Reasons for studying language arts and literature

One question I get sometimes is why should language arts and literature be studied?

One answer could be the wish to learn how to persuade, inform or entertain. Another answer could be to want to learn to look for opinion reasons, facts and information as well as interpreting the world and people as well as their problems.

On this English Philology Basics studies course, we’ve read short stories, written countless academic essays and a learning journal, held speeches; we have done work in pairs, groups and individually. We have familiarized ourselves with the British & the American societies, taken a look at linguistics as a science and practiced English grammar.

It makes us better at giving advice on

  • what to read
  • how to better understand what you’ve read
  • how to use correct grammar
  • how to write better essays
  • how to write to persuade, inform or entertain

We are also better equipped to help (existing or future) students understand different cultures.

It feels like the course is over now, now that the last contact days and workshops are over (even though we have a couple of distance study assignments left). When all of the required assignments are done, for this course, there’s still more for us to learn too, so many are going to continue on the intermediate course in the fall.

The pair presentations delivered during the last contact study weekend contained serious issues like women’s rights and the freedom of speech. 

Content viewed as inappropriate for teenagers or related to teenage sexuality, pornography, obscenity, occultism, witchcraft, racial issues, violence, bestiality, promoting damaging lifestyles and rebellion as well as religion (e.g. blasphemy) have all been reasons for censorship or banning books. The long list of taboos and possible censorship issues should also be taken into consideration when planning to teach. Taboos can also vary depending on the culture; literature suitable to use to teach in Finland might not be suitable in the United States.

One pair of presenters last weekend talked about art as an aesthetic experience that brings up ideas with the potential to educate the whole person (Dewey) in their presentation. They reminded us of the words of Lionel Trilling on why we should study arts in the first place. We should study (and teach?) arts because:

It yields more truth than any other intellectual activity – (Lionel Trilling)

Literature makes it possible for us, human beings, to experiment and experience almost anything safely. This youtube video by the School For Life describes literature very well too, as the greatest reality simulator. 


These are some of the reasons for why language arts and literature should be studied, I’m sure there are more. See you in the intermediate course!



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