In my experience, it seems that when we consider the teaching of language to “lower ability” students, the sole concern seems to be on the more pragmatic uses of the language. If these students can understand instructions, write down a telephone message or fill up forms, then language acquisition is considered successful and even sufficient.
But richness of life and language goes beyond just the pragmatic and logical. The aspects of language that speaks to the heart and imagination first before it speaks to the head certainly has a place. Imagery, metaphors, similes, and humour that comes from a play with words are important too.
In my opinion, in a multi-lingual environment like Singapore and with our slant towards pragmatism when teaching language, we have a majority of the population who have probably missed out on being able to access their potential due to their restricted language exposure and ability.
I recently tried out this found poetry app called Word Mover with a group of adults as we tried to construct a poem collectively. It was great that everyone gave it their best shot, waiting patiently as each one took turn to shift, add and re-arrange the words.
(I think that this final creation is interesting in content and form albeit still raw and gravely in need of further polishing.:-D)
I wonder if our students would have enjoyed this, if not at least patiently endure it long enough to begin to like it.
The random associations that are drawn upon for this is itself a good exercise for stretching those creative brain muscles. If there is an attempt to use the words to convey emotion and not merely state the literal and logical, writing a found poem also stretches the relational-emotional-heart part of us. Both of which are important counter-balances for overly cold and rational pragmatism, aren’t they?
If you do write poems, found or otherwise, please do share it.