Best Practices in English Lit., Poetry

"I was a meanie," she said with a wide smile.


"I made them cry."


"My group. I took my poems to that group. And they read them, and it made them cry."

Well, I thought, that was easy.

She wanted to learn to write poems. We read some poems (lyrics, really). We wrote some poems - me scaffolding less and less each time. She learned to write poems. She wrote and shared her poetry. She got a positive response.

Now she's a poet.

Back story here.

More interesting, for me, is that I used a different approach than the one I describe in this 2007 post. Why? Have I gotten smarter?

No. It was just that the 2007 technique wasn't working - much to my alarm - and so I had to think up something else.

Okay. Good. Now I have two tactics for teaching poetry.

But if there's a take-away for me in this, it's that the next time I'm likely to have to create a third or fourth or fifth way to help an adult learn to read and write poetry.

Never mind your successes, Wendell. Never mind all the successes in the world. Each time we start anew, and "best practice" means what works best for that learner in that moment.


KarenB said...

You are so right (again)! Just when I think I've nailed how to teach something (verb tense, fractions, etc), I'm faced with a learner who doesn't get my way of explaining it.
It's what makes this work so difficult, but also what keeps it so fresh and alive.
When I'm feeling overloaded, I often think how boring it would be to teach the same thing over and over again. Our students really keep learning new for us as well.

Wendell said...

Yeah... though, some days, I think I'd give my eye teeth for the boredom of teaching the same thing - LOL.

Does raise questions about the value of textbooks - well, the a priori value or something - and the need for variety in the printed instructional materials we offer.