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Plurilingual poetry: playing with the languages

The world needs more poetry and we should start with the classroom

The world needs more poetry and we should start with the classroom. Occasionally, poetry is overlooked by teachers as a method of language teaching. Often, some teachers find this genre difficult because it is especially complex in its understanding, based on puns, metaphors, and symbols. However, many teachers have used poetry by envisioning a way of humanizing language classrooms.

By using poetry in teaching a language, students can have an individual experience and draw a personal voice to engage creatively and emotionally while acquiring a language. Poetry writing has been used for different purposes in language education, for instance, instruction, reflection, expression of feelings, autobiographical memories, etc.

It has much evidence that poetry has the gift of enriching us with words while playing with them which makes the students exercise their minds more, gradually developing and enriching their vocabulary. As a writer and a plurilingual language teacher, I have been combining poetry and language in my classrooms and proven which has been a good method to be able to express ideas and emotions through writing.

Living in three different countries Brazil, Ireland, and Spain, I could see how Barcelona stands out for being a multilingual city and how poetry can be a powerful tool for language teaching. Since my Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin, I have been studying plurilingual poetry not only researching as well as writing poems.

The term plurilingual poetry is the use of two or more languages in a single poem. In my doctoral studies in Education at the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona (UAB), I am studying plurilingual poetry in Spanish/Catalan classes in a project called AFEX (Aprendemos. Familias en Red) promoted by Casa Asia.

In February 2022, in collaborative work between facilitators, researchers from UAB, teachers, volunteers, and myself we held a four-session workshop on multilingual poetry with participants (majority women) from Africa/Asia in the Institute Barris Besos. Every year, Casa promotes a poetry exhibition event and this year the theme was "the first day..." In the sessions, the participants were able to carry out simple activities such as reflecting on the use of the languages they speak, drawing, painting, making collages, and constructing their own poems based on their linguistic repertoire.

If teachers incorporate accessible poetry activities in their classes, the student´s language learning process will be more creative, and joyful they will improve their language skills.


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