Attitudes Towards Poetry in the EFL Classroom. A Teacher and Student Perspective
The inclusion of poetry in an EFL context has shown to be a debated topic among scholars in the field for several decades. Many instructors of literature and poetry hesitate to incorporate poetry in their teaching and researchers try to uncover their reasons for being uncertain while also exploring the benefits of poetry in the EFL classroom. This study aims to shed light on teacher and student attitudes in a Swedish upper secondary school context. It further seeks to compare and contrast teachers’ attitudes with students’ in order to investigate potential similarities or discrepancies. Three teachers and six students participated in a qualitative, semi-structured interview where questions regarding poetry and their attitudes towards it were discussed. The results indicated that both teachers and students generally hold positive attitudes towards poetry and that they, except for one teacher, understand the value and benefits of the genre. Developed knowledge of the English language, self-expression, analytic skills and historical and political understanding were some of the benefits the results of this study revealed. Some challenges were also acknowledged by both teachers and students, mainly regarding the lack of sufficient material, English language skills and experience with poetry. Although this study contributes to the research field of poetry in EFL contexts, there is a need for further research that explores teachers’ and students’ attitudes and perceptions towards poetry in an EFL context.