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Study tips for literature in Kenyan high schools


Date Posted: 6/16/2019 8:00:50 AM

Posted By: Dana05  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 317

During my time in high school, for a long time, English literature had been a nightmare to me. My scores in literature were always below average for a long time and so I took it that I was never good in literature. I accepted my grades for what they were and I barely noticed it that my poor performance in literature was affecting my performance in English as a subject since I was a very good sciences and mathematics student. It took the intervention of my teacher of English to understand the far reaching implications of my poor performance in literature. In addition to bringing to light the consequences of my ignorance, she also gave me study tips for literature that were very helpful and which I would like to share with all students who study literature and would like to perform well in the area.

In Kenyan high schools, they are selected books that learners are required to read. These set books, as they are commonly referred to as, are specifically chosen with the approval of the Ministry of Education. The books chosen are usually a novel, a play and short stories. The first step to performing well in literature lies with these books. You have to read and reread the books as many times as possible. It is not enough to read the books once. You have to read them throughout the time you are taking the subject. This is because it is very easy to forget the content of the books. It is not just enough to know a synopsis of the story but you should master the content of the books. This is because sometimes you might be given an expert from any of the books from which you are required to answer some questions. Sometimes, the

answers to the questions do not come from the expert but the part just before or after the excerpt. You might also be asked about the occurrences just before or after the excerpt.

It also very important to keep short notes from your analysis or that of your teacher on different parts of the book. You may choose to make your notes on the set book next to the specific part of the book you are analyzing or you make choose to keep a separate note book for your literature notes. If you choose to keep a separate notebook, then you should always quote the title of the book, the page, paragraph for a novel or scene for a play and the exact statement or question used in your analysis. Your analysis should not dwell on single subject but should be all rounded. It should include the character analysis, the themes covered both the major and minor themes and the styles of writing used. Notes could also be the opinions of you teacher, mates or your own opinions on a specific area. These varied opinions or views may prove very helpful when handling application questions. Short notes don’t only have to be statements. They can also be questions to probe thinking so as to gain further insight into characters and the themes in the book.

It will also prove helpful to join an active discussion group. Group discussion is a very effective way of learning but might not prove to be due to certain factors. Here are a few tips that may help in making group discussion a fruitful method of studying for you. The group should not have too many or too few members. A good number of members is five. A very large discussion group will bring in the free rider problem. You choose also choose a quiet and conducive place for your group studies. It also important to set a time when you meet for group study. You should elect a group leader and a secretary.

The duties of the group leader is to guide the meetings, call upon people to contribute during meetings and resolve any disputes that may arise between the members for productivity. On the other hand, the secretary schedules the meetings and notes down the points discussed for future reference by interested parties. For efficiency, the secretary choose inform the members the area of discussion beforehand so that everyone prepares thoroughly. As a group member, it is your obligation to prepare for group study before the set date. During group study, you may also decide to go through revision questions to familiarize yourselves with how the questions are set and to see how much and well you understand the content of the set books.

In the course of the group meetings, you should listen attentively to the contributions of the others and can also jot down important points for future reference. If you don’t understand the given part of the set book under discussion or something said by another member, don’t just ignore it. You should ask for clarification from your mates. After the meeting, you can request for notes from the secretary and go through them or if it is possible have the notes send to you. Group study proves very important since literature is multidimensional and is understood differently by different people. Varied views, ideas and opinions are therefore very important in understanding of literature. They are also key in opening one’s mind to new ideas. Group study also enhances your understanding and improves your morale to read since the group sets reading goals and assigns different parts of the set books to be read regularly.

Another tip that is helpful is creating a good relationship with the course or subject teacher. This is because teachers have experience and have in-depth understanding of the set books and prove very helpful during consultations. When you have a good relationship with your teacher, it will very easy to go for clarifications and consultations. They can also give you tips on how to improve your good grades, understand your set books better and the commonly tested areas. Your teacher can also go through past papers with you and explain where and why you went wrong and how you should have answered the questions. If your teacher is unavailable then you can ask for help from another teacher or ask that a tutor be assigned to you. Tutors are often teachers in practice or student assistants. Student assistants are the good performers in a given subject and prove very helpful as they share the tips that they use to perform well.

The last tip is to actively participate during classes. Never miss classes and when you do due to unavoidable circumstances, request for notes from the missed class from your mates or your teacher. Go through the notes and if you don’t understand then you should consult you teacher, mates or tutor as soon as possible. You should listen attentively during class. If you don’t understand anything said during class then you should ask or clarification as soon as possible. You should not let questions pile up as some questions may end up forgotten. You should make short notes during class and later on come up with more comprehensive analysis. Remember to always have to your set book with you for reference during class.
These tips and many others from other sources are very important and helpful too. If you follow them then remain assured that your performance will take a turn for the better.

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