Classroom Connection: The Art of Poetry

Oct 4, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Classroom

I realised I haven’t been in an IB Diploma English class for a while as I sat in on a discussion the other day. Would it be similar to the English classes I used to be in or would things be totally different?

This was a IB Diploma Literature class and they were using poetry to explore language structure and presentation styles. From first glance thing seemed pretty similar to my old English classroom but as I got more involved in the session I began to realise that there was a significant shift. The students were working with a series of poems by Mary Angelou. They were working in groups on a specific poem – annotating, discussing meaning and exploring the structure of the piece. As the groups were working the teacher was probing their understanding. Nothing so new here but then a simple flip occurred.

The teacher then asked the groups to pair up and their task was to brief/teach the other group about their poem so they could give a presentation on it. They we given 20 minutes to develop their presentations. This was when the really interesting discussions occurred. Students were now forced to get to the real meaning of the work and put it into their own words. It was amazing how powerful such a small shift in the activity had on the whole class. All group members were engage as they were trying to be both understood and trying to understand.

It was great to get back into a higher level English class and find out what was going on. It was also a plesant surprise to see some great teaching strategies used to help further student’s understandings.

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