Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lessons covering poems with high school students

The students involved in the Cultural Leadership program in St. Louis reminded me about the importance of multiple approaches to experiencing poetry. When I gave them audio devices and print-outs of poems and told them to spread out and go cover the poems, they chose a variety of ways to do so.

Some of them sprawled out on the floor to read and listen to the pieces.  A few of them sat near each other in chairs. Some sat in chairs alone. Some walked, read, and listened. Some found an open place and stood there reading and listening. One went and sat on the floor in a small open closet.

Given the diverse approaches I was witnessing, the idea that students are usually required to sit in neat rows in a classroom and only read poems on the page without listening seemed restrictive. Those traditional approaches to exposing young people to literature help me understand why so few of them are interested in poetry by the time they arrive to my college courses.

The change agents with the Cultural Leadership program illustrated a lesson about giving readers freedoms and options when engaging poetry.

The Cultural Leadership program in St. Louis 
Mixed Media Poetry Exhibits

No comments: