Some people think it is more important to teach children the literature of their own country than of other countries. Do you agree or disagree?
I agree with the idea that it is more important for children to learn about literature from their own country, even though learning about the literature of foreign countries can be beneficial.
By studying the literature of their own country, children also become more familiar with their country’s history and culture. Almost all literature, particularly that which is considered to be the epitome of a given country, contains cultural references which enable children to see how their culture has changed and developed, possibly over centuries. This, in turn, can help to give young people a sense of belonging and an idea of where they have come from. This is important in the creation and maintenance of social cohesion. It may also be a source of pride that may inspire the young to emulate writers of the past.
This is not to suggest that there is no value in learning about the literature of other countries (and cultures). Countries and cultures interact. They do not normally develop independently of each other. Therefore, the literature of a country is likely to influence that of others, especially its neighbours. For example, China has had a cultural impact on Japan and Vietnam. In addition, migration is commonplace nowadays and so it may be useful to learn about the literature of other countries in a multicultural society, in particular when the mix of cultures results in literature drawing on more than one perspective, such as with Britain and India.
To summarise, I think that learning about the literature of one’s own country is more important than studying literature from foreign countries, but I firmly believe that there is value in knowing something of the literature of other countries.
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