By Don Gutteridge
Introduction1. How We ReadThe strategy of ReadingReading Poetry2. Aesthetic examining: PoetryThe factor ItselfSome Pedagogical PrinciplesImplications for educating PoetryGeneral Impl
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Extra resources for Teaching English: Theory and Practice from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve
If poems have an afterlife, then, we ought to consider ways in which we can encourage young readers to extend their aesthetic experience beyond that final reassembling at the end of second reading. This entails finding means of taking the poem (not unaesthetic bits of it like the one-sentence theme) out to other venues, particularly to other poems and works of literature as well as appropriate areas of the students' lives. From this imperative we derive a fifth principle: teachers will, where apt and productive, encourage students to extend their initial experience of a poem into their personal and social lives and to other literary works, and thus set up a kind of third reading.
From an examination of what a poem is, of how and why it is composed, the kind of reader it presupposes and invites, and the aesthetic nature of the cognitive reading process set up between text and reader, we have extrapolated six principles to govern English teaching, courses of study, and the overall formulation of a K-to-12 curriculum in ae&thetic reading. These are not the only principles we might have deduced, and even these might have been stated otherwise. However, if the general argument so far has been valid, they ought to translate easily into strategies we can use in the classroom.
Any precise reading of them will depend wholly upon the depth and subtlety of the life-experience we can bring to the text. 32 Teaching English A third type of ambiguity is that intrinsic to connotation and metaphor. The associative or connotative meaning of a word, phrase or image — as opposed to its literal or dictionary meaning — is by its nature suggestive, and in poems it is extended and qualified by the aesthetic context> rendering any unanimous response to it impossible, even when there is consensus about its principal effect.