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Literature for the Twenty-first Century: Developing Multimodality and Entrepreneurial Skills through Literature-Based Assessments

Melissa Shamini Perry


Since the twentieth century, the teaching and learning of literature have primarily focused on developing language, communication, and to some extent, critical thinking skills. Literary texts are included in education curricula with the primary intention that they help students develop good listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. As a result, assessments in literary studies have also focused on testing language proficiency such as comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar. This has led to the misconception that in the multimodal, digital twenty-first century environment, the study of literature has little to offer beyond language development. This article aims to demonstrate that in addition to language and communication skills, literary studies can also be used to develop multimodal literacies and entrepreneurial skills such as creativity, leadership, reflective thinking, problem solving, and collaboration which are all highly valued in the twenty-first century. Through detailed explication of an innovative, alternative assessment for a literature course offered at The National University of Malaysia, this study showcases how multimodal literacy and entrepreneurial skills are developed through literary studies. This study presents the wide-ranging potential of literary studies and how, with the use of the creative and innovative teaching and assessment approaches, literature can remain valuable and relevant in the twenty-first century.


literary; twenty-first century; alternative assessments; multimodal; entrepreneurial skills

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2020.03321