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The Trouble with Poetry: Teachers’ perceptions on poetry teaching and learning in the secondary classroom

Diehl, Martina B.

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Authors

Martina Diehl martina.b.diehl@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy



Contributors

Abstract

Poetry plays an important role in the subject of English in secondary schools. Not only does poetry create the opportunity to learn about playing with language, but it also allows students to familiarise themselves with the cultural heritage of the British Isles. However, in societies that are becoming increasingly multicultural and where societal and technological innovations are constantly being made, it begs the question of whether the current poetry curriculum in Key Stage 4 is still appropriate and engaging for students. One recurring problem that seems to arise is that the taught poems lack relevance for learners. Anthology poems are predominantly written by male poets from the literary canon in pre-twentieth century, which leads to an alienation of the language of poetry for learners and teachers (Dressman and Faust, 2014). Poetry has become a part of English that is focused on critical analyses, and which includes very little room for creative thought and dialogue to the point where it becomes like ‘a mathematical equation’, as argued by Xerri (2016, p. 1). Although teachers are willing to include a broader range of contemporary and multicultural poetry, they often feel limited by the pressure of the curriculum and assessment and time. However, there are possibilities for poetry to be made more enjoyable and inclusive for students and teachers. Four teacher interviews and a variety of empirical studies on poetry teaching (such as, McGuinn, 2014; Xerri, 2016; Benton, 2000; Myhill and Wilson, 2013) provide insights into how poetry can be made more appropriate for the learner of today as well as providing information on the trouble that educators have with teaching poetry.

Citation

Diehl, M. B. (2021). The Trouble with Poetry: Teachers’ perceptions on poetry teaching and learning in the secondary classroom. In S. Riddle, & P. Bhatia (Eds.), Imagining Better Education: Conference Proceedings 2020 (22-34)

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name Imagining Better Education
Start Date Sep 22, 2020
End Date Sep 25, 2020
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 2, 2021
Pages 22-34
Series Title Imagining Better Education
Book Title Imagining Better Education: Conference Proceedings 2020
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1139173
Publisher URL https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/academic/education/

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