Friday, March 20, 2015

Education : Let's celebrate World Poetry Day

Spring Day Doodle

“If what we insist on calling

fate seems inexplicable or cruel

it’s only because

we lack the imagination

to wish for what it brings,
to brighten it
with something more inventive
than dismay.”

John Burnside

This is the power of poetry. It is the power of imagination to brighten reality, to inspire our thoughts with something more inventive than dismay. 

Those are the first words from Irina Bokova's message for World Poetry Day 2015.

"Poetry is the universal human song, expressing the aspiration of every woman and man to apprehend the world and share this understanding with others, through the arrangement of words in rhythm and meter. There may be nothing more delicate than a poem and, yet, it expresses all of the power of the human mind, and so there is nothing more resilient."

Every year on 21 March, UNESCO celebrates the World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

credits: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe 
via Getty Images

"Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family."

Irina Bokova, Director-General of Unesco
Having a mater in Humanities - Literature and Linguistics - I write every year about World Poetry Day and the imortance the poetry has in children's education for the next citizen generation, women and men.
In adult life, they will be women and men of dialogue. Only dialogue can be established in difference and respect for difference. And some among them will be writers and poets.
Students love poetry, so we must consider always include Poetry into Languages curriculum.
Sometimes, I share with you some activities that may inspire you or at least motivate some teachers to celebrate World Poetry Day next week. 
In European countries, it's Spring holiday. But we have the time to celebrate poetry after Easter season. The day is simbolic. You can celebrate poetry every day.

Some Activities:

  • Encourage your students to read, write their own poetry in the classroom. For some ideas, please read my post: It's About Twiter and Poetry (World Poetry Day 2011);
  • Award your students for best and creative poems! Students love 'awards'!
  • Invite to learn from the proverbs of your country, and discover the poetic teachings of others;
  • Organise readings of poems from different cultures, including from pupils' own cultures. 
  • Investigate different forms of poem, such as the Japanese Haiku or the Arabic Ruba'i. The Wikipedia page on Poetry has various examples. 
  • Read up about riddles, limericks and sonnets with students to liven up your school libraries;
  • Promote a contest of poetry between different classes at you school or other schools;
  • Invite a young poet to talk about his poetry with your students at school;
  • Go at book stores, metro stations, gardens, and inspire your students to read some poetry. Remember Let's Play Music! (World Music Day 2012);
  • Promote some exhibitions and poetic events in your school to be held to showcase the work of various 'young poets' (school  students) on or around March 21 to coincide more or less with "World Poetry Day";
  • Support Poetry by inviting your students and their parents buying books of young poets (sometimes, parents ask teachers for some advices about books for their chidren);
  • Support poetry on school radio club (if there is one), publish students poems in the school journals, display videos about poets! Bright Star, lovely movie hounoring John Keats' poetry by Jane Campion is a goos digital resource to display in the classroom or at the school library and promote a dialogue about poetry. Invite some parents  and grandparents to participate.
  • Awaken the poet inside of you and impress your students with your creativity, inventiveness and imagination;
All the activities must be adapted to the levels you teach, of course. You will have wonderful ideas, I know. 

Create an attractive  enironment for poetry in your lessons, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one. Poetry is a fundamental expression of peace.

Peter H. Reynolds
"In times of uncertainty and turbulence, perhaps never before have we needed the power of poetry to bring women and men together, to craft new forms of dialogue, to nurture the creativity all societies need today. This is UNESCO’s message on World Poetry Day."
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO


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