INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
Depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders have been the leading social problems among many others in our communities, and they are subject to a number of attributing factors. These problems are not confined to age, race or social status, they affect the community differently; some from a very young age and other people are subjected to the named problems as they grow. However, the main focus in perspective with respect to this paper is on youths in schools. Youths in schools who are victims to these problems usually carry along problems in question from their places of residence to schools, and since they spend more time there, schools therefore can be of a great essence in providing assistance aimed at solving these problems through providing appropriate information and support for youths in class. (Bilingham, 2010)
Jenny Hulme, in her book ‘The school of wellbeing: 12 Extraordinary Projects Promoting Children and Youth People’s Mental Health and Happiness’, provides 12 projects through which schools can use to derive and shape more understanding and supportive school communities aimed at helping young people to develop the skills to face these problems with pliancy and confidence thus, promoting mental wellbeing and happiness to students who are victims to the named problems. She proposes the use of poetry, counseling, Lego play, social action, sports, mentorship and mindfulness as well as power of parents and role of PSHE. For the purpose of this paper, prominence will be given to chapter 4 of this book which stresses on the use of poetry in classrooms as well as its advantages and disadvantages. (Hulme et al., 2016)
ADVANTAGES OF POETRY
Poetry is a literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. The use of poetry in classrooms is vital for expressing ones’ feelings pertaining to a specific instant in time. Student can therefore use various words to allow teachers and other students as well to get an insight to what the student in perspective feels or thinks since it is easier to convey messages, for poems use imagery which arouses a sense of impression in a reader’s mind, Therefore making it easy for the teachers to come up with best ways to help the student solve their problems, hence promoting mental wellbeing and happiness. Poetry is original to the poet; thus, what the student writes is actually an insight to his inner mind which can be deduced to even understand the character of a student.
For example, a student is asked to use not more than 10 words to express how he feels about a student he has just beaten and he writes “I’m so right, I can’t go left” the teacher will know that he is dealing with a narcissist, therefore he will be a step closer to helping the student since he already knows the student’s character and how he feels.
In child education, children’s verbal and written skills are somewhat underdeveloped. Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of words and where they fit. Additionally, it teaches children the art of creative expression, which most found highly lacking in the new-age educational landscape. In essence, poetry gives them a great tool for developing one’s self.
One of the difficulties that children are facing, is the ability to understand each other, miscommunication and misunderstanding can lead to mass frustrations. Reading and writing poetry enables children to understand each better. For example when a child presents three poems in front of other children. The other children are likely to understand because it might relate to them.
POETRY HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF
Ever felt out of place? Have you ever wondered why you are thinking or feeling a certain way? Ever been frustrated because your friends or partners couldn’t ever possibly understand you because you don’t even understand what is going through your head?, It have been found that the best way to grasp internal turmoil is to write poetry for it slows the world down around you and streamlines your thoughts to short, direct sentences, while soothing the anxiety out of your body with the lyrical style. Poetry, therefore makes one think by putting a spotlight on what the issues might be and forces one to logically and methodically answer to it. Poetry can give you insights into yourself that you never knew existed but always wanted to understand, there is no greater sadness than not knowing one’s self-worth, but there is no greater power than complete understanding of one’s identity and poetry can give you that power.
DISADVANTAGES OF USING POETRY
LACK OF CLEAR PICTURE OF THE SCENE POTRAYED- One among the disadvantages of poetry is that you don’t always get the full picture of the scene or emotion being described, this can be attributed to the fact that some poets explore and manifest their thoughts in abstract. Novels offer more background, more characterization and definitely more conspiracy than the real matter. That is what they are about. Example a Child from USA can find it hard to understand a Poetry which is totally African based and vice versa
DIFFICULT IN WRITING AND ARRANGING THE POEM- Almost anyone, with a little coaching, can write a good description of a character or an object, but not so with poetry since they are hard to write well; this is because, even though the form is as short as a description, it is harder to perfect and requires deep imagination, good choice of vocabularies and good manipulation of both primary and secondary meanings words to express one’s thoughts and feelings. It is not harder than writing the whole novel, of course, but it is harder than writing any other equally short piece.
PREPARING POETRY IS TIME CONSUMING- Poetry are nice, especially when they are already prepared since one is only required to read, get an insight and deduce written expressions into perspective meaning of the poem. Therefore, it is acknowledged that preparing poetry is challenging as it involves lots of thoughts and more artistic touch. This is a complex activity especially when it is used as a tool of expression in the classroom.
On other hand using poetry can be challenging due to the language barrier in terms of choice of words by the poet which may be vague to the reader, who in case is a teacher. This is due to the fact that words are original to what the student (poet) feels or think, therefore, while to him the question as to whether readers will understand what he write or not is immaterial, this subliminally jeopardizes the chance for him to get help geared towards promoting his mental health and happiness.
