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How to Teach a Poem


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Fantastic teaching technique to teach a poem with designed activity. Useful for Englsih Language Teacher

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How to Teach a Poem

  1. 1. Rajeev Ranjan B.Ed(English)& PGDTE English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad Email .Id : [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Tom </li></ul><ul><li>Today my son realized someone’s smarter than him. Not me or his mom — he still thinks we know everything — one of the other kids, Nathan. Making fun of him at the computer terminal for screwing up at the math game. Other kids laughing at him. Second grade. I’m never gonna be as smart as him, he says.         I’m never gonna be as smart as half my students if we’re talking IQs. He doesn’t want me to explain. He wants me to acknowledge that he’s dumb. He’s lying in bed and taking his glasses off and on, trying to get them perfectly clean for the morning. I’m looking around his dark room for a joke or some decent words to lay on him. His eyes are glassy with almost-tears. Second grade. The world wants to call on him. I take his hand in mine. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Before students read the text, it is often helpful to involve them into the activities that will create the right attitude for receptivity stimulating students’ responsiveness to the text and a willingness to learn. (Source from internet) </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher uses Pre-reading activity mainly to motivate the learners, to increase the interest of the learners. We can maximize learning, if the interest of the learners is high in the classroom, they will participate actively and follow teacher’s instructions’ very well. </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures are always great stimulus for the learners so I chose these pictures to develop thinking ability among the learners. It’s enough for a guardian to send his /her children to school and expect high performance from them. But what goes in children’s mind, parents don’t consider, do they? </li></ul>
  4. 7. <ul><li>The whole class will be divided into groups. Each group will get one picture. Teacher will ask to interpret the pictures. Teacher will give clear instructions about the activity .Time slot for this activity is 5 minutes. In the meantime when the students will interpret the picture teacher will write some support questions related to the pictures so that students get clues. e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>What do you find in this picture? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the expression of the student? </li></ul><ul><li>Is s/he happy or sad? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are they happy or sad? </li></ul><ul><li>What are they doing? </li></ul><ul><li>From where s/he is coming? </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul>
  5. 8. <ul><li>The teacher will divide the class into groups and gives famous name for the group like famous hero, heroine & great leader etc. Topic will be very interesting related to school e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul><ul><li>Is school jail or place to learn? </li></ul><ul><li>When do you feel sad in the school? (List five things ) </li></ul><ul><li>When do you feel happy in the school? (List five things) </li></ul><ul><li>What do you generally do if your classmates make fun of you? </li></ul><ul><li>(You complain to the teacher or the principal, or share to your best friend or parents or you will not share to anyone.) </li></ul><ul><li>Caution on next page </li></ul>
  6. 9. Note: This activity will be purely group work but if shy students want to share it with teacher, teacher will ask to write his/her feeling on paper and give it to the teacher ( It always helps to introvert students, s/he thinks that at least teacher understands her/his problems. Or
  7. 10. <ul><li>The title of a literary composition is always important, as it tends to indicate the subject and / or theme of the text .The teacher will write the title of the poem on the blackboard and asks students to predict what is likely to happen in the text. The teacher may ask the following questions about the title: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it a noun or pronoun or adjective? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you understand by dim? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you predict, on the basis of the title, what is likely to happen in the poem? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the poem going to be a description of an incident, a love story, about a boy / girl or an old man or woman? </li></ul><ul><li>When the students write down answer, the teacher collect and discuss them without making obvious suggestions. </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul>
