The Importance of Teaching Poetry

Horizon Teachers look at the top 4 reasons for the importance of teaching poetry in Schools.

Today is World Poetry Day. As teachers, schools and education institutions across the country celebrate this form of literature, we decided to ask one question: why teach poetry in schools? There are many different reasons to promote a love of poetry (whether you're an English teacher or not!) and we've highlighted four good reasons below:

Importance of Poetry in Schools #1 - It develops language

Reading and writing poetry helps develop important language and literacy skills. It enables students to see the endless possibilities of language in shaping expression and creating meaning. And because poetry often breaks grammar and punctuation rules, it can also be accessible to EAL students. Whilst their vocabulary may initially be limited, poetry gives them the opportunity to experiment with language without being confined by rigid grammar and structures. Similar to reading, poetry gives students the opportunity to read and absorb different styles of writing from many different authors. As a teacher, you'll be amazed to watch your classroom's language grow!

Importance of Poetry in Schools #2 - It develop creative thinking

Due to the fact that poetry breaks rules, there's a lot of freedom to be found in writing poetry. It encourages creative thinking in language, structure and imagery. It forces your students to think outside the box and find creative ways to express their thoughts and feelings. Exposing your students to a variety of styles of poetry will help them see the possibilities available in poetry and inspire creativity and imagination. Jeanette Winterson, a renowned British poet and writer, once said about poetry; "It isn't a hiding place. It is a finding place". Poetry will allow your students to truly express their own unique selves, intertwining their creative thoughts with poetic skill.

Importance of Poetry in Schools #3 - It develops public speaking

Poetry originally developed as an oral tradition. Historically, poetry wouldn't be written down and passed on, but shared as spoken word. Much of poetry has an oral quality to it, where rhythm and rhyme play a central role. Teaching your students to understand poetry as music and sound will also help to get into the aspect of poetry as a performance. Take performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah, for example, who has performed poetry for schools and continues to inspire young people. Getting your students to be inspired and perform poems will help build their public speaking skills and confidence in front of an audience. These public speaking skills will be carried with them as they navigate their educational and professional years, a tool they'll have to give them a competitive advantage!

Importance of Poetry in Schools #4 - It develops emotional intelligence

Poetry provides a freedom of expression for students to express themselves and their identities with metaphor, imagery and symbolism. Being able to use language freely in this way will help students to gain new perspectives on life and ordinary experiences. Poetry often explores a complex array of emotions and encouraging students to recognise these will help them develop greater emotional intelligence. It will also help them develop a greater sense of self-awareness that they can carry with them through life. Poetry might become a way students can share their thoughts which they may have otherwise found hard to communicate and express, and in this sense is a truly freeing experience.

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