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Poems in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Poems in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Leonarda Lovrović University of Zadar llovrovi@unizd.hr. Literature. a major element of culture outside the boundaries of culture and time offers a bountiful body of written material dealing with fundamental h u man issues. Literature.

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Poems in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

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  1. Poems in Teaching English as a Foreign Language Leonarda Lovrović Universityof Zadar llovrovi@unizd.hr

  2. Literature • a major element of culture • outside the boundariesof culture and time • offers a bountiful body of written material dealing with fundamental human issues

  3. Literature • demands Ls’ personal involvement • provokes discussion creating authentic communicative situations • should suit Ls’ interest, needs and cultural background

  4. Language of Literature • figurativelanguage - new dimensions of perception • written down with thought, care andpassion • expressive devices

  5. Language of Literature • improve Ls’ ability to express themselves with clarity and effect • Ls will increase their receptive vocabulary • Ls will become more creative on their productive level • supplement to other materials

  6. Poetry • not particularly popular among adolescents • shortpoems • offers a rich andvarious repertoire • a source of pleasure for both the T and Ls

  7. Poetry • general topics, life experience, feelings • the powerof language outside standard linguistic structures and lexis • further reading and creative writing

  8. Poems • should suit Ls’ interests, linguistic competence, level of maturity • student-centred activities: discussion, role play, interpretation, etc. • pair and group work

  9. Group work • different life experience • lessens the difficulties presented by unknown words • greater freedom to explore own reactions and interpretations

  10. Group work • more confidence and interest • less dependant on the opinion of others • able to understand other perspectives

  11. William Butler Yeats, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (1899) Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

  12. William Butler Yeats, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (1899) • unrequited love • familiartopic • St Valentine's Day

  13. Introduction • introducethetopic • drawfromtheir life experience What does being in love mean? How can people make their beloved happy? • pair work

  14. Examples: • a) It's a special feeling that can't be described. b) When you're in love, you care about another person more than you care about yourself. c) When you love someone, you want to spend a lot oftime with them. • a) You can make your beloved happy if you accept them with all their flaws. b) You must always be there for that person, even in difficult times. c) You should do anything for the person you love.

  15. Introduction • discussionabouttheir personal experience • Ls develop speaking skills • learn how to listenand how to accept each other’s opinions

  16. Reading • rhythm and intonation • group work (4-5 Ss) • reciting • learningbyheart

  17. Speaking • pre-teach new words: embroidered - decorated enwrought / inwrought – woveninto another dim – notbright tread (trod, trodden/trod) - walk • conditional sentence, type 2 (inversion)

  18. Speaking • What is the poem about? What has the poet expressed in it? • What is the poet's relationship to his beloved like? • What would he do for her if he could? Why can’t he do it? • What can he do instead? • Why does he want her to walk softly on his dreams? • Do you feel sorry for him? Why? • What images does the poet use? Why?

  19. Speaking • group work – more dymanicthanpair work • open-class discussion • themainpointofthepoem (Qs1-5) • express theirfeelings (Q 6) • talk abouttheimages (Q 7)

  20. Examples: • The poem is about the unrequited love. In this poem the poet has expressed his personal feelings towards his beloved. • She is unattainable for him and he praises her as if she were a goddess. • He would spread the embroidered cloths of heaven under her feet in order to make the ground soft for her, but he can't because he is poor. • He can give her only his dreams. • He wants her to walk softly on his dreams because they can be broken easily.

  21. Examples: 6. a) I feel sorry for him because he seems to be very unhappy. b) I don't feel sorry for him because he's a fool. He should look for another woman. c) I don't feel sorry for him and I don't like the poem because it's creepy. 7. The poet uses the following images: 'the cloths of heaven', 'enwrought with golden and silver light', 'cloths of night and light and the half-light', 'you tread on my dreams', etc. He wants to express how much he loves this woman and to stress that he would do anything for her, but he can't because he is poor.

  22. Speaking • develop speaking skills • acquire new vocabulary • practice using grammatical structures • T should encourage Ls to express their opinions and feelings

  23. Writing • develop writing skills • informal letter to a beloved person from the poet’s point of view • images to express feelings • vocabulary items not typical of everyday language • practice using grammatical structures

  24. Writing • express themselves creatively • develop their thoughts • insight into the knowledge of individual students • follow the development of theirwriting skills

  25. Examples: • Even though I do not have many material things to offer you, I can give you all my dreams, all my hopes. If only my heart could tell you how much I love you. • Instead of the embroidered cloths of heaven enwrought with golden and silver light I can offer you my dreams, the only valuable thing that I possess. • I would decorate cloths of heaven with golden and silver light for you and much more: if I could, I would spread the cloths under your feet.