  8. 11. <ul><li>Sometimes the text provides clues for predicting its theme or content through the vocabulary used. Teacher introduces new words from the text which helps students predict what the atmosphere of the world inside the text is going to be like. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher writes all these words and phrases on the blackboard or OHP and prompts and guides student to find answers to them by supplementing and extending the points as necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Realized, son realized, making fun, laughing at, Screwing up, want me to explain, taking his glasses off and one, to lay etc </li></ul>
  9. 12. <ul><li> ” my son realized someone’s smarter than him not me or his mom” </li></ul><ul><li>What happened to the boy or son? </li></ul><ul><li>What did he suddenly realize? </li></ul><ul><li>Whom do you think, is smarter than the boy? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Making fun of him at the computer terminal “ </li></ul><ul><li>Who is making fun? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is someone making fun of someone? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it good to make fun of someone especially when someone feels embraced? </li></ul>
  10. 13. <ul><li>What do you feel while reading this sentence? </li></ul><ul><li>“ he is lying in bed and taking his glasses off and on”. </li></ul><ul><li>What does it signify? </li></ul><ul><li>When do people take their glasses off and on? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your opinion regarding this sentence? </li></ul><ul><li>“ His eyes are glassy with almost tears.” </li></ul><ul><li>What can be the probable incident here? Why his eyes are full of tears? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the above list of words and phrases suggest? </li></ul><ul><li>A positive atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>A negative atmosphere? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think the poem is going to be about? </li></ul>
  11. 14. <ul><li>Objectives: </li></ul><ul><li>Help the learners to enjoy the poem and make them familiar to different types of ‘language elements. : Speech sound, words, phrases, sentences, and discourse as well as their structuring. </li></ul><ul><li>Having performed a set of pre reading activities learners have brought themselves very close to the text. So the next activity will be more helpful for the learners to access the text. </li></ul>
  12. 15. <ul><li>Listening Activity </li></ul><ul><li>The teacher will play the poem on a tape without having to read it. (It gives the students a sense of whole. It also helps them achieve a dramatic effect created by sound and intonation.) </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher will ask the students to listen the poem carefully thrice without looking at the text. Teacher asks students to listen the text first and then within 3 minutes students have to recollect maximum words occurring in the poem and write down on the notebook, teacher collects the paper and announces the name of the student who has written more than anyone in the class. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher asks the learners to read the text silently within 5 minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher asks students to lists difficult words from the poem. Teacher will not give the meaning straightforwardly, s/he elicit the meanings of the listed word s as they are used in the text. (This activity increases the confidence level of the students, because most of their predictions made at the pre reading stage come true.) </li></ul>
  13. 16. <ul><li>Objectives of these activities: </li></ul><ul><li>To deepen students understanding of the text; </li></ul><ul><li>To generate interest in the creative use of language ;and </li></ul><ul><li>To provide opportunities leading to further interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>On the basis of the objectives, teacher divides in to these subcategories which are: </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehension questions; </li></ul><ul><li>Languages exercises; and Creative activities. </li></ul><ul><li>After reading the poem, learners have already developed some ideas about the text and teacher asks comprehension types questions e.g. global as well as local so that they can understand the text completely. </li></ul>
  14. 17. <ul><li>Who is smarter than the boy? </li></ul><ul><li>Who made fun of the boy? </li></ul><ul><li>Why did other kids in the school laughed at him? </li></ul><ul><li>Who does not want to explain? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does he not want to explain to his father? </li></ul><ul><li>Is he dumb? Yes /no. Support your answer. </li></ul><ul><li>Why does he want his father to acknowledge him as a dumb? </li></ul><ul><li>“ He is lying in the bed”. What is the reason behind his laziness’? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes him so sad? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is he trying to clean glasses perfectly? </li></ul><ul><li>What did his father do at last? </li></ul><ul><li>Did boy’s father convince him at last? </li></ul>
