Exploring the use of literary texts to develop moral values in grade six of a private school in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


English literature teaching and learning practice can transform individual understanding, appreciation, and eventual practice of moral values. Research in this area indicates the ever-present dichotomy of how reading literary texts for moral learning should ensue, through William Bennett's teacher-centred, transmission approach, or through a more transactional approach between reader and text, as elaborated in Louise Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory. Dr Darcia Narvaez builds upon Rosenblatt's theory, considering it a more active approach to MTC that can foster practical moral learning practices, which do not work through top-down transmission but rather ensue from the students themselves, regardless of their individual reading ability. An exploratory, qualitative study to discover how Grade Six students read, interacted and identified with the literary texts taught in class was conducted, using the methods of semi-structured individual and focus group interviews, document and textbook analyses, and classroom observations, and the collected data were carefully analyzed through pattern forming, identifying themes, developing major categories and planning each category under a code to generate explicit findings. Findings that emerged were that Grade Six students are aware of their moral selves and basic moral values, equating morality with a system of rewards and punishments, or a system of right and wrong actions. The major finding is that students willingly identify with the moral messages inside literary texts when it is presented through a personal approach, rather than through a didactic text. The intention of this research is to inform interested stakeholders such as curriculum planners, English Literature teachers, and the general teaching body, parents, and, most essentially, all the readers of Literature, be it in any language or from any culture, of the integral moral message that literature hopes to convey, so that through active reading, discussion and interaction with the literary text, we can all enhance our moral attitudes and practices, to lead our lives successfully and safely into this new century and A consequently through our living and learning, pass forward a rich legacy to future readers of literature, to carry forward the torch of moral enlightenment into the next century.

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