Teaching Poetry in the EFL Classroom. A Multimodal Lesson with an interactive Whiteboard

A Lesson Project

Project Report, 2012

31 Pages, Grade: 1

Markus Emerson (Author)


1. Introduction

The thesis for our project was the following:

Using the Whiteboard (WB) in a poetry lesson in the English Foreign Language classroom can enrich the teaching and learning experience and therefore foster a positive learning climate where different learner types are addressed.

We tried to create a ninety-minute seminar session, which, firstly, proves our thesis, and, secondly, motivate you to take a closer look at the opportunities that the WB offers for teachers. Thus, we chose a variety of four different sessions that featured various usages of the WB in an entertaining but academic way and should raise awareness of possible and new ways to use the WB as well as to inspire students (who will themselves be teachers one day) for the future. Hence, we tried to incorporate various forms of WB usage to show how it can transcend usual PowerPoint presentations and add more media.

As far as the content of the session is concerned, we focused on poetry (creative aspects as well as analytical tasks) as poetry is a form of writing that can be produced and received in various different and individual ways due to its nature. Feelings and ideas can be expressed freely and creatively. As poems are usually in a condensed and short format, connected activities like producing, reading or interpreting them can all be done in the classroom. The individual and creative aspect motivates pupils and can support a very personal access to this format of writing.

Combining poetry and WB can lead to a new poetry teaching experience. According to Fleming, pupils’ ideas about poetry will inevitably be formed by the extent and variety of their reading; in fact, as suggested earlier, confusion is likely to arise if poetry is introduced into the classroom only at infrequent intervals. (40)

Employing the WB offers the chance to have a greater variety of readings and understandings through different channels and input (visual, audio-visual, video). That the WB combines different media also makes it easier to discuss intermedial/intermodal forms of poetry. This is also supported by Shenton and Pagett’s research on the WB in classrooms. They conclude that WBs have “great potential for motivating and engaging pupils in sophisticated forms of multimodality” (135). Furthermore, the frequency of dealing with poetry can be raised. It is much quicker to analyse a poem, save the changes, connect to the internet and be interactive with the WB. Thus, poems can be dealt with in a “context of open-ended, exploratory enquiry” (Fleming 40), which caters for many learner types (especially ‘visual learners’) and learning styles.

The Handout of our session secured the basic ideas of each session and served as a discussion prompt for group as well as individual reflection.

2. Magnetic Poetry

Your homework for our presentation was to create your own poems on the Magnetic Poetry Website. There you were provided with a word kit with which you could create your poem by pulling the words into place. This should be your first encounter with our topic: poetry. We thought of the homework as a warm up for what was still to come in the lesson. You had to be creative but as the words were given it was a form of “guided” creativity. We assumed that this would be easier in the beginning as to come up with “own” words. The poems could then easily be sent to me as a link or screen shot.

The WB came into play when we showed some of your results in class and discussed them. With the WB you can present nearly all kind of students’ results, no matter if they are digital or not (camera), and then work with them in the classroom. You can either switch between documents or convert them all in one as I did with your poems in the power point presentation. With the help of the WB I could focus your attention on different aspects of the poems, which made it easier for me as the teacher to lead the discussion. The discussion showed that, although all of you had the same word kit, the poems are quite different. They differ in theme, length and make different use of space. You showed that you were already able to create pictures with the help of words for example “melting in caramel eternity”.

Due to your homework, you were now familiar with the method of magnetic poetry. We used this to do a group activity with you where a poem should be created by the whole class. Therefore, we used the WB to visit the website magneticpoetry.com and the touch screen to pull the words into place. The aim was to get you directly in touch with the WB and make you more familiar with this technology. In addition to the physical aspect, this task demanded interactivity and the dealing with language from you. Thus, we experienced a similar scenario as Haldane describes:

Being able to pick out and physically move specific words away from the poems in order to allow whole class discussion and pupil interaction with the words on the board, created a very visual learning experience and presented concrete, manipulable ‘cognitive keys’.

You accepted our invitation to come to the front of the classroom and to manipulate the poem on the WB as a group.

This photo shows the class during the shared creation process.

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By addressing these different aspects we tried to create a holistic learning experience that involved interaction and active participation on your part. The poem below is the outcome of that process: our group poem.

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Eternity Good Morning


Excerpt out of 31 pages


Teaching Poetry in the EFL Classroom. A Multimodal Lesson with an interactive Whiteboard
A Lesson Project
TU Dortmund  (American Studies)
Cultural and Media Studies
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ISBN (Book)
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14021 KB
teaching, poetry, classroom, multimodal, lesson, whiteboard, project
Quote paper
Markus Emerson (Author), 2012, Teaching Poetry in the EFL Classroom. A Multimodal Lesson with an interactive Whiteboard, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/311258


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