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Mendive. Revista de Educación

versión On-line ISSN 1815-7696

Rev. Mendive vol.18 no.1 Pinar del Río ene.-mar. 2020  Epub 02-Mar-2020


Original article

The use of Literature in real English use Learning

Rodolfo Acosta Padrón1  *

Nelson Careaga Pendás1

1 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Cuba


The teaching of English assumes today as objective the development of the communicative, interactive and intercultural competence. Then, the real English use is an essential component of this objective. This article shows how the use of literature contributes to the development of the learning process of the real English use in students of foreign languages at the University of Pinar del Río. As theoretical methods were used: the dialectic, the historical, the logic, the systemic and the modeling; as empirical methods were used the class observation, the document analysis and the interview. A strategy composed by a system of actions was proposed. This focuses on the use of comprehensible literary texts and interactive tasks for students to work in and out of the classroom. The tasks draw students `attention to the way writers use linguistic forms to express communicative functions and intentions. The strategy was implemented during two years with the first and second year English students. Satisfactory results were obtained in terms of the learning of English, and likewise students were introduced in the field of literature as a means to widen their cultural background and strengthen moral values. The strategy provided a positive impact in the students learning culture, particularly in building a psychology for success, in learning outside the classroom, and in their attitude towards English as an instrument of real communication.

Keywords: learning; communication; English; literature; real use; culture


The command of the English language is a growing need worldwide due to the possibilities it offers for international communication. In Cuba, particularly, it is part of the education of the new generations, while it satisfies the needs of people who will use English as an instrument of communication for professional, cultural and social reasons. Consequently, the training of teachers of the English language is a priority in Cuban universities. The professors of the English training should achieve the development of communicative competence, which includes today's interactive and intercultural skills, according toAcosta, Pérez, & Vasconcellos, (2016).

In the career of Foreign Languages of the University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saiz Montes de Oca" a research project called "Creating a new culture develops language learning”, aimed at promoting a change in the conception of the teaching and learning Tongue as foreign professors and students. According toAcosta Padrón & Moisés Gómez (2017), one of the dimensions of the new culture of learning languages is the actual use of English. As part of this project, the work with the literary text is proposed to contribute to the process of learning the real use of English in students of the discipline of Integral practice of the English Language (PILI).

Obviously, communicative, interactive and intercultural competence implies the acquisition of real use of English to understand and produce oral and written speech efficiently. If we Consider the opinion ofAcosta Padrón & Moisés Gómez (2017), this issue has not yet been solved , because there is no culture of the English learning that encompasses all the dimensions that influence this process, including: the believes students and teachers have about language and language learning, the rational use of technology, connectivity with the world and with himself, the learning meaningful, thoughtful , friendly and socializing(Acosta Padrón & Alfonso Hernández, 2015), learning outside the classroom(Acosta Padrón & García Escobio, 2015), the general culture of the student, the psychology of success(Acosta Padrón & García Escobio, 2017)and learning the actual use of English. It is in the last sense that this article offers a proposal for the use of literature as a pedagogical resource for learning the real use of English, in the Foreign Languages Career of the University of Pinar del Río.

In the definition of communicative competence offered byEllis (1995), the use of language is clearly expressed in the pragmatic dimension when it states: "The communicative competence includes the knowledge that the speaker-listener has of what constitutes both linguistic behavior appropriate as correct, and also of what constitutes efficient linguistic behavior in relation to particular communicative objectives. That is, it includes both, linguistic knowledge and pragmatic knowledge. The communicative action consists in the real use of these two types of knowledge in the understanding and production of discourse". (p. 13)

However, it is worth considering the distinction is established by Widdowson (1978) as cited inAcosta & Vasconcellos, (2017)between the use of the language referring to the function of the word, phrase or other element, as part of a communication system (Use) and the function of that element within the linguistic system (Usage). With regard to use, the author does not refer to the actual use of the language, but does not exclude it.

For its part, the actual use of the English language is defined byHoge (2019)as the English native speakers actually use with their friends, their family res workers and colleagues. To say Hoge, the common everyday English the used constantly, daily. It includes daily communication phrases as slang, expressions language, cultural references, filler words, natural rhythm of English, jokes, double meanings and many others. It refers to English that is rarely found in textbooks, which have been designed for language learning.

