in EFL Classes
A classroom-based study
of Korean university students' attitudes toward
poetry writing assignments
in English academic writing classes
Rodney E. Tyson
University of Sharjah, UAE
A paper presented at:
Annual TESOL Arabia International Conference
Abu Dhabi, UAE - March 20-22, 2002.
2002: The 36th Annual International Convention and Exposition
Salt Lake City, UT - April 9-13,
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
University in Korea.)
Holmes, V. L., & Moulton, M. R.
(2001). Writing simple poems: Pattern practice for language acquisition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
This book contains twenty-five “self-contained
lessons” that include sample poems and instructions for teaching students
of all levels to produce their own poems following a variety of patterns.
The book also includes a very useful introduction in which the authors
explain both their experience with and their rationale for using poetry
writing in language classes and provide practical advice for implementing
the lessons successfully.
Maley, A., & Duff, A. (1989).
inward ear: Poetry in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge
This book provides a number of ideas
and activities for using poetry in language classes for reading, speaking,
and listening, as well as writing activities. The ideas may be adapted
for students of all levels. The activities in the book could make good
supplementary course material for any language class.
Maley, A, & Moulding, S. (1985).
into poem: Reading and writing poems with students of English. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Online Poetry Writing Activities
This book includes fifteen chapters,
each of which is built around both input and output activities based on
poems. The activities are designed for upper intermediate to advanced students.
Potential Places to Publish Students'
Poetry-Songs-Rhymes: Ideas to help
classroom teachers [Web site]. (No date). Retrieved March 2, 2001,
International Journal for Teachers
of English Writing Skills (Fairy C. Hayes-Scott, Ed.). Ann Arbor, MI:
Robbie Dean Press.
Lund, A. (2000). Grammar and poetry.
Lund's English as a second, a foreign, another language [Web site].
Retrieved January 7, 2001, from http://home.online.no/~anlun/gram-po.htm
There are hundreds of "five-line"
poems written by students of all ages from all over the world published
on this site in Norway.
Articles about Using Poetry in ESL/EFL
Online Poetry Sites & Resources
This site is not specifically for
students, but anyone can submit poems, many of which are made available
in an archives on the site.
Azar, B. S. (1989). Understanding
and using English grammar. (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Elbow, P. (1998). Writing without teachers.
(2nd Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Elbow, P. (1998). Writing with power:
Techniques for mastering the writing process. (2nd Ed.). Oxford: Oxford
Graves, D. H. (1994). A fresh look
at writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
This site URL: http://ausharjah.tripod.com/eflpoetry/
Contact the presenter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online since: March 15, 2002
Last modified: April 6, 2002