By Ardi Stefa/ Separating the Albanian language from literature from the age of 9, a must!

2023-11-23 07:44:00, Opinione Ardi Stefa


By Ardi Stefa/ Separating the Albanian language from literature from the age of
Education expert, Ardi Stefa

Should the Albanian language be separated from literature as early as in the 9th grade school?

I always develop this debate with my colleagues who teach the subject of Albanian language and literature.

Personally, four years ago I welcomed the separation of the Albanian language from literature in high school, but my long-standing opinion has been that language should be separated from literature as early as in the sixth grade of the 9-year school and in all teaching cycles, because literature begins there where language ends, it is an avoidance of language, a figurative use of it, an extraordinary use of it.

The arguments that I have always defended (in conversations and debates with colleagues) have had to do not only with the scientific side of the issue, but also with the fact that several years of experience as a teacher of these subjects has proven that in high school teachers suffer the consequences of literary deficits carried since she was 9 years old.

Students who come to the tenth grade often do not have sufficient literary knowledge, they do not know the basic concepts of literary theory, they do not know the authors or literary periods, they do not have knowledge of Albanian and world literature, they have not read artistic books, they do not know the figures literary, they lack expressive language and have great difficulties in understanding, analyzing and interpreting literary works.

And this is not only the fault of the teachers or their work in lower secondary education. But also because of the "fusion" of language and literature, a fusion that never had a good enough integration of both disciplines.

The texts of the tradition were only for language and only for literature. Entire generations have learned with these texts and the quality of linguistic and literary education of these generations has been very good. A few years ago, it was switched to another practice, that of integrating the mother tongue with literature and, consequently, in the drafting of a common text. The reason for this fusion was the concern that special language texts gave more importance to the acquisition of theoretical knowledge about the language than to its practical use in different communication situations, speaking and writing habits, which are taught in after all, even the mother tongue at school. In implementing this idea, the designers of the programs and the authors of the integrated language texts have also been influenced by some experiences of other countries.

However, practice showed that learning the Albanian language or even literature with these integrated texts did not achieve the intended or expected objectives. In the circles of teachers and Methodists, there is frequent talk and concern about how to get out of this situation. Learning language through literature and literature through language is a beautiful thing in theory, but difficult to achieve in practice. Maybe also that we don't have qualified forces to put this idea into practice with suitable texts. So, while such texts are difficult to draft, let us return to tradition, which has been positive.

The argument that: "The fusion of these two subjects with each other was a necessity of the time, that we cannot have a pure language without a literary text and we cannot have a literary text without a genuine linguistic analysis." - I think that it doesn't stay.

Why? After all, if we look at the way Albanian language and literature subjects are organized in high school, we will notice two inconsistencies:

In the Albanian language course, students study according to the spiral theory, ie. the language knowledge acquired in the sixth grade expands in the seventh, eighth, ninth grade until, in the twelfth grade, it is fully expanded, at least theoretically. Meanwhile, in the State Matura, students are rather tested for applied language, meaning, analysis and logical interpretation of texts, than for literal language, as a scientific discipline. And this way of testing is right and I totally agree.

While in the subject of literature, this method is not applied. Lessons and authors are treated in a linear way, that is, the knowledge gained about authors or literary currents is not treated continuously, with the expansion of concepts in the above classes, but those authors or literary directions that are studied in the tenth grade, are not mentioned in the eleventh grade. all twelve are simply repeated for the state matura exam (in case the teacher has time or desire to return to them in the few hours of repetition).

On the other hand, the Albanian language texts in the 9-year school are very unclear. They have good linguistic knowledge, but their knowledge of literature leaves much to be desired. There is no program for literature, which should be reflected not only in the reading of compulsory books, especially since there are no other books outside the program, of course, recommended by teachers, so that students of this educational level love the book and through it learn to express, speak, understand, feel, love and perfect the Albanian language.

It is also very strange on the part of the authors of the Albanian language texts in the 9-year cycle, the introduction of texts by different authors, which are incomprehensible for their level. They are texts in the Geg dialect, or in the Albanian language spoken in Kosovo, and that students must be equipped with a phraseological dictionary to understand the terms, events, customs and traditions.

And this is very difficult, not only for students, but also for teachers.

For the students, because they are still small, have no literary culture, generally do not read and have no interest in reading, etc.

It is difficult for teachers, because they address and teach with these students...

During the 9-year school, in a subject where language and literature are artificially and mechanically combined, the student faces an influx of meta-linguistic knowledge. Because it is intended to give as much as possible, the student does not manage to properly process even partially this overloaded program carried out in an insufficient number of hours.

Thus, after a deficient formation in compulsory education, it continues in upper secondary school, where two subjects are developed that are neither language nor literature.

Also, the way 9-year-old texts and programs are built, where four hours of Albanian language, three hours of literature, then two hours of language and four literature, and so on, disorients the students and their literary knowledge remains incomplete.

On the other hand, the way of organizing the language and literature exams for both the Liberation and the State Matura, only in writing, I think leaves a lot to be desired.

One of the goals of language is to speak correctly, while one of the goals of literature is to speak beautifully and expressively. How possible is this to be realized, understood and evaluated only by a written test? And, wouldn't it be good that, at least in Language-Literature, students are tested in writing and speaking?

Literature needs the Albanian language, because beautiful literature without a good, rich and caring language does not exist and cannot exist, but literature also needs the language, because literature itself enriches the language.

Aleksandër Mita, a very talented and experienced teacher, thinks:

"- If the school is a system, then it must have harmony and continuity in all its components.

This means that, since the Albanian language and literature are studied as two separate subjects in the general secondary school, this should also happen in the 9th year.

- Language is a science and Literature is an art.

This means that, based on the different nature of these two fields, they should be studied as separate subjects even in the 9-year school.

- If today we observe that, during daily use in communication, students use the Albanian language badly, it happens that they learn disconnected elements of it.

This means that the language, as a science, must be learned in all the elements of its structure, with a special attention to the implementation of the structure and characteristics of Albanian in communication according to the standards and models of the national literary language.

- When the thought turns into text, we also select the structure organized in logical blocks, based on which a paragraph is built from sentences, a poem from verses, a law from articles, paragraphs, points, letters, etc.

It is time for the exercises to be built according to logical models, to take electronic form and, through special apps, to realize their automated correction.

- If the reasoning of our students is poor, cold and unargued, it happens because the main elements of logic are not studied at school, neither in 9th grade nor in high school.

This raises for discussion the introduction of Logic, as a subject or as elements, within our school system."

As a conclusion, I think that the Albanian language and literature should be developed as separate subjects and with separate texts from the 9-year school. This is how the distribution of hours should be repaired, perhaps equally: 4 hours of language and 4 hours of literature.

A more specialized program for literature should also be integrated, a program not only with authors, but also with books, so that students not only learn, but also love literature and the beautiful word.

Meanwhile, I think that the oral exam, more than the written one, would be very efficient.

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