  26. Mary Elisabeth Frye, Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (1932) • death • nottheendof life • optimistic • AllSaints’ Day

  27. Introduction • Ls should speak about their attitudes and beliefs What do you think happens after death? • in pairs and thenopen-class

  28. Examples: • When we die, we go back into the world we originally came from. • I believe in reincarnation because our soul doesn't die. • There is nothing after death, we just rot and that's it. Nothing else makes sense because there is the circle of life. • I believe in heaven because there must be a kind of afterlife.

  29. Introduction • Ls develop their speaking skills • learn how to express and support their attitudes • learn how to accept different opinions • development of tolerance among Ls

  30. Reading • Ss supplythemissingwords • comparetheirthemissingwordsinpairs • check it open-class

  31. Mary Elisabeth Frye, Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (1932) Do notstand at mygraveandweep I am notthere, I do notsleep. I am a thousandwindsthatblow. I am thediamondglints on snow. I am thesunlight on ripenedgrain. I am thegentleautumnrain. Whenyouawaken inthemorning’s hush, I am theswiftupliftingrush ofquietbirdsincircledflight. I am the soft starsthatshine at night. Do notstand at mygraveandcry, I am notthere, I didnotdie.

  32. Reading • T readsthepoemaloud • Ss - inpairs • learningbyheart • reciting • rhythm and intonation • encouragesmotivation

  33. Speaking • Ss interpret thepoem • groups (4 or 5 Ss) • not necessary to pre-teach vocabulary • answer the following questions:

  34. Speaking • What is the poem about? What feeling does it express? • What attitude to death is expressed in the poem?What view of death does it offer? • Who is the poet addressing? What feeling does the poem bring to them? Why? • What images are used in the poem? Where are they taken from? Why?

  35. Speaking • group work - Ls speak English with confidence • open-class discussion • positive atmosphere in the classroom • Ss developtheirspeakingskillls • as many Ss as possible should be included

  36. Examples: • The poem is about death and it expresses grief that is felt after someone has died. • The poet's attitude to death is positive. Although her body is buried, she is no longer there because she has moved to a better place and will remain in the mourners' memory and thoughts. So the poem expresses a comforting view on death.

  37. Examples: 3. She is addressing the mourners and brings relief to them because the deceased person continues to live. 4.The poet uses the images taken from nature such as 'a thousand winds that blow', 'the diamond glints on snow', 'the sunlight on ripened grain', 'the gentle autumn rain' etc. because they symbolize freedom, happiness, relief, piece and comfort.

  38. Writing • time-consuming • very important • essay – life afterdeath

  39. Examples: • Once our soul is the only thing left of us, how lovely must it be to float around, being completely careless, not thinking about other people's opinions, not thinking whether we will be successful in something or not. • Nothing happens after life, we simply disappear. We exist in thememory and thoughts of the people we loved and who loved us, but not for a long time. • Life on earth is extremely short and it goes by very fast, so I think it is a preparation for immortal life in heaven.

  40. Writing • feedback on Ss’ linguistic competence • systematically follow the development of Ss’ writing skills and their use of grammatical structuresandvocabulary

  41. Conclusion • various authentic materials – interesting classes • EL written for native speakers • literary works – lack EL used in everyday situations, but are abundant in the different forms of the language • the language of poetry – outside standard linguistic structures and lexis

  42. Conclusion • poems – short, a good basis for various activities • student-centred activities – dynamic classes in order to develop different language skills • the development of Ls’ linguistic competence

  43. Conclusion • Ls will learn how to express their own attitudes and feelings • Ls will learn how to accept other Ss’ opinions • successful communication and tolerance


  45. References • Collie, J., Slater, S. (1987): Literature in the Language Classroom. Cambrigde, Cambridge University Press. • Harmer, J. (1991): The Practice of English Language Teaching. London and New York: Longman Group UK Limited. • Lindstromberg, S. (2004): LanguageActivities for Teenagers. Cambridge, CambridgeUniversityPress. • Lovrović, L., Oštarić, M. (2010): Kratka priča u nastavi engleskoga jezika. Strani jezici, 39, 4, 287-294. • Šnjarić, M. (2008): Didaktička obrada pripovjedaka za nastavu njemačkog jezika: Geniesin der Schule. Strani jezici, 37, 2, 101-109.

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