Slam Poetry, on how to connect students with their inner voice

Every now and then, people reach a certain point in their lives when the see the need to communicate a feeling or a situation that requests to be expressed out loud. Some might think that something like that is done by a personal initiative. What those people maybe ignoring is that the classroom can be safe place for students to speak out. What is more, is that that need can be taken as an opportunity for the teachers to teach different subjects and ways to express themselves. That said, Slam Poetry is a great way to get students motivated to learn and, why not, discover how they feel and allowing them to recognize the power of their voice, therefore acknowledge what they can achieve with it.

Slam Poetry is a combination of art, hip-hop and a lot of emotions. I first encounter it on YouTube without knowing its name. I thought it was a new way to recite poetry, but I ignored the fact that it was related to hip-hop or that one does not have to be a poet in order to express emotions based on real life experiences that can be relatable. People from all around the world is allowed to manifest their emotions in a different way. However, Slam Poetry is a malleable tool because one can use different background music, expressions, jokes, combine it with some theatre or even dance moves. Hence, it is an art that does not belongs to a single community nor country, which reinforces the idea that everybody can do it, one just has to try it.

For the class Methods and Approaches in the Teaching of Languages, we were asked to do our own Slam Poetry video. First the professor showed us some examples, from controversial topics to comedy ones. This activity gave us the opportunity to connect with our feelings as well as with the society we live in. When we shared our projects, there were a wide variety of issues such as sex, street harassment, indigenous culture, depression, and happiness just to name a few. While we were experiencing the videos, it hit me why is it important to do these kinds of activities. It empowers us to share our truth and what is more, it allows to see the others life perspective, what bothers them or what makes them happy.

Second language writing or speaking assignments are often seen as tedious. The main reasons of feeling so are because one does not have the ability to transmit the whole message without the impression of having done it badly, letting some important details behind or simply because one does not feel comfortable on doing such activities. The Slam Poetry project was a fun way to let us concentrate on how we feel rather than the message itself. After all, out of sight, out of mind. The latter allows learners to take control of what they want to embody and forget, only for a little while, the formal aspects of the task.



Commentaries about English education by students in the Methods & Approaches to the Teaching of Languages at UPB-Medellín (#MATLUPB)

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