Modern English Poetry and Turkish Undergraduates: Learning Strategies Matter
This paper aims to demonstrate how learning strategies engaged Turkish English as a Foreign Language undergraduates studying Modern English poetry. The students believed they would not understand Modern English Poetry but ended up publishing a book of their own poetry resulting from classroom activities. This case study details the process of building engagement through connectedness and social constructivist communicative language teaching approaches. Slowly, as an interactive, learning-based classroom evolved from pair and small group discussions, cognitive reading activities and statements about the text that required support, students gained confidence and expanded their English language resource. Universal themes linked Turkish poetry and student life experiences. Interactive communication and sharing of ideas enlivened the class as students responded to each other, to the poetry and then began writing their own individual expressions. Enthusiastic applause from classmates encouraged more creative poetry and the notion of publishing a poetry book of the students’ work. The poetry book product was advanced by a student editorial team in collaboration with the teacher and published just before their graduation. Similar strategies can be used in other teaching contexts to engage and encourage student voice and creativity.
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