Benefits of Poetry for Students
- Jan 12, 2015
A class of 50 7th graders in a certain school in Oakland were once asked by their teacher, “Where are you from?” A session of brainstorming, drafting, lots of revision, peer revision and a conference with the teacher later, poetry spun out of their pens in heartwarming and heart-wrenching volumes. One such masterpiece goes like this:“I am from laughter and jokeswhen my whole family is togetherand my aunts, grandma, and my mom are cooking foodand from the smells of tamales, enchiladas, posole, tacosand many other Mexican foods “Where statements talk facts and prose puts them all together, poetry sprinkles the pixie dust that helps you feel the magic. Consider this for example:“I am from a family that ate only beans and tortillas everyday;and from kids who would see the ice cream man passbut didn't have enough money to buy oneI am from a family who crossed the border to come herehiding from the cameras in the trees that wanted to catch them and from a family that had to sleep under a pile of rocks “Now think this 7th grader in the Oakland school who wrote the poem, stating the facts simply. Would you feel the pain? But you probably already know this, therefore, I will take you down another green alley that poetry has to offer. Did you think Keats and Cummings are just to be relished and repeated from memory at Thanksgiving? Think again.
Improves verbal skills and memory
If your usual reading material consists of newspapers, magazines and blogs, then you are unlikely to come across new words. Poetry opens up a whole new world of beautiful words that you can play around with in your writing spree.Apart from that, poetry involves decoding the sentences and coming to terms with new perspectives, thus putting your brain to use for the right outcomes. The common practice of memorizing poems wards of Alzheimer's as well.Academic benefits of learning poetryAt the 2012 U.S. Department of Education's Student Art Exhibit, Martha Kanter, undersecretary of education, praised arts education, claiming it teaches critical thinking and innovation, helping students see the big picture. She went on to say that all of these skills lead students to be more creative problem solvers.Reading and writing poetry calls for patience, concentration and attention to detail. It contributes a great deal in improving fluency. If you are a teacher, you can try out Elizabeth Mazzurco, a Kindergarten teacher's advice on how to go about it.
Finding your voice
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth “
Robert Frost had some really intriguing poetry up his sleeve that could clear up the cloud and urge you to travel, like this excerpt from the poem “The Road Not Taken”. Poetry can open up your mind to new ideas, urging you to explore yourself in a newer and brighter light. It is an effective source of motivation for students to discover themselves and stand up to their beliefs.
Improves critical thinking
Poetry is not always straightforward. It beckons you to find your way through the winding avenues that it has to offer in bountiful. How is this better than prose? When you read prose, you generally indulge into a sprint through the lines turning yourself into a passive reader. But with poetry, reading between the lines becomes imperative since that is the only path towards comprehension. And this makes you an active reader. Therefore, English Language Learners (ELLs) have much to benefit from reading poetry.Additionally, metaphors and other figurative language encourage creativity and imagination of the readers. The precision of poetry teaches greater sensitivity to language, which frequent readers of poetry carry into their own writing and speaking.
Develops empathy and insight
The best part about poetry is that it can connect reader and writer, surpassing time and boundaries. This connection between emotion of readers and personal experience of the writer encourages the development of empathy. In 2011, The Guardian News reported that studies from the University at Buffalo indicate readers put themselves in the place of protagonist by reading, making them more sympathetic towards characters.You might have absolutely no idea about the Elizabethan era, but a dip in the Shakespearean pool might help you emerge enlightened, bringing in a whiff of the 17th century into thee modern day.
Encourages engagement with other art forms
The appreciation of art requires the same critical thinking that is required in poetry. Therefore, as soon as you feel at ease with poetry, you would come to like other art forms as well. And as you move forward, poetry becomes a part of you.So why don't you bring some poetry into your hearts, homes, classrooms and schools?
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