Why do we need to use poetry in ELT lessons?So, when students achieve a certain level of English they are capable of writing an average piece of literature. A logical next step should definitely introduce poetry, sadly enough this isn’t the case everywhere.Holmes, V. L (2001). Way too many EFL classes don’t cover poetry at all, let alone write poetry. In this article, I am going to show you why I recommend the use of poetry in EFL classes.
A study from Danling, F.U. (2003) has shown that most pattern books have the same style of rhythm as poetry has. This study was for Chinese students and since for them, rhythm is an issue this might be an effective solution to adjust to English rhythm. But writing poems was found to be difficult, so they needed to accustom the student to the patterns by constantly reading and listening to them. Afterwards, students began to recognise structures and were capable of writing their own pieces.
So, when the student is capable of writing a poem, they are able to express their feelings and views better according to Danling, F.U. (2003). It is important to use topics which the students care about most and list words in which they can express their ideas. Also, it’s very important to read out loud stories and recite poems, this prepares them to speak and improve speaking. It will also give an idea of the progress they have made, this can also be done in a book of creations for example. Danling, F.U. (2003) Keeping track of what has already been achieved leads to motivation because students can see their progress and give a clear view on what points they need to work on.
When students get in touch with poems, in a while they will start to appreciate the writer’s composition process and will develop a new range of words which may arise a deeper interest in these words and their analytical ability Hişmanoğlu, M.(2005) And when the students actually write poems themselves, they might develop a different view towards language Hişmanoğlu, M.(2005).
Also, students might be able to relate to the poems, which allows them to express their own feelings better. Adding on to this, it will teach students metaphors, irony and other figures of speech. Hişmanoğlu, M.(2005). They are also able to create ‘a polished piece of writing in a relatively short period’ Holmes, V. L (2001) use and learn new vocabulary, learn language and structure Holmes, V. L (2001).
Some students are a little afraid of poetry, they think this is only for native speakers and therefore avoid writing or reading poetry. This is not the case, it can be used for personal and cultural expression Laborda, J.G., (2012). It can engage students with the target language more and gives a creative perfective to the language and the feelings of the students. Laborda, J.G., (2012)
Overall, poetry is seen to be effective in EFL classes for multiple reasons such as language development, affinity with the language and a way to express feelings towards language. I hope poetry will be used a lot more over the years. Personally, I found it really entertaining and interesting to play with words in such a particular way.
Danling, F.U. (2003). An Island of English Teaching ESL in Chinatown Danling. Retrieved from https://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/E00481/chapter5.pdf
Hişmanoğlu, M.(2005) Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies Vol.1, No.1, Teaching English Through Literature Retrieved from crop.pdf
Holmes, V. L., Moulton, M. R., & Cambridge University Press. (2001). Writing Simple Poems: Pattern Poetry for Language Acquisition. Retrieved from crop.pdf
Laborda, J.G., (2012) Plurilingualism: Promoting co-operation between communities, people, and nations. Multicultural poetry in ELT: benefits, challenge, and strategies. Retrieved from crop.pdf