THE IMPACT THAT POETRY CAN HAVE IN SCHOOLS
FIRSTLY, IT HELPS TO BUILD READING, SPEAKING AND LISTENING SKILLS: Children need to learn to read a variety of texts, and poems are one of those forms. The special thing about poetry is that it is often read aloud repeatedly, and shared in groups, hence, when children listen to poems being read orally, they build their listening skills and learn to attend to the words they hear and derive meaning out of those words.
When poems are shared in a classroom, they are often looked at and read together by children/students in whole which in effect, are strengthens their reading skills and builds reading fluency through repeated reading.
SECONDLY EXPLORE LANGUAGE AND VOCABULARY: A poem can be used to teach sentence structure, parts of speech, and many grammar skills since poetry often contains words that rhyme for effect. Children can learn about phonics and letter sounds by listening for and locating rhyming words. Teaching grammar in engaging ways can be a struggle. Poetry can therefore help through building vocabulary which makes children/students exposed to new words which are heard and read in context respectively.
THIRDLY POETRY INSPIRES WRITING: In poetry, we learn how to put words together to form meaning and context, how to choose the right words to create imagery and effect. Therefore, when we break poems down into their parts, we learn a lot about how writing comes together and how to follow a pattern and put words in a certain order. The simple patterns found in some poems are fun to follow and great places for children to start learning to write. Thus, writing poetry is a transferable skill that will help children write in other ways and styles.
FOURTHLY, IT ENCOURAGES CREATIVE THINKING: Poetry is a form of expression, for this reason, writing it lets us get out our feelings and thoughts on a subject while, reading it encourages us to connect and find meaning in our experiences. Poetry can have a positive impact on the social and emotional learning of children, it may offer them a new way of thinking about things and conveys things into words that children may have otherwise not known how to express. Thus, poetry encourages children to express themselves and their feelings.
LASTLY, POETRY BUILDS RESILIENCE IN KIDS AND ADULTS: it fosters Social and Emotional Learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. We can gain insights that had evaded us many times before and acquire new understanding and strengths which are essentially needed in the pursuit for life.
USING POETRY TO PROMOTE TALKING HEALING
In the book the ‘The school of wellbeing’ a particular chapter talks about how poetry can promote talking healing by Pooky Knightsmith. Pooky Knightsmith explains how poetry can be both moving and powerful and great way for people to talk about the difficult mental issues. He also talked about the strategies and how the book can help certain people overcome their challenges that they may be facing. The author presents a clear argument of many ways which poems can remain a tool for exploring feelings, reflecting on issues, linking to relationship and emotional expression. Poetry is highlighted as a safe way to address mental health issues. Feelings can be spoken directly in a poem by the eyes of the character.
Since Poetry is therapeutic in itself, it can foster healing to those who are experiencing mental disorder or those facing traumatic conditions and emotional discomfort to the point where they find it hard to express themselves, reading poetry can have a similar positive effect as writing it. Poetry, allows one to see into the soul of another, see what is weighing on their minds and on their hearts, through this, poets/readers can open doors to feelings that are sometimes suppressed until that door is opened. Reading can shine a light on all those dark and hidden crevices of the heart and mind once thought permanently closed off to the world.
Carl Sandbury saw poetry as an echo asking a shadow to dance and, as absurd as these words sound, the fact is that, the remarkable power that Carl refers to is what Marcus Herron describes as the ability to use words to describe things that cannot be described by words. Therefore poetry is of a great essence in life for it allows sharing and expressing of both joyful and grave feelings and experiences because with it one can always find ways to derive expressions from words even when it feels one has run out of words there will still be a meaningful probable meaning. Thus, we should all stress on the importance of poetry and indulge more in studying and applying poetry in our daily lives,
Despite poetry having two sides which are advantages and disadvantages, Poetry are so important to children as far as mental health and educational developments of children are concerned, there should be methods which should be applied so as would largely encourage children into participating to poetry, such as there should be poetry competition at school levels and highly recognition of the children who will be performing best, also there should be special sites on the internet where children should be posting their poems which will encourage them to compose poems and in return they will be expressing their feelings and also will increase their language ability to both poets and readers, also there should be a Television programs of poems for children all these would be so helpful.
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Bilingham, M. (2010). BTEC Level 3 national health and social care. London: Edexcel.
Hulme, J., Cox, N., Asher, J., Powell, J., Wan, G., Byron, P., Root, R., Ahmad, A., Griggs, K. and Greaves, S. (2016). The School of Wellbeing. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.