Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Secondary School Topic: Disliking Poetry, Part One

10-second review: The authors give several examples of the reasons students dislike poetry as it is traditionally taught. Sets the stage for an experimental technique to enhance students’ fun with poetry.

Title: “Using Digital Media to Interpret Poetry: Spiderman Meets Walt Whitman.” MB McVee. NM Bailey. LE Shanahan. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2008), 112-143. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Begins with Marianne Moore’s comment about poetry: “I, too, dislike it: There are things that are important beyond this fiddle.” Students’ comments: Poetry was boring. Required to look for deeper meaning. Feared poetry. Can’t get to the end of poems. In this article the authors tell how they transformed the student teachers’ attitudes toward poetry through using technology and a familiar program, PowerPoint.

Comment: In tomorrow’s review, I will summarize and explain how the authors used PowerPoint to overcome their distaste for classic poetry. However, it wasn’t the technology that changed the students’ attitudes so much as the encouragement to interpret the poems themselves and to use PowerPoint creatively to present their interpretations.

How do my readers help students overcome their dislike of poetry?

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