However, the actual use of the English language, as a young topic at last, has been the subject of research by some authors, includingHoge (2019), with a whole conception of real use of English that directly impacts everyone the didactic components In this sense, only the investigations ofAcosta Padrón & Moisés Gómez (2017),Acosta & Vasconcellos (2017)andAcosta & Vigil (2019)are registered in Cuba. These authors have put their ideas into practice through their book:Learn Real English Use!, used in the Integral English Language Practice discipline and in experimental courses in Pinar del Río.

In another order of things, literature has been broadly defined in various ways. However, for the purposes of this article, the definition offered byLazar (1993) is used, "Literature are those novels, short stories, works and fiction poems that convey their messages, paying considerable attention to the rich and multiple language in its strata." (p.3)

In this same sense, although literature is as old as society itself, its history as a pedagogical resource is relatively young. However, there is a wide range of research related to the subject, some aimed at the development of literary competence and others aimed at language learning. No research is recorded that establishes relationships between literature and learning the actual use of English.

On the other hand, the research carried out on the use of literature in favor of learning English uses the language- based approach, while literature aimed at literary competence uses content- based and personal enrichment approaches. For the purposes of this research, the language- based approach is of interest as long as it does not aspire to achieve literary competence, even if it benefits. As notedLazar (1993), "If we use literature as a resource, then we should not teach literary competition, but it is possible that students begin to acquire through their interaction with literary texts". (P.14)

Materials and methods

From the observation in classes, the oral interview and the review of documents, the process of teaching English from the culture of learning was characterized, with emphasis on the actual use of English and the use of literature as a resource for development of the object competition. From this diagnosis, a strategy proposal with methodological actions was developed to put into practice the use of literature as a resource for learning the real use of English, in the training of English teachers.

The research developed was mixed, using quantitative and qualitative approaches, with participatory action research. The selected sample consisted of three professors that make up the P ILI discipline and 60 students from the first and second years of the Foreign Languages career. Is assumed the dialectical method materialistic as a general method and based on this is the theoretical methods used: the history, the logical modeling, analysis and synthesis, induction, deduction and as empirical methods were used: the documentary analysis, class observation and oral interview with students and teachers.

The expert criterion was used as a method to assess the feasibility and validity of the proposed strategy and the pre-experiment to evaluate its effectiveness. Also, a group interview to students and teachers to gather information about literature as a resource for learning the actual use of English from the discipline PILI was used. For information processing, descriptive statistics techniques were used to interpret and present the information through tables and graphs.

In order to evaluate the behavior of the process of learning the actual use of English in the career is the assumed operational definition proposed by Acosta & Vasconcellos (op.cit.), in which it identifies a set of indicators to measure the teaching of use Real English. Thus, the information provided instruments processed and determined the strengths and weakness that exist in the Integral practice of English language to contribute to the development of the actual use of English. This allowed us to identify the problems marked by limited use of the work with the actual use of English and identify the literary text as a source for this purpose.


The present article proposes the use of literature as a resource for teaching and learning the actual use of English as a component of communicative competence, interactive and intercultural. The proposed texts and organized work around these , is a sample for use with groups of students career, while a way to generalize procedures and techniques that can be used or adapted to other contexts of learning English at various levels of education. Similarly, the strategy and actions suggested may be adapted to new teaching contexts.

1- Diagnosis of the use of literature and the actual use of English

Learning the actual use of English in the context of training English teachers is an imperative in the current circumstances in two directions, one to enhance the development of their own communication skills and the other to improve their professional work as English teachers, at the levels of education, in which they will teach the language. The English teacher acts in his professional environment as an intercultural mediator. This reveals the aspiration that students in Cuba, at any educational level, can get to interact intercultural, using the English that is imposed as alingua franca.Due to the above, the need for greater interaction of students with the actual use of English and not only with English in textbooks and other materials intended to travel through a classroom course is manifested .

Acosta Padrón & Moisés Gómez (2017)is Nalan a dimension of a new culture of language learning is precisely the emphasis on the actual use of English and propose the following indicators to measure this dimension (p.6):

  • If they teach and are slangs, idioms, common phrases, contractions, functions, interactions, functional grammar learning.

  • If auditions of texts of real use of the language are heard.

