Re: (teach) Re: To learn by heart
- Jo-Ann--How about great poetry, much of which is available on the net? We
used some with a one-week intensive we did for some HS students over Spring
Festival break, and the results were pretty good.
We looked for fairly simple language and not more than a page: some of our
students surprised us by taking on fairly challenging pieces and doing them
Poetry is great for getting the flow and appreciating the beauty of
language, and we felt that, since we had only a week to teach a "speaking"
class, we weren't going to have time to teach them to generate their own
material. We did not ask for memorization, just practised reading with
gesture, inflection, and feeling.
We had a period every day when they could get help from a teacher either in
understanding the poem or with stuff like pronunciation and flow(in this
case, we actually had 4 teachers for 10 students, though at least one of us
was usually involved in something else), and videotaped their readings 2
days before the final performance (also the class final) so that they could
check how they looked, whether they could be heard and understood, etc. We
also did some relaxation exercises and stressed eye contact and taking a
deep breath before starting--our students read Sandberg, Frost, and Yeats,
among others, and better than we expected.
I definitely advocate videotaping any performances at various points along
the way if possible--it's useful for students to see themselves and
gratifying to see how they've improved. Leslie
Leslie Sirag, R..L."Seth" Watkins, & Anne-Sarah Watkins
South Ocean International School Luoyang
Luoyang, Henan, POSTCODE:471031, People's Republic of CHINA
- Last semester I taught an elective poetry appreciation course to junior
English majors. It was the most fun for me of any course I've taught (in 4.5
years in China), and my end-of-class surveys produced rave reviews from most
of the 22 who took the course.
I'd recommend the following text, which I discovered last summer and used the
early chapters of: Robert DiYanni, "Poetry: and Introduction."
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