A New Approach to Teaching English Poetry to EFL Students

Mohammad Khatib
2011 Journal of Language Teaching and Research  
Poetry like other literary genres exists to be enjoyed and appreciated. The difficult task facing any instructor is to develop this sense of appreciation and enjoyment in students who are not interested in poetry. For a long time, literature in general and poetry in particular, was purged from the teaching programmes on the ground that it made no contribution to learning a foreign language for practical purposes. Fortunately, in the past few decades there has been a renewed interest in using
more » ... nterest in using literature in the language classroom. Despite the renewed interest in teaching literary texts in the classroom, little has been written about teaching poetry to college-level students in Iran. Many English instructors along with many university students do not enjoy English poetry. Even a majority of them express a negative attitude towards poetry. No one can deny that poetry is difficult not only for EFL students, but also for native speakers. My long experience in teaching poetry to Iranian college students has forced me to come to the conclusion that the students' negative attitude towards poetry can be ascribed, among many other facts, to (a) inappropriate selection of the texts and (b) ineffective teaching methodology. This study suggests a new approach to teaching English poetry in EFL situations. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative effectiveness of this approach in improving the students' attitude towards English poetry at college level at Allameh-Tabataba'i University in Tehran-Iran. Index Terms-traditional approach, language-based approach, attitude Mohammad Khatib is Assistant Professor of TEFL at Allameh Tabataba'i University. He holds a Ph.D. in TEFL (Allameh Tabataba'i University, 1999), an M.A. and a B.A. in English Literature from Tehran University (1977 and 1972 respectively). He began teaching at Allameh in 1981 and presently offers graduate and post-graduate courses in SLA Theories, Methodology, Literature in EFL Classes and English Literature. His main areas of interest include SLA Theories, language learning strategies, culture and the integration of language and literature. He has published some articles on TEFL in Iranian Journals of Applied Linguistics. He has translated a book of short stories from famous writers of the world and published a guidebook on Shakespeare's selected sonnets.
doi:10.4304/jltr.2.1.164-169 fatcat:eqbckyctz5c63c3xrvptn5lqbu