Teaching Poetry: Reading and Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom

Teaching Poetry: Reading and Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom

Teaching Poetry: Reading and Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom

Teaching Poetry: Reading and Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom

Synopsis

Teaching Poetry is an indispensible source of guidance, confidence and ideas for all those new to the secondary English classroom. Written by experienced teachers who have worked with the many secondary pupils who 'don't get' poetry, this friendly guide will help you support pupils as they access, understand, discuss and enjoy classic and contemporary poetry.

With an emphasis on active approaches and the power of poetry to enrich the lives of both teachers and students, Teaching Poetry:

  • Provides a succinct introduction to the major ideas and theory about teaching poetry
  • Covers the key genres and periods through tried and tested favourites and a range of less well known new and historical poetry
  • Illustrates good practice for every approach covered, through case studies of theory and ideas in action in the classroom
  • Includes activities, ideas and resources to support teaching at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

Teaching Poetry tackles head on one of the aspects of English teaching that new and experienced teachers alike find most difficult. It offers both a comprehensive introduction to teaching poetry and a rich source of inspiration and support to be mined when faced with an unfamiliar text or an unresponsive class.

Excerpt

Both authors are secondary English teachers, with some 30 years of classroom experience between us. We have both been involved with teacher training for many years, Amanda as an English AST and mentor on the Bromley Schools’ Collegiate SCITT scheme, where she first met and mentored Audrey as a trainee, and latterly as a lecturer in English Education at the Universities of York and Hull. Audrey has been an English mentor herself for some years on the Bromley Schools’ Collegiate SCITT scheme and is currently involved in tutoring on the MTL programme in association with the University of Hull.

This book is the result of our belief in the power of poetry to enrich our lives and those of our pupils and students. The book is a joint effort, resulting from our love of poetry and our passionate belief in the importance of active approaches to teaching poetry in the classroom. We have had many conversations with people who say they hated poetry at school and that it was taught really badly, and with trainee and newly qualified teachers who are insecure about teaching it themselves, because of their own poor experiences at school.

In this book we suggest ways to move away from a model of teaching poetry from the front, where the teacher explains meanings that pupils passively accept, to an active approach where pupils are able to access the ideas behind the poetry, enabling them to make their own meanings and respond to the poetry on a personal level. We have researched many of the major ideas about teaching poetry in an active fashion, and condensed them here for the busy teacher who may not have time to do the research they would like to do themselves.

We offer this book not as a definitive guide, but more as a selection of ideas and approaches to be mined when faced with an unfamiliar text or an unresponsive class. The ideas have been trialled by us in our own teaching, and have been written up for you here with confidence that they are successful methods. Whilst we both have our own voices, we have written as we would speak to you were we your mentors and you our trainees or NQTs, offering what we hope is clear guidance on the sometimes daunting prospect of getting pupils to read and respond to poetry. We hope that you will find it useful.

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