The ABC Approach to Literature in the EFL Classroom


Pädagogische Hochschule Oberösterreich
Projektleitung gesamt
Kennedy, Melissa Jane; Dr. BA. MA. Prof.
Projektleitung intern
Kennedy, Melissa Jane; Dr. BA. MA. Prof.
Interne Projektmitarbeiter/innen
Spann, Harald; HS-Prof. Mag. DDr. Prof.
Externe Projektmitarbeiter/innen
Born-Lechleitner, Ilse; Mag. Dr.
Huber, Susanne; Mag. Dr.
Kreutner, Edith; Mag. Dr.
Ratheiser, Ulla; Ass.-Prof. Dr.
Reichl, Susanne; Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Spöttl, Carol; Dr.
2020 – 2024
1.) Problemaufriss

The ABC Approach research project reintroduces literature into the NMS/AHS classroom by developing teaching methodologies in the B.Ed English programme. The project responds to demands for curriculum development at multiple levels. In the 2000s, changes in the Austrian school curriculum (eg. the Standardisierte Reifeprüfung) inadvertently led to the loss of literature and cultural media in the NMS/AHS English as a Foreign Language (EFL) syllabus currently taught in schools, despite the fact that the curriculum claims the importance of literature for addressing social issues and ‘conveying value-oriented thought and behaviour’ (BMUKK, Lehrplan Lebende Fremdsprache). Recognising this gap between theory and praxis, the 2018 Companion to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) added a whole new section of guidelines for literature, which this research project works to apply. Development of the ABC approach also aligns with the need for curriculum development within the Cluster Mitte English programme to re-orientate the University of Salzburg’s old B.A. to fulfil the requirements of the new B.Ed.
The theoretical part of the project researches the above problematic in three dimensions:
1.) Action research of EFL literature in NMS/AHS classrooms.
2.) Development of EFL literary pedagogy in the Cluster-Mitte English curriculum.
3.) Contributions to literature in education theory.

Preliminary work on this topic has identified a pedagogy of literary education that can fulfil the aims, emphases and requirements of the NMS/AHS curriculum, CEFR Companion, and the Cluster-Mitte B.Ed curriculum. The ABC approach is a synthesis of three major methodologies: A for analysis (formal literary theory taught in universities), B for book response (reader-centred response favoured in schools) and C for creativity (for the motivation to read and for the skills output necessary for assessment). The research project develops this combined methodology and tests it using action research in both secondary (NMS/AHS) and tertiary (PHOÖ) classrooms.
The practical part of the project develops the ABC methodology for three applications:
1.) Tertiary teaching in literature (Kennedy) and Fachdidaktik (Spann)
2.) Secondary teaching (eg. PHOÖ students teaching placements; Huber PhD research at the Aloisianum; Kennedy & Spann Forschungsschule der PHOÖ)
3.) Material development: building a body of ABC approach teaching resources, including in course books, academic publications, online, in students BA & MA theses, and Ms Huber’s PhD.

2.) Zielsetzung(en) und Fragestellung(en)
The project begins with three foundational questions:
1. What are the expectations of literature in EFL teaching outlined in the secondary schools curriculum and CEFR Companion (2018)?
2. How is literature currently taught to pupils in NMS/AHS and to teacher-trainer students in university and teacher colleges?
3. Where are the gaps and incongruities between the two?
These questions are investigated at both curriculum and praxis levels, each with expert research partners:
a) Secondary level: research of the actual situation in English teaching in secondary schools (expert: Huber)
b) Tertiary level: research of the English literature curriculum in Austrian universities and Pädagogische Hochschulen (experts from PLUS, Vienna, Innsbruck).
c) Curriculum level: research of NMS/AHS English curriculum changes to literature since the 2012 Standardised Reifeprüfung (expert: Carol Spöttl)

From question three, above, arises the research project’s main focus:
4. Which literature-teaching methodologies fill these identified gaps?
5. How can we trial and test our approach in praxis?
3.) Methode
1. Literary pedagogy
2. Action research

Beschreibung (engl.)