What Teachers Make Slam Poetry

Slam Poetry and its Significance

Slam poetry is relatively new to the world of literature and is considered to be one of the most popular forms of expression in the modern day. It’s a combination of powerful words, beats and stage presence that brings stories to life and captivates audiences, making it an attractive form of self-expression for many. Teachers who make slam poetry not only open up a way for them to express their feelings and experiences, but also to educate and engage their students.
Slam poetry is characterized by its passionate delivery, often accompanied by expressive body language, and is often used to bring attention to confronting topics such as politics, social issues, and racism. It’s also used to celebrate life and to express both individual and collective struggles, experiences and triumphs. As such, slam poetry has been a valuable tool for teachers to introduce their students to the idea of social justice, as well as to help their students have difficult conversations about complex topics.

Methods of Teaching through Slam Poetry

When teachers decide to introduce slam poetry into their lessons, they should take care to ensure they are providing their students with meaningful learning experiences, rather than just superficial entertainment. In order to make the process of learning though slam poetry effective, teachers should ensure the content they are presenting is relevant and connected to experiences their students can relate to. They should also be aware of the language they are using, making sure it is appropriate for the age of their students and that the lessons taught relay positive messages.
In terms of method, some teachers may decide to begin with a “slam poetry workshop”, where students are educated about the structure of slam poetry, how to write and perform it, and how to engage with their audience. Such exercises allow students to practice their writing and performance skills in a comfortable setting, without the pressure of the stage.
Once students have a basic understanding of the form and have practiced their writing and delivery enough to feel comfortable performing it, teachers can give their students an opportunity to do a full performance on the entire class. This may involve inviting parents, other classes or members of the wider community to come and watch the performance, as it will build the confidence of the students as they feel they have an audience to engage with.

Opportunities for Growth

Aside from the educational value, introducing slam poetry into the classroom provides an opportunity for emotional growth as well. Through their writing, students can learn how to express their feelings. Equally as importantly, teachers should make sure to provide emotional support for their students following a performance. It’s essential that teachers provide constructive criticism and emotional support if students are to continue writing and performing slam poetry.
However, teachers should be aware of the different needs of their students and the best way to facilitate the emotional needs of each student. Moreover, the emotional impact of discussing and thinking deeply about complex issues can be overwhelming so teachers should ensure they are providing enough time for their students to process the overwhelming emotions that come with it.

Making Slam Poetry Connected to Current Events

Once students have become comfortable with slam poetry, they can move on to exploring more contemporary topics connected to current events. By encouraging them to write about things they see happening in the world, they’ll be able to take an activity that’s usually just for creative purposes and turn it into a tool for learning about social issues.
In an increasingly diverse world, understanding different perspectives and experiences is more important than ever and teachers who make slam poetry can help their students to make connect between their own experiences, shared experiences and the experiences of people from other backgrounds and cultures. By using popular music to connect different generations and cultures and to empower their students with knowledge and understanding, teachers are able to create an engaged learning environment that promotes unified thinking.

Encouraging Students to Exchange Ideas

As well as teaching their students to express themselves, teachers can also encourage their students to exchange ideas with each other. By encouraging their students to share their impressions, observations, and thoughts, they are helping to foster a sense of connection and understanding. This type of interaction not only helps to develop self-confidence and trust among students, but also encourages an atmosphere of open, respectful discourse.
Teachers can also help their students to come to an understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate in a slam poem by introducing established guidelines and respecting the opinion of their students. Through this, teachers can encourage their students to think critically and to challenge one another without resorting to name-calling or other forms of disrespect.

Teachers as Role Models

Finally, by performing their own slam poems and using their own experiences, teachers are able to provide a positive role model for their students. By using the power of language, teachers can help their students to think differently, which can, in turn, help them navigate all sorts of situations. Furthermore, by demonstrating how language can be used to positively influence their environment and classmates, teachers can encourage their students to use their own words for positive change.
Slam poetry can provide teachers with a powerful tool to connect with their student and foster a learning environment that is both informative and engaging. By taking advantage of the expressive power of words, teachers are able to provide their students with an outlet to express their thoughts and emotions and open a way for them to take ownership of their learning process. By understanding the unique needs of their students, teachers can help create an engaging learning experience that helps to develop a sense of connection and respect.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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