Poetry Writing in EFL Classes

A classroom-based study of Korean university students' attitudes toward
poetry writing assignments in English academic writing classes

Rodney E. Tyson
American University of Sharjah, UAE

A paper presented at:
8th Annual TESOL Arabia International Conference
Abu Dhabi, UAE - March 20-22, 2002.
TESOL 2002: The 36th Annual International Convention and Exposition
Salt Lake City, UT - April 9-13, 2002.

Poem Assignments
Presentation Handout
Students' Poems
Survey Results


Although poetry is often taught in English classes around the world, EFL students are seldom asked to write English poems. Writing English poetry is often considered too difficult, not relevant to students' needs, or simply inappropriate for students whose native language is not English. In addition, many EFL teachers consider themselves unqualified to teach poetry writing, while many students, who may never have written a poem even in their native language, sometimes consider it to be impossible. My experience, however, indicates that writing English poems can be useful and motivating for EFL students in many ways. Short poems, for example, provide a manageable format for students to experiment with new forms of expression while focusing on specific details and ideas that, when shared with classmates, can have a strong and immediate impact on a real audience. I have found that, despite some initial reservations, students in various levels of EFL classes enjoy writing poems as well as reading other students' poems, and the results are often very impressive and memorable. In this presentation, I will begin by describing very briefly the results of a recent classroom-based study of students' attitudes toward various types of poetry writing assignments in two university-level EFL composition classes. Next, I will describe several poetry writing activities which can be used in a number of ways, such as practicing various grammar points or encouraging students to develop more detailed descriptions. (Note: This study was completed in the spring of 2001 while I was teaching at Daejin University in Korea.)

Poem Assignments

Students' Poems



Online Poetry Writing Activities & Exercises Potential Places to Publish Students' Poems Articles about Using Poetry in ESL/EFL Classes Online Poetry Sites & Resources Other References

This site URL: http://ausharjah.tripod.com/eflpoetry/

Contact the presenter: rtyson@aus.ac.ae

Online since: March 15, 2002
Last modified: April 6, 2002

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