Civic Virtues and Civic Skills in Literary Texts: Content Analysis on Prevalence and Use, Grades Five to Eight Amharic and English Language Textbooks in Focus

Mengistu Anagaw


Albeit the debates on the usefulness of literary texts, discussions on specific purposes of integrating literary texts in language teaching materials is rare. This study, in a moment the world is witnessing serious deterioration of solidarity and respect for human diversity, attempts to discern how literary texts with civic virtues and skills [in grades five to eight English for Ethiopia and Amharic textbooks] have been presented from the 1970s to date. This purely qualitative content analysis study intends to demonstrate how civic virtues and civic skills are infused in language teaching literary texts. Using content analysis design, the frequency of literary texts is identified, the nature of tasks driven from literary texts is explored and the apparent changes across editions are discriminated. Careful content analysis of the literary texts and activities from it has been made to determine the civic virtues and skills.

A total of sixty three short stories, two riddles, fifteen fables and eight poems were found in thirteen different editions of the English language textbooks. Meanwhile the Amharic textbooks contain a total of twenty five poems, twenty two stories and two theatres and riddles. The findings reveal inconsistencies in the infusion of civic virtues and civic skills in literary texts of different editions. Some recent books explicitly state certain virtues and morals of stories requiring tasks and themes from literary texts while others leave it implicitly. Civility represents civic virtues that is not infused in any of the literary texts. Texts that instill patriotic feelings are common in textbooks used before 1991 while those used afterwards are significantly dire.

DOI: 10.7176/JLLL/69-02

Publication date:June 30th 2020

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