  • If texts specially prepared for this purpose or actual use texts are read.

  • If the components of the texts of actual use of the language are analyzed.

  • If the traditional structural graphics or communicative and interactive methodologies are used.

In this sense the class observation method used to characterize the current state of the use of literature as a resource for teaching real English usage, reveals that:

  • The use of real language texts for auditions is low and auditions of texts specially prepared for learning are high.

  • The presence of slangs is sporadic and infrequent, while common phrases and functions are limited to those suggested by the discipline program and the textbook.

  • It is used frequently explanation of traditional grammar structure to and no functional grammar from the actual texts.

  • The analysis of the actual use of English from real oral texts and writings is not frequent.

For its part, the method of documentary analysis reveals that:

The first-year textbook,Integrated English Practice I, is rich in specially crafted texts for learning English, which are used for listening and reading comprehension. Emphasize traditional grammar, word formation and pronunciation, with little attention to the components of actual English use: slangs, phrases commonly used in real situations, as well as texts, phrases, ideas and dialogues of films and others sources with emphasis on use.

On the other hand, the topics are far from the needs and interests of the students while not reflecting the richness of events in today's world. Frequent are the issues trivial and of little interest to college students as the first day at school, Parkview Street, a visit to the apartment Margaret, etc. Finally, the p program of the discipline and the textbook does not consider the use of literature as a resource to stimulate learning the actual use of language.

Likewise, the method of oral interviewing students and professors corroborates the previous data and shows that:

Students in first and second year of the career of Foreign Languages at the University of Pinar del Río are highly motivated for learning English as a foreign language (100% evaluates their motivation 4 or 5 points) .The students and teachers expressed that the topics covered in classes are not quite interesting and little s reflect their concerns. The teachers add that they faithfully follow the Program and the textbook.

In another order of things, the students express their satisfaction with the quality of the classes, but they recognize, like the teachers, that they should learn more real, communicative, interactive, emotional and cultural English. In addition, they add that the classes could be more creative and original in terms of the uniform and repetitive methodology used. Both, teachers and students, fully accept the need and the real possibility of approaching the literature, and from it, "inject" learning the language, particularly its actual use.

The diagnosis reveals the needs of students regarding the use of literature to achieve the learning of the real use of English, as a pragmatic dimension of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence. Therefore, followingAcosta Padrón & Moisés Gómez (2017), it is worth implementing the interactive methodology as a methodological platform that focuses on the skills to interact with others and reflect on the actual use of the language. To do this, they suggest texts, tasks and procedures that contextualize the language in real situations, with attention to the study of various records and comprehensively addressing texts from movies, shows, speeches, etc. . (p.3). In addition, it is suggested to use other sources of real use of English such as announcements, messages, letters, emails and literary texts.

2- Literature and the actual use of English

Currently, the role of literature, as a source of authentic texts, has gained international importance within the context of teaching English as a foreign language. There is a marked debate about how, when, where and why literature should be incorporated into the curriculum for teaching English.

The reasons that support the use of literary texts in the teaching of the real use of English are varied.Collie and Slater (1990)have four fundamental reasons for using literary texts for teachers of English. First, those literary texts constitute authentic materials for learning; second, they contribute a rich enrichment to the students; third, they bring great linguistic enrichment to teachers and students; and fourth, provide the necessary personal involvement with the text.

In the literary text, the real use of English is appreciated as long as the language used is authentic, of real use in real situations and with a wide wealth of linguistic forms, vocabulary and grammatical structures that the authors put in the mouth of dissimilar characters of Different social and cultural strata. The literary text reflects the culture and identity that underlies each social layer and each individual that is reflected by the concretion of a character in a literary text.

The literary text can then be a resource to support the process of learning the actual use of English. Some authors have developed various experiences in this regard and propose to include the literary text in learning English, including: (Cook, 1995;Hanauer, 2001;Carroli, 2008andKramsch, 2017).

On the other hand,Lazar (1993)argues that the use of literature in the teaching of English is more efficient once the elementary level is finished, while recognizing its use at this level as well. The authors of this article have used in elementary and intermediate levels corresponding the first three years the career of Foreign Languages at the University of Pinar del Rio and have been successful in both cases. Of course, the levels of linguistic and pragmatic analysis achieved are higher at the intermediate level due to the benefits that the greater mastery of English language students already possesses.

