As teachers, we all have our favourite games to play in class, and our favourite resources to plan lessons around. Poems in TEFL classes can be a useful addition to these games and resources because they teach English in a fun, flexible way. Here are seven reasons why poetry-based activities are a great addition to TEFL lesson plans.




They’re flexible




Poetry can be used for whatever we want to achieve in our classes. For example, reading or discussing a poem makes a useful speaking activity, making our own poem is a fun writing activity and performing a poem is a great production activity for young children. We can teach an entire lesson on a poem or use a poem as a warm-up, cooler or filler. Having a few favourite poems in TEFL classes to use while teaching can be as useful as having some favourite games.


There are also many poems to choose from. Poetic styles and themes are hugely varied so there is a poem to compliment any vocabulary list or grammar concept we’re working on. There are also poems about basically everything. Food, emotions, the seasons, animals and anything you can think of. We can find a poem to compliment any lesson or course we’re teaching. 




They encourage free talk




Discussing a poem can be a useful way for students to share their opinions and practice natural conversation. A poem will provide several discussion points, from the theme to the affect of any figurative language. 


Teachers can choose a discussion that suits our lesson plans or, if advanced enough, the student can decide what they want to discuss. For less advanced students, we can base some speaking activities on the poem as a warm-up for free talk.




They teach vocabulary

 It is well known that poetry helps to improve vocabulary. Poems in TEFL classes not only introduce new words but encourage students to play with the words they learn. Regularly studying poetry will introduce students to rhyme, metre and synonyms in a natural, playful way. It also enables students to find patterns and similarities in the English language, as well as encouraging a light-hearted and experimental approach to learning. 

  They teach fluency

 Poetic rhythm and metre are useful tools for practising English fluency because of the clarity of the stress patterns. In a poem, it usually becomes clear very quickly which syllables should be emphasised, which makes overall fluency easier. 

 Iambic rhythms are said to replicate the natural rhythm of English more closely than any other poetic metre, although many people disagree. Either way, reading and listening poems in TEFL classes allows students to play with rhythm and stress. Teachers can discuss this with our more advanced students when working with them on their fluency. 


They can be used to mimic our natural learning pattern
Research shows that babies learn the underlying rhythm of their language before they begin to understand the individual words. Listening to English will mimic this natural learning pattern. Poems in TEFL classes are especially good options for listening activities because they’re often short and pleasant to listen to. Unlike other many other listening activities, poetry enables the student to focus on fluency instead of being distracted by vocabulary or grammar.




They’re easy to memorise




Memorising poems helps children learn new vocabulary and sentence structures. It can also help children review sentence structures they’ve just started learning. Having accurate sentences stored in their minds children a permanent point of reference to use when making English sentences. 

Another benefit of memorising poems in TEFL classes is that even if a student doesn’t know what a word in a poem means, they’re more likely to recognise that word when they encounter it in their reading or their classes. This will help them to learn about this word more quickly, which over time will improve their vocabulary. 

 They encourage further reading

Students are likely to read works by writers they’ve enjoyed reading in class. The advantage with poetry is that poems are often quite short so finding time to do extra reading outside lessons will be easier. Students can also listen to poems when they’re not able to read. 

 There are lots of places to find poems online. Here are a few starting points. 





































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