloquent articulator. This danger inherent in the inability of an individual to form independent, well-reasoned opinions can be effectively alleviated in the English Language and Literature class. Literary exposure provides readers with opportunities to inspect and analyse the work from their unique point of view. This critical appreciation can help them hone their ability to form opinions and influence listeners using relevant textual evidence. The current study is the result of the observation that despite sufficient exposure to literary texts, learners at secondary and senior secondary levels in India frequently need the teacher’s help in decoding and analysing literary texts. As a result, they become the teacher’s echo instead of an individual voice. This qualitative study used Active Learning techniques to read Literature with different groups of Grade IX learners. It aims to demonstrate that an active engagement with the reading process can help learners become independent readers who can form individual opinions and influence listeners by expressing their ideas using relevant textual evidence.

Author Information
Rashmi Tomar, Trinity College London, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2023
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the SEACE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Tomar R. (2023) English Language and Literature Education as a Tool for Opinion Formation and Influence ISSN: 2435-5240 The Southeast Asian Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2435-5240.2023.57
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2435-5240.2023.57

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