Similarly,Lazar (1993)argues that it is not the same to use literature with English language learners, than to use it with the aim of achieving literary competence (p.3). In the case we are dealing with, literature is a pedagogical resource for the development of communication skills thanks to the use models it offers, without this meaning giving up the benefits that in terms of literary competence it brings.

On the other hand, the consideration of the interests and needs of the students for the selection of literary texts and the organization of the tasks around them is assumed. In addition, it is worth remembering the role of the comprehensibility in the input information of students through the literary manifestations that arise. The idea is that all text must be understandable for students and meet their needs. No less important is knowing how to take students from literary text to oral and written communication in English, as well as the analysis of meanings in literary text.

3- Strategy for the use of literature

A strategy involves a set of actions. In the present case, it is a strategy with methodological actions aimed at the instrumentation of literature as a resource for learning the real use of English. These actions have arisen from the practical experience of the authors in the use of literature in the English classes of the first two years of Plan E, in the Foreign Languages career at the University of Pinar del Río.

Basic actions of the strategy

  • Explore the interests, needs and potential and educative, linguistic, psychological and cultural characteristics of the students.

  • Selection of understandable texts that respond to the needs of the students.

  • Development of interactive learning tasks organized around each literary text.

  • The use of texts and tasks in the classrooms of the four years of the "E" Plan.

  • The assessment of the use of texts and, tasks, in order to specify their cognitive and affective impact on students.

Some complementary actions of the strategy

  • Develop teaching materials with texts and summaries of understandable texts for students of the four years of the " E " Plan.

  • Implement postgraduate courses aimed at teachers who need to deepen in English language literature.

  • Suggest readings of literary texts in English outside the classroom.

  • Connect students with literary texts through reference to movies, series, novels, poems and literary works.

  • Disseminate book titles, authors, topics, phrases, anecdotes and presentations on murals, classes, events, and conversations with colleagues and students.

  • Share personal experiences with literary texts with students.

  • Facilitate the reading of varied literary texts in English with creative, original tasks, in class and outside of it.

  • Promote understanding and discussion about the socio-historical context of the work, the author and the characters, using simple English.

  • Emphasize the analysis and use in the context of idiomatic phrases, colloquial, structures with grammatical flexibilities, etc.

  • Stimulate the writing of poems and short stories.

  • Use the class as a cultural center in its literary dimension.

  • Use short stories and poems to introduce themes, communicative functions, grammar and vocabulary.

  • Use literary text to promote interest and motivation for the language.

The strategy and its methodological actions will be based on theInteractive Language Teaching(Padron & Alfonso Acosta Hernandez, 2007 and 2015), taken as a line of methodological work in the Foreign Languages career. Therefore, the values of the text and the reflexive social interaction that are generated around the text constitute the guiding principle for the design of the use of literature.

4- Texts and tasks for the real use of English

The texts present the samples or models of real use, while the tasks attract the attention of the students towards the uses of the language, at the same time as they favor the analysis and the use of these uses in new communicative situations created for this purpose. Texts and assignments can be presented to students orally and in writing. For example, the poemMy People, by Langston Hughes (1902-1967) can be recorded, or read directly by the teacher, in order to train the audition, and later perform the semantic-pragmatic analysis with the written text. The student will always travel from the text to the context, in a continuous coming and going from one to another, highlighting the communicative, linguistic, cultural and educational values of the text, without losing sight of the fact that the objective is to learn oral and written English in the understanding and production of socially contextualized speeches.

The selection of texts going through important aspects are the linguistic and cultural level of students, the interweaving of the individual needs of students with socio-cultural and ideological standards of our society. The selection of progressive authors and representative texts from their cultures and historical contexts. In addition to texts with a real use of English varied in their genres, literary forms and cultural origin. A below shows examples of text s and tasks that can be used in the four years of the Plan E, with different levels of depth depending on l year, or serve as models to select new texts and to elaborate tasks as appropriate.

Activity 1

The text that is then used is a dialogued fragment belongs to the playA Train Named Desire. Play of the American writer and playwright Tennessee Williams (1911- 1983). It is considered as one of the work s classic s the American theater masterpiece of this author.

Drama. Fragment from A Streetcar Named Desire.

(Two men come around the corner, Stanley and Mitch… Stanley carries a red-stained package from a butcher's. They stop at the foot of the steps and…)

Stanley:(bellowing)Hey there! Stella, baby...

(Stella comes out on the first floor landing…)

  • Stella: Don't holler at me like that. Hi Mitch

  • Stanley: Catch!

  • Stella: What?

  • Stanley: Meat!

(He heaves the package at her (…) she manages to catch it… the two men start back around the corner.)

  • Stella:(calling after him)Stanley! Where are you going?

  • Stanley: Bowling!

  • Stella: Can I come watch?

  • Stanley: Come on.

a. Comprehension Read the text and discuss in pairs.

What is the conversation about?

Who are the people in the conversation?

What does Stanley bring to Stella?

b. Understanding real English. Find in the text real English forms equivalent to these standard forms:

  • I am going to play bowling.

  • Can I go with you to watch the game?

c. Using real English. Dramatize the situation and enlarge it. Play the role of Stanly and Stella, dramatize this situation, and continue improvising by expressing the mood of the characters.

d. Find this literary work and read it on your own to write a summary. Get ready to comment the abridged version in class.

Activity 2

This text is taken from the work,By whom the bells ring,war novel published in 1940, by Ernest Hemingway who participated in the Spanish Civil War as a war correspondent.

Novel Fragment fromF or Whom the Bell Tollsby the American writer Ernest Hemingway.

The incident narrated here takes place during the Spanish Civil War. In the forest, a group of guerrilla-men prepares to blow up a bridge. But Pablo, a Spanish guerrilla-man insults Robert Jordan, a young American who voluntarily joined the rebels.

"Pablo is drunk," Primitivo said. "Pay him no heed,English."

"I do not think he is so drunk," Robert Jordan said

"I don't believe you can drink," he said to Pablo. "Nor that you're drunk."

"I am drunk," Pablo said with dignity. "To drink is nothing. It is to be drunk that is important. "I am so drunk

"I doubt it," Robert Jordan told him. "Cowardly, yes." (Text continues)

Comprehension Read and discuss.

  • Who are the people in the situation?

  • What are they going to do? When?

  • How do you consider Pablo and Robert relationship?

Reported speech. Find in the text the required information and report it.

Primitive said that Pablo was drunk.

  1. What did Primitivo say at the beginning of the conversation?

  2. What did Robert Jordan answer to Primitive?

  3. What did Robert tell Pablo when he said he was drunk?

Acting out. Speaking like drunk

Play the role of Pablo and Robert and improvise a conversation in this situation.

Writing Include a new character in this situation. Re-write a fragment with your new character created by yourself.

Activity 3 The poemA Model,by the American writer Charles Bukowsky (1920 - 1994), an important exponent of Dirty Realism in the United States constitutes a simple tribute to the simple man.

Poem A Model. It is a poem written by the American poet Charles Bukowski.

"A Model" by Charles Bukowski

I want to be like that

Man Who Entered the



I parked right in


of the front


blocking off a good many

parked cars, (The poem continue)

Comprehension Answer these questions in pairs.

  • What is the poem about?

  • What is the intention of the author?

  • What did the man in the poem do tonight?

  • Say in Standard English these forms:then slammed his car, door shut.

Discussion. Discuss the following questions in small groups.

  • What do you think about the man's social behavior and language?

  • How do you imagine the man is like and look like?

  • Would this man be a model to you? Why?

Acting out. Work in pairs and act out the situation narrated in the poem.

Creation. Write a poemnarrating in versesa set of actions done by a real person who is a model to you.

Activity 4 This text contains a dialogue taken from the novelThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer.Nowadays it is considered a masterpiece of universal literature. It is a novel written by Mark Twain (1835-1910), an American writer belonging to Realism who reflected in his work the reality of nineteenth-century American society.

Novel A fragment from the novelThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a novel by the American writer Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) and published in 1876. Quarreling like kids.

  • Read the dialogue from the novel and discuss what it is about.

  • Play the role of Tom and the other boy and quarrel like this.


Tom walked along the street, whistling like a bird. Then I got a stranger, a boy a little larger than he was. Then Tom said:

Tom: I can beat you.

Boy: Try.

Tom: I can.

Boy: No, you cannot.

Tom: I can.

Boy: You cannot.

Tom: I can

Boy: You cannot

Tom: Can!

Boy: Cannot! (The dialogue continues)

Activity 5 The poem" The 10 things I hate most of you"is considered one of the most interesting poems selected by youth, published on the Internet. It is ranked among the ten most beautiful movie texts in 2017. It has been taken from the movie of the same name, released by ABC Family in 2009.

"10 things I hate about you"


Kat, in spite of being betrayed by Patrick, expresses her feeling through a poem entitled "10 things I hate about you".

I hate the way you talk to me,

And the way you cut your hair

I hate the way you drive my car

I hate it when you stare

I hate your big dumb combat boots,

And the way you read my mind

I hate you so much it makes me sick (The poem continues) Before Reading

  • Think about and mention some strong common feelings.

  • Mention things you love and things you hate.

  • Kat wrote a poem to Patrick entitled10 things I hate about you.What kind of relationship do you imagine there is between them?

  • Under what circumstances do you imagine she wrote the poem?

While reading. Comprehension. Read and answer these questions.

  • Why does Kat write the poem?

  • Mention things Kat hate s about Patrick

  • Does Kat really hate Patrick? What gives you the idea?

After reading

  • Discuss in small groups and give your own version why Kat says theseI hate…continue the lines

I hate the way you talk to me, because… ___________

I hate the way you drive my car, because… _________

I hate it when you stare, because… _________ (exercises continue)



In Cuba, in the context of training English teachers, work with literary texts has traditionally been inserted in the different curricula in the discipline related to the life, history and culture of English-speaking peoples and the English Literature discipline. The most recent attempts to go beyond the limits of these disciplines can be seen in the LanguageInteractive Teachingof (Acosta Padrón & Alfonso Hernández, 2007), in which the work is proposed the literary texts using textual analysis: semantic-pragmatic, the integral analysis of texts and the theory of the octants. Other experiences related to the use of literary texts in the teaching of English, appear in the article,Teaching foreign languages from the Latin American contextofAcosta Padrón, García Escobio, & Carcedo García (2018)in which actions with texts are proposed Journalistic and literary Latin American context for the development of linguistic and communicative skills.

The use of literary text in the context of training English teachers brings benefits as long as:

  • Literary texts contain the actual use of English. These texts are not designed for educational purposes, so they are not adapted for language teaching. They can speak a spoken or written language in real contexts of daily life, which facilitates the contextualization of the language.

  • The use of literary texts provides a great cultural enrichment because through them the students seize knowledge of their own culture, of the cultures of the people who speak the language they learn and of the universal culture.

  • The use of literary texts provides a great linguistic enrichment to students as they appear in a wide variety of linguistic forms placed in contexts. It shows the variety and richness of the language that is learned, variety of universal and particular topics, as well as the characteristics of oral and written language.

  • The use of literary texts facilitates the personal involvement of the student with the text. It identifies and sympathizes with characters, with the author, with certain actions and criteria, while rejecting certain behaviors.

  • The student recreates the text and forms feelings, values and convictions.

These benefits are seen in the selected fragment in the activity 1, the play A streetcar called Desire, which contains a unique dialogue between a marriage. The conversation reflects the authenticity of the way these Stanley and Stella characters speak. The text contains an economic language, with short forms that provide students with linguistic courses to assume real communication, with an informal and colloquial language. With the use of omission and ellipsis in the linguistic forms used. E n this dialogue reveals a way to make real use of English, it is not commonly taught in textbooks or instructional materials. Grammatically, it is or spawns great flexibility linguistics.

Likewise, the benefits of literature in Activity 4 are revealed, in the text taken fromThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerthat shows, in an authentic way, a conversation between two children. Grammatically contrast allows the use of modal verbcanand the verb be used positive and negative in the first way and the second person singular, by repeating them in a small argument between the two children.

On the other hand, in activity 5, the poem,10 Things I Hate Most about You, grammatically offers the repetition of a commonly used rhetorical pattern, which students learn with relative ease. The pattern is: "I hate the way you talk to me ..." "... in which you cut your hair." "... How do you drive my car?" This grammatical pattern appears in ten verses of the poem. Similarly, the text is used:"Harry Burns, When Harry Met Sally". 1989 film related to the life of two ambitious Manhattan professionals who began hating each other and after twelve years ended up loving each other.These two texts offer students opportunities to experience strong sensations and emotions, to the point that many of them end up learning the poem completely, or at least, saying one of their verses. The characters, young as university students, allow them to assume their roles or put themselves in their shoes.

In activity 2, the text taken from Hemingway's novel A,For Whom the bells ring, presents a plot that takes place in Spain during the Civil War and focuses on the story of Robert Jordan, a professor of American Spanish, who Fight as an explosives specialist on the Republican side. From a grammatical point of view, the text offers in a contextualized and coherent way the pattern for indirect discourse. The characters use this grammatical pattern in their conversations. Students can inductively learn this grammatical structure. Likewise, the students enter the Spanish Civil War (1939-1941) as a historical event that shook humanity.

In activity 3, the poemA Model,by the American writer Charles Bukowsky (1920-1994), allows students to deviate from the stigma and prejudice that poetry is always romantic and naive. In a simple way and with literary freedoms, the author narrates a daily, common fact, apparently without transcendence, with an authentic language, of real use. Grammatically it offers one different varied vocabulary, with flexible forms and structures that reveals linguistic variety in actual use of English.

The use of literary text in English class in the context of language teacher training facilitates interaction with:

  • General culture, arts, politics, science, ethics and aesthetics.

  • Traditions, values and history of the people.

  • Real life, the world and its diversity.

  • The formation of literary competence.

  • The construction of literary texts inductively.

  • Real communication, social skills and behavioral norms.

  • The actual use of English from different contexts (Latin American, Caribbean, African, North American, European).

The texts and the tasks allow to put into practice the methodological procedures proposed byAcosta and Vasconcellos (2017) To help students learn the actual use of English (p. 7), namely oral interaction with students to activate their knowledge through natural and spontaneous conversation; the analysis of simple oral or written texts that constitute sources of real English ; and the analysis of texts, phrases, ideas and dialogues of films and other sources with emphasis on use.

The actual use of English, from the literary text, is permeated by the culture, identity and idiosyncrasy of who speaks, through constant cultural references in the discourse; it is contextualized based on individual and social circumstances that reveal reality; it is expressed by a natural intonation, marked by communicative intension; and has vocabulary according to the situation and a flexible grammar, with presence of slangs, idioms, sentences language, etc.

Literature as a learning resource of the real use of English propitious today an approach of students of the XXI century; so focused on technology and audiovisual, literary text. This resource does not deny the use of technology and other formats for transmitting information or other types of texts. On the contrary, it is proposed to integrate those for the cultural, linguistic and humanistic training of language teachers at the University of Pinar del Río Hermanos Saíz. In addition, the literary text already inhabits the most diverse technological formats of today that facilitate the approach of these to students. Likewise, the use of contemporary literature allows us to recognize that the English language is no longer the preservation of some nations, but it is now used globally. (Lazar, 1993, p.5)

Students are stimulated by identifying with a character or being indignant with a fact and manifest themselves in a meaningful way, using English orally and in writing. Likewise, they are surprised to find a wide variety of ways to express an idea that they rigidly conceived in a single way. To add the speech with greater linguistic flexibility, focus on the communication of their feelings, emotions, conceptions, ethical and moral values and individual positions. In addition, they gain confidence because they enrich their vocabulary and improve their pronunciation through contact with the actual use of English. On the other hand, they develop reflective thinking and learn literary resources, which allow them to grow as human beings and education professionals.

The implementation of the system of actions and activities with literary texts allows students to develop a grammatical awareness and appropriate grammar patterns appropriately, reproduce structures and forms significantly and incorporate new linguistic forms. It also helps motivate students to use English to express their opinions, value, express their ideas, agree or dissent openly, thereby increasing their participation and the use of English in real situations.

This experience raises the humanist sensitivity and general culture of the students, as it allows them to interact with aspects of different cultures and compare them with their own. It also allows student's access to vocational training pedagogical broader, with one cultural and educational support. At the same time, it illustrates how the resources in our hands can be exploited more effectively within for the learning of English, using materials that contain the real use of English and allows stimulating the creativity of teachers and students to undertake the great challenge that means learn a foreign language.

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Received: April 22, 2019; Accepted: September 03, 2019

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