Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number4   December 2021                                    Pp. 153-166

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The Voice of Learners on English Literary Texts: Passing on the Mantle 

Norhanim Abdul Samat
Language Academy
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

Nur Alwani Syahirah Azmi
School of Education
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Tina Abdullah
Language Academy
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia


Received: 11/8/2021                  Accepted:10/26/2021                 Published:12/15/2021


This study examines how pre-service teachers assess the appropriateness of literary texts used by high school students in terms of learners’ age, linguistic needs, and language proficiency. It also aims to determine the relevance of the texts used to learners’ cultural understanding. The participants in this study were five pre-service teachers who participated in a content analysis study of five literary texts. They analyzed the content of the texts using the four categories of textbook evaluation criteria proposed by Tomlinson (2001), namely, media-specific criteria, content-specific criteria, learner-specific criteria, and language criteria. The evaluation results were positive. All participants agreed that all five texts were appropriate for high school learners, with average levels of compliance ranging from moderate to appropriate. In addition to selecting texts that are appropriate for the learners’ language level, the topics and issues addressed in the texts should also be appropriate for the learners’ interest, so the selection of literary texts is crucial. Finally, more local texts should be selected for the English literature curriculum to highlight local cultures and practices. It is expected that this study will contribute to English language teaching as the findings of this study will provide necessary information to those who are concerned with the selection of appropriate literary texts for schools. In addition, this study will raise awareness among teachers and curriculum designers of the need to consider learners’ level of competence when evaluating and selecting from the many literary texts available.
Keywords: content analysis, evaluation, literary text, literature, textbook, cultural background, language proficiency, curriculum designers

Cite as:   Abdul Samat, N., Azmi, N. A. S., &   Abdullah. T. (2021). The Voice of Learners on English Literary Texts: Passing on the Mantle.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 153-166.


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Received: 11/8/2021
Accepted: 10/26/2021
Published: 12/15/2021

Dr. Norhanim Abdul Samat. She had her doctorate in process drama from the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She is a teacher trainer attached to University Teknologi Malaysia.  Her areas of expertise are Applied Literature, Drama Education, Communication and Language Arts Education, Student Development, and Community Learning. ORCiD ID:

Nur Alwani Syahirah Azmi is a part-time lecturer in the Academy of Language Studies at Universiti Teknologi MARA where she taught first-year diploma students Integrated Language Skills. Her areas of interest are literacy studies, creative writing, materials development, and design. ORCiD ID:

Dr. Tina Abdullah: A senior lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with more than 25 years of teaching experience in communication courses for undergraduates and postgraduate levels. Actively involved as a teacher trainer for the Teaching of English as a Second Language program, her areas of interest are in Literature in English Language Teaching, Generative Thinking, Meaning Making, and Materials Development for Classroom Practice.