I put my rationale in the menu, but it didn’t work, so I am posting it here.
Should poetry be used in ELT?
Poetry is a combination of conveying emotion, provoking thought, literary grandeur and of course entertainment; presented stylistically by using figurative language, syntax, rhythm, and rhyme. This art form takes on many different forms, ranging from –simple- limericks to elaborate sonnets which allow pupils to enter a chimerical world. Therefore, poetry should without a doubt be used in English Language teaching, it allows EFL-pupils to become acquainted with the language on another level.
First of all, a poem can put a subject matter in a different perspective and reach a pupil if the theme correlates with the subject of the lesson. By using these similarly themed poems, teachers are able to introduce a topic in a pleasant and alternative way to ensure attention and interest from their pupils. Teaching English through poetry also lends itself to using various types of classroom and homework activities, which in itself can motivate a student tremendously.
Secondly, teachers can use poetry as a basis for discussion or to share ideas in the classroom, this is all dependent on the chosen poem or collection of poems. But by using the right poem a teacher can, in fact, prompt his/her pupil to learn the language in a fun yet profound manner. The English language teaching global blog states: “Poetry is an effective tool in English language teaching as it enlivens the class, giving the students a motivational buzz while stimulating their creative writing” (Oxford University Press ELT, 2015).
Thirdly, “Poetry provides abundant opportunity for students to enrich their vocabulary” (Pushpa & Seyed, 2014). It contextualizes difficult words or ideas and together with the stylistic tools such as similes, alliteration, and metaphors, the use of poetry can lower the threshold for students to learn new vocabulary.
Another point made by the ELT-global blog is: “The emphasis on the sounds and rhythm of language aids students’ phonological awareness, building a foundation for correct pronunciation and intonation, which in turn has a strong correlation to proficiency in reading and listening” (Oxford University Press ELT, 2015). In other words, poetry cannot only incite motivation and creativeness, but it can also enhance a pupil’s skillset and comprehension.
Lastly, teachers are also a great factor in the effectiveness of teaching English through poetry. A teacher needs to be motivating and show enthusiasm about the topic, as is required for any subject in teaching. Nonetheless, as a novice teacher motivation can be difficult to strum up because it seems an arduous task to find a fitting poem between the plethora of options to use in your lesson. This can, however, be easily resolved by using online teaching sources as well as your network and peers. The current resources online are so vast, that no matter what the level is, one can find the appropriate poem and activities. They can guide a teacher step-by-step to integrate poetry as one of the go-to tools.
In conclusion, poetry is a great resource to evoke discussion and a starting point from where ideas can be exchanged. The realm of poetry has many work forms and activities an English teacher can use to keep the attention and motivation of pupils. Consequently, teaching English through poetry reaches students in an effective and meaningful way (when using fitting poems of course). Furthermore, it enhances the pupils’ skillset and comprehension by “building a foundation for correct pronunciation and intonation” (Oxford University Press ELT, 2015). Thus, I believe it would be remiss of English teachers if they did not use poetry in English language teaching, as it allows EFL-pupils to become acquainted with the language on another level.
Oxford University Press ELT. (2015, April). Poetry and the ESL classroom: how rhyme can work for your students. Opgehaald van https://oupeltglobalblog.com/2015/04/01/poetry-in-the-elt-classroom/
Pushpa, V., & Seyed, Y. S. (2014). Teaching Poetry in Autonomous ELT Classes. Opgehaald van http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814027141