Let’s Enjoy a Poem
(Enjoy a Poem)Poem is a powerful tool for learning a second language. It is a piece of writing in which words are chosen by their sounds. These words are arranged in separate rhythm. They suggest some meanings. In our primary textbooks for English, mostly the lines rhyme at the end.
Collection of poems is poetry.
S.T. Coleridge defines poetry as, ‘The best words in their best order’. Teaching of poetry is different from teaching of prose.
Poetry is the musical and metrical form of language. It has a beautiful and graceful quality. It is a thing of beauty, beauty of thought, beauty of form and beauty of emotions. It is intimately close to life. It appeals to the heart through senses.
The objective of teaching prose is to develop language skills such as vocabulary items, structures, reading habits whereas the objective of teaching poetry is to enjoy the music, beauty, melody, humour and get delight.
Importance of teaching poetry:
Robert Frost says- “Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” So poetry gives all that is needed in life but at primary level poetry is for pleasure. According to Wordsworth, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility.”
Everybody has emotions. Similarly children have emotions, joy, pleasure, thrill, sadness. These emotions should find a valve in the form of poems.
Aims of teaching poetry:
1. To provide delight and enjoyment
2. To enable students recite the poem with proper rhythm and इंटोनेशन
3. To develop values among students
4. To enable students appreciate the beauty of language and words
5. To train the emotions of the स्टूडेंट्स
6. To enrich the imagination of the students
7. To create an aesthetic sense among the students
8. To enable students learn English in an enjoyable and learner friendly environment .
How to Teach a Poem
Step 1 :
The teacher should give an appropriate introduction to the poem to create interest among students. Keeping the main idea of the poem in mind, a parallel poem should be recited before the class. The parallel poem will be helpful if it is already familiar to the students. This activity requires a lot of imagination on the part of the teacher. The teacher will tell the name of the poem and its poet. Teaching aids may be used for giving a good introduction to the teaching.
Step 2 :
The poem should be recited by the teacher not only once but two or three times. Here the students should be asked to close their books and only listen to the poem. Recitation of the poem should be continuous and effective. It should be recited with correct pronunciation and rhythm. There should be word music while singing the poem. If there is a reading of the poem it should be slow and distinct with proper stress and intonation.
Recitation by groups of students and then by individual student Here the pronunciation of students should be corrected wherever needed.
Some key words of the poem should be written on the blackboard and be explained. Though the poem is to be read, recited and learnt by heart but sometimes according to the situation, poem may be explained in simple language, i.e. in mother tongue also.
Central idea or the theme of the poem should be explained wherever it finds its suitability.Let’s take an example of teaching a poem.
Book V has a poem, ‘A Nation’s strength’. Before starting this poem another parallel poem
given in English book IV, ‘Our National Flag’ be recited first as the teachers as well as students are familiar with that poem. The theme of both the poem is patriotism.
i Pictures like National Flag, Map of India having people in it.
ii Parallel poems on the chart with pictures and content both.
iii The poem ‘A Nation’s Strength’ should be written on the chart with pictures of people and National Flag etc.
iv V Even recorded poems can be played in the class-room. Picture showing army persons fighting for the nation.
vi A chart depicting pictures of some freedom fighters, sportsmen, social reformers and scientists.
After reciting the poem ‘Our National Flag’ the poem given in English Book-V, “A Nation’s Strength’ composed by R.W Emerson should be recited. Here the students should be made to listen to the poem with their books closed. Model reading/recitation of the poem is very important part of the poem, so it should be recited not once but two or three times, till every child grasps the pronunciation and even the main idea of the poem.
The text of the poem is
Not gold, but only men can make
A people great and strong. Men who, for truth and honour’s sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men, who work while others, sleep,
Who dare while others fly.
They build a nation’s pillar deep,
And lift them to the sky.
The rhyming scheme of the above poem is ab, ab, cd,cd because
make rhymes with sake in 1” and 3rd line
strong rhymes with long n 2nd and 4th line
sleep rhymes with deep in 5th and 7th line
fly rhymes with sky in 6th and 8th line.
Then students should be made to follow the teachers in reading the poem.
After recitation of the poem by the teacher, the students should be motivated and encouraged for reading the poem.
Some of the students should be asked to recite the poem individually. Following words/phrases of the poem may be explained as follows:
Gold : material wealth
only men : honest and dutiful men only.
A people : nation
honour’s sake: for regard and respect
Stand fast: be determined
Brave men : hard working people with a strong will power.
Dare : take risk in life/are prepared to face challenges in life.
Fly : run away from difficulties in life.
Nation’s pillar : foundation of a country
Lift :progressive, prosperity
Sky : to the highest level
Main idea/theme of the poem is:
Honest and hard working people of a country can make a nation wealthy and strong while a country with coward and shirking people becomes weak and hollow.
A few questions based on comprehension of the poem can be asked such as:
1. Who is the poet of the poem ‘A Nation’s Strength”?
2. Who can make the nation great and strong?
3. What type of men makes the nation great?
4. What does ‘gold’ stand for?
5. What do brave men do?
6. What do other men do?
The above question answers may be done in bilingual form also because the purpose of the exercise is to comprehend the poem. However, the student should be prepared for writing the answers only in English language.
Note- The other poems can be taught using the above pedagogy or some other innovative activities based technique. The teacher is the facilitator and judge of her his own class. She he can evolve the technique according to the environment of the class.