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The Teaching of Children's Poetry: An Exploration of Instructional Practices in University Courses of Children's Literature, English, Language Arts, and Reading Education

Description: There are no studies which focus on the instructional practices employed in the teaching of children's poetry at the university level. This project aimed to describe the instructional practices utilized in the teaching of children's poetry at universities across the United States. Limited to the practices of the university professors and adjunct instructors who were members of the Children's Literature Assembly (CLA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) at the time of this study, this investigation attempted to ascertain the general perceptions of poetry held by these university professors and adjunct instructors, their in-class instructional practices, and the types of poetry assignments given. Additionally, this study revealed both the poets typically highlighted and the goals held by professors and instructors in courses of children's literature, English, language arts, library science, and reading education. A mixed-methods design provided the framework for the descriptive data gleaned from the Poetry Use Survey. Quantitative data analysis yielded descriptive statistical data (means, standard deviations, ranges, percentages). Qualitative data analysis (manual and computer-assisted techniques) yielded categories and frequencies of response. Major findings included respondents': (a) belief that the teaching of poetry was important, (b) general disagreement for single, "correct" interpretations of poetry and general agreement in support of multiple interpretations, (c) general disagreement whether current curricular demands have prevented or impaired their teaching of poetry, (e) high frequency of reading poetry out loud in class, (f) emphasis on inclusion of award-winning poets in assignments, (g) instructional emphasis on variety and breadth in the selection of poets highlighted in a particular course, (h) goals for inclusion of poetry centered on pedagogical issues (e.g., frequent use, appreciation of craft; writing models; thematic uses) in language arts and across content areas.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Jacko, June Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries