Monday, October 25, 2010

Bibliotheraphy - Text as the Key to the Soul


Rublin 1993:331 mentions that bibliotheraphy is considered "reading guidance given by teachers and librarians to help students with their personal problems.

It is defined as “the use of books to help individuals to cope better with their problems.”

In bibliotheraphy, students are encouraged to find answers in a positive, intellectual and logical ways.

Literature texts in all genres are used to help these students to understand themselves better. This understanding is essential for mental and physical health and fulfilment.

If fiction is able to reflect for the reader his complicated and sometimes shameful feelings, he feels less alone. He is, as if were, given permission to think and to feel those things that he has considered unacceptable.” (Gillies, 1988)

The selected literature texts will enable the students to see that there are many solutions to their problems. Bibliotheraphy presents facts that the students need to solve/face their problems. It creates an outlet for the students to channel their emotional and behavioural problems and come out with solutions.

It encourages the students to plan pratical course of action and carry it out. As the result they can confront their problems effectively. There are four activities related to bibliotheraphy:

1. Group discussion on the characters of the text.
2. Watching films
3. Simulation and role playing
4. Writing about experiences

1. Anxiety and anger
2. Dealing with loss
3. Experiences related to death
4. Dealing with love

Students need to be exposed to positive ways in dealing with human issues such as:
1. Tragedy
2. Happiness
3. Hate
4. Love
5. Conflicts

Literary texts can withstand the test of time and culture.

Shakespearean plays often changed to suit the society in the 15th century. However, the plays are still relevant until today for their universal values in the rise and fall of the heroes and villains. The moral, political, social issues also make the play relevant today.

Nowadays, the focus is less on the deeds of heroes and villains but rather the psychoanalytic and dialectic perspectives. Human experiences and human conditions are touched, shared and imparted from the teacher to the students and vice versa.

Literature proves the best opportunity to see and feel how the English language is used to describe and to tell the experience within culture and traditions of the people using it. Simmons and Deluzai (1991) suggest four important psychological implications that a literature teacher should consider:

1. Empathy
 correlative experience deals with background knowledge that the students have in relation to the content of the materials read. As they read, readers ask themselves how happenings in their lives can be related to what is happening in the text.

2. Verisimilitude
 young adults have different perception of reality from children and adult. The theme of self definition and initiation to adulthood are good for teenagers.

3. Suspension
 a teacher needs to take into consideration on how willing are the students to believe what is not real.

4. Symbolism
 Critical reading skills are important so that the students are aware of the possible relationship of literary symbols with the fundamental human experience. Adolescents have limited human experiences. Therefore, the texts and the teacher need adapt to this limitation.

Bibliotheraphy can be used for a variety of reasons to help children overcome problems or situations they are facing or may face. Children have many needs that should be addressed to help them develop a positive self-concept. Physiological needs are the most basic needs that must be met.

Children also must feel safe, loved, and the need to belong in a group (family, school, peer or other)

If these needs are met through the use of bibliotheraphy, the child will be able to accomplish the following:

1. Develop a more positive sense of themselves.
2. Learn about the world
3. Cope with stress
4. Provide insight into problems
5. Affirm thoughts and feelings
6. Stimulate discussions about problems,
7. Create an awareness of others that have similar problems
8. Provide solutions to problems
9. Communicate new values and attitudes
10. Find meaning in life

These are all goals that a facilitator would like to accomplish when implementating bibliotheraphy (Comett et. Al, 1980; Alex, 2006; Jackson & Nelson, 2002-04)

Select a short story, poem and a novel that can help students deal with:
1. School bully
2. Heart break
3. Nasty teacher
4. First crush

Create a simple activity for each selected text. The teaching aids must be in the form of high and low tech.

-B.Ed TESL cohort 4,UPM-IPG KTI (2010)

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