A descriptive study on the role of poetry as teaching material in developing communicative abilities of students in the EFL classroom
Stalker, James C.
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The aim of this study was to determine whether poetry engendered a more communicative classroom in teaching English language to students in the university level than traditional classroom materials- The study was conducted at Bilkent University. The students in three upper intermediate classes at BUSEL were chosen as subjects for the study. A sample lesson using poetry was taught in two experimental groups and the verbal flow was observed in these classes by means of a checklist which determined how much and what kind of discussion poetry generated among the students. A post-treatment questionnaire was given to these subjects after the class time ended to get their reactions and ideas about the lesson. In the control group, a traditional approach to teaching was used and it was observed using the same checklist to see the discussion level in this class while they were following their usual lesson plan within a fifty-minute period of time. As a separate part of the study a questionnaire was administrated to EFL teachers to get their comments on the utility and value of using poetry in the EFL classroom. The findings showed that poetry engendered a more communicative classroom. The classroom was communicative in the sense that students talked more than the teacher. It was also found out that poetry had been effective in drawing and keeping students' attention and providing motivation. They were eager to express their opinions and to discuss different ideas with each other. Teachers' responses to poetry were also positive and their positive responses (especially when coupled with the positive student responses) are strong evidence that poetry can be effectively utilized as teaching material to create a more communicative classroom suggesting that poetry should be included in EFL programs.