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Simple techniques for effective poetry classes

Simple techniques for effective poetry classes Mrs.Tsering Bhuti, TCV school, Selakui

Teaching of English has emerged as one of the most popular discipline in this cut-throat competitive world. It has come to be regarded as a service language, a tool rather than a subject. English, being a versatile language, it demands hard-working, creativity and zeal when it comes to teaching.


When we go to the class, it is necessary to ask the fundamental questions to ourselves; why do we teach English? Accordingly, we must plan it. While planning on the aims of teaching, it is necessary to take into account what the students should be made aware of desired objectives.

When it comes to teaching of English, I have a particular enthusiasm, creativity an ease about teaching poetry. I have been teaching English for five years and never had I experienced that teaching of English is boredom and monotonous. In fact, it is challenging, exciting and awesome so long as you breathe in it. I experienced that students learn better English when the classroom atmosphere is interactive, free and lenient. But we must not forget to rule the roost.

So I want to share some of the techniques or methods which I learned from my teachers resource persons and some even hunted from website which helped me to have effective poetry classes. It is my earnest hope that my sharing would be of little help to you.


1. Creating drama with poetry:

First and foremost, I want to discuss how hits technique is useful for the students. Creating drama with poetry is an exciting language experience. This technique helps the students to involve physically, emotionally and cognitively in the process of language acquisition. The use of poetry as drama enables the students to explore the linguistic and conceptual aspects of written text. The acquisition of language becomes internalized s a direct result of placing the students in the situations that seem real. So I experienced that poems that express strong emotions, feelings, attitudes and opinions are more productive than those which are gentle and descriptive. The best thing about this technique is that the students engage in free flowing extemporaneous conversations as they interact before the dramatization. I have used these poems for dramatization and it worked well.

The Role of the Teacher:

In this technique, students have some responsibility for their own learning which indirectly helps them to inculcate spirit of self reliant. However the role of teacher is not limited. The teacher's crucial role is to guide the language learning process by


   (a) Modeling pronunciation, intonation, stress, rhythm etc.

   (b) Stimulating interest, conversation and interacting with the students.


Implementing the technique in the classroom

Now the question is how we are going to implement this technique. In this approach, the teacher provides the background to the poem and introduces difficult or unusual vocabulary. The teacher then reads the poem aloud to the students. Then the students read chorally.


2. While teaching a poem:

If your objective is to make the students learn the importance of pitch of different words which will alter the meaning of the poem, then the following ways help a lot.

   (a) Encourage the students to take turns to read the poem emphasizing one word over the other. Reading the selected words with emphasize means to say it louder, slower and dramatically than the others.


3. Many a times:

We accept that poetry is a powerful piece of writing through which we express our deep emotions on the subject chosen. So it is important when students recite poetry to have the appropriate facial expression to depict the strong emotion. It is true that some find it easier while others don't. Yet it is important for every student to practice this skill.

4. If your general objective

Is to encourage and facilitate students to recite the poem in a standard manner, I found the following non verbal techniques very helpful.

   (a) Stance: When reciting a poem in front of the class, make your student stand in front of the room facing the audience. Discourage swaying side to side, shifting their weight foot to foot, crossing and uncrossing heir ankles.

   (b) Posture: The posture of the student depends on the characterization of the poem. For example, if the part of poem calls for an old man, it could be reflected with a drooping of the shoulders.

   (c) Gestures: Encourage your students to rest their hands down at the side in a relaxed manner. This sounds easy but it needs practice n order not to grab at their clothes, ball up their hands or fold them across their chest.

So the above mentioned Non Verbal Delivery Techniques will not only be useful in poetry recitation but also in any oral activity such as extempore, speech etc. Moreover, these techniques keep every student in the class engaged and will lesson the distraction here and there.

5. Sometimes,

After the teacher's model reading, give time for the students to identify the dominant feeling they had when listening to the poem. You can also ask them to form mental pictures while you read the poem. After reading, ask them if they have changed their original choice of feelings. Allowing students to discuss their opinions on the poem's meaning also works wonderful. Once you completed working with the poem, you can have your students creates their own poem which will later be displayed on the school soft-boards. Being displayed will encourage them to keep writing.

Finally, I would like to say that teaching of English requires patience and hardworking. We need to be determined in order to encourage our students to have positive attitude in acquisition of the language. A day will come when we will have a feather in our cap. Thumps Up!!!