  15. 18. <ul><li>Students work in pairs and talk to each other on these questions asked by the teacher. It is mainly speaking activity; students will talk to each other in the classroom for 5 minutes, write down the points and one of them speaks to the whole class. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the speaker in the poem? </li></ul><ul><li>How many characters do you find in this poem? Identify them. </li></ul><ul><li>Boy was very friendly with others in the school. Yes/No. Why do you think so? </li></ul><ul><li>What would be your reaction, if you were in his place? </li></ul><ul><li>How much important are your friends/classmates in your life? </li></ul>
  16. 19. <ul><li>Student will discuss with his friend, write 10 lines about the topic. After completion of the task, teacher asks students to exchange his/her notebook, necessary correction will made by peers. (This is confidence building activity). </li></ul><ul><li>If you have ever faced humiliation/sarcastic remarks from your classmates in the school or someone has teased you or made fun of you, write down your experience in your notebook, please don’t write the name of your friends and even don’t write your name on the paper. </li></ul>
  17. 20. <ul><li>1. Antonyms </li></ul><ul><li>Give appropriate antonyms for these words: </li></ul><ul><li>Smart -------- </li></ul><ul><li>Kids --------- </li></ul><ul><li>Fun ---------- </li></ul><ul><li>Explain ------ </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge ------- </li></ul><ul><li>2. Consult a dictionary and find out meaning, synonyms & antonyms of these words ( Humour, Fun, Smile, Ecstasy, Happy, Smart, Dumb ) and also list whether these words are noun, verb, adjectives, or adverb . One has been done for you e.g. Verb ‘l augh’ has one sense and has different uses in different contexts . </li></ul><ul><li>Laugh > express joy , express mirth - produce laughter, </li></ul><ul><li>is one way to express emotion , express feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Antonyms > cry , weep </li></ul>
  18. 21. <ul><li>To Teach Present Indefinite </li></ul><ul><li>Note – Pair Work </li></ul><ul><li>Time – 8 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher instructs the class .Students ask his/her partner about his likes &dislikes, daily activity & what does s/he usually thinks everyday e.g. John said to Jennifer, “He likes ice-cream”, “he likes Cricket”, “he dislikes telling lie with friend”, “he wants to buy a Nokia N-70 latest model”, etc. And at last each will tell his/her partner’s response. </li></ul><ul><li>To Teach Present Continuous </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher uses authentic material, (newspaper cutting) different pictures showing actions like cricket commentary, racing event, horse racing, a film being played at an auditorium, etc . </li></ul>
  19. 22. <ul><li>Objectives: Give students opportunity to enjoy the freedom of expression. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher asks students to summarise the poem in 60 words. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher asks the students to rewrite the poem with an ending different from the one in the original. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher asks the students to write a dialogue between teacher and student regarding a complaint against a classmate who misbehaved with the boy. </li></ul>
  20. 23. <ul><li>1. One student plays the role of poetic persona who narrates the event; another student acts as the son. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Teacher selects a group of learners and distributes the role among them and asks students to act whole poem in the classroom. This particular activity will ease the tension of those students who do not complain about their friends to any one and the mischievous students will come to know the negative effect of their comments on their classmates and they will realize their faults. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Teacher asks two students to come on the stage. One student plays the role of a guardian who enters in the principal’s chamber and complains about one teacher who has not given proper marks to his son in English subjects, though his son wrote very well and another student will be the headmaster who wants to convince the guardian and assures him that it won’t be happen again. </li></ul>
  21. 24. <ul><li>A teacher can create hundreds of language teaching activities according to his/her need in a classroom and types of lessons. In fact, teaching poem in a language classroom demands tremendous efforts and hard works from the teacher to create such activities which can not only help to develop interest level of the students but also to sustain their interest level throughout the whole lesson. I selected only those activities which can be used in ESL classrooms. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  22. 25. <ul><li>For further enquiry and suggestion </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>Rajeev Ranjan </li></ul><ul><li>English Language Teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Email id: </li></ul>
  23. 26. <ul><li>Teach English: A training course for teachers by Adrian Doff, CUP, 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Literature and Language Teaching- A reflective approach by Michael J. Wallace, CUP,2006 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Bauer, Caroline Feller (1987). Presenting reader's theater : plays and poems to read aloud. (792.022 Bau) </li></ul>