Teacher poetry: views and instructional practices of ESL teachers in a public secondary school in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Zeenat Shariff

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Pauline Rea-Dickins


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


In recent years, the role of literature as a basic component and source of authentic texts of the language curriculum has gained momentum. Consequently, poetry as a genre of literature is increasingly being integrated into the ESL curricula. This study focused on teachers’ views and instructional practices in the teaching of poetry in a public secondary school in Kenya. The study employed a qualitative case study design. Participants consisted of three teachers and one student teacher who was on teaching practice. Data was collected through one-to-one interview, classroom observations, document analysis and informal conversations. Findings indicated that teachers have different views about the teaching of poetry. Most importantly, they feel that their pre-service training, especially the B.Ed course, inadequately prepared them to teach poetry effectively. The study reports that teachers make an effort to engage learners in diverse activities during the poetry lessons. However, the majority of the activities accord the teachers more control of the learning process than the learners. Additionally, the findings reveal that teachers have different experiences in their teaching of poetry. These include differences in teaching boys who prefer the lecture method and girls who like participatory activities. Other activities includes challenge such as dealing with students’ negative attitudes towards poetry, the difficult language of poetry and inadequate resources. Teachers were successful in reducing students’ negative attitudes towards poetry in the long run. Finally, the study recommends that teachers make use of more learner-centred teaching activities that appeal to both boys and girls. The study recommends that teacher educators reviews the English education course so that the modality of training is in concord with the expected mode of implementing the integrated curriculum. Curriculum developers need to produce more support materials especially, an anthology of poetry that can guide teachers on how and what types of poems to teach.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library