International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

Literary Texts for Malaysian Secondary Schools: Needs versus Policy
Nor Hashimah Isa, Che Ton Mahmud

Abstract
This paper reports on a two year research sponsored by the Education Ministry of Malaysia on a selection of literary texts needed for Malaysian secondary schools. This selection is perceived and voiced by the students and teachers in a research carried out in the state of Perak, Malaysia. Participants in the research were drawn from teachers and students in non-residential schools in all districts of Perak. A total of 422 secondary school students from Form two to Form five were involved in the cross-sectional survey. A total of six teachers, TESL trained, possess literature learning background and have at least ten years of English language teaching experience in secondary schools were interviewed. The students think that the choice of themes should differ across gender and class levels (Form 2 – Form 5). They feel females like love themes much more than males and this applies for all Form Two to Form Five students, both enjoy mystery and adventurous texts. Texts should be contextual and culturally bound. More local texts should be used. Texts should be happy ones and not morbid. Texts should be suitable for teenagers so that they can relate easily for example themes related to teenagers’ issues. The teachers believe that literary texts used in Malaysian secondary schools are challenging and difficult in terms of the students’ level. Foreign texts used are difficult and should be used at a later stage. Texts should be selected based on Malaysian and Asian context. Foreign texts selected must be easy to be comprehended and enjoyed by Malaysian students.

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