Published in 1988, this book is a teacher’s eye view of how children come to write and rewrite poems, and of how they make aesthetic choices in their writing. Drawing on over twenty years’ experience of teaching poetry in primary and secondary schools, Robert Hull presents a detailed account of the process of writing poetry in the classroom. The reader is invited, almost in confidence, to be witness to a skilled teacher’s planning, recognition, and definition of children’s emergent understanding and expertise. The author adopts a non-behaviourist model which stresses difficulty and uncertainty, rejecting a simplistic assumption of linear progression, predictability of outcome, and short-term results. The many examples of poems written by the children demonstrate in a very vivid and impressive way the value of this approach. All teachers, not just of poetry, will find this a fascinating and informed study, and an inspiration for their own work in the classroom.
Part I: Introduction. 1. ‘How do I get them to write poems?’ Part II: Process. 2. A New Class. 3. New Subjects. Part III: Dialogue. 4. Children’s ‘Autonomy’. 5. Intervention. Part IV: Context. 6. Literary Models. 7. The World Out There. 8. Other Contexts. Part V: Relations. 9. Productions and Relations. 10. ‘But is it Poetry?’
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