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Exploring Poetry-Pedagogical Approaches in Basic Education: A Fruitful Journey by Synthesis

The educators at Synthesis embarked on a remarkable journey, exploring the poetry-pedagogical approaches in adult basic education in Cyprus. Their exploration proved to be an inspiring and fruitful endeavor, offering a transformative experience for both educators and learners alike.

Throughout these explorations of the approaches, the educators embraced a wide array of tools, ranging from digital marvels to more traditional mediums. Short films that captivated the imagination, soul-stirring melodies, and the creation of concise verses and captivating haikus were just a few of the avenues they skilfully employed. These tools became vessels to unravel the beauty of poetry, showcasing its power to engage and ignite passion in learners.

The exploration of the poetry-pedagogical approaches revealed the profound impact of poetry on individuals’ obstacles and the unknown. Learners, predominantly women in our organisation, found immense enjoyment in this transformative process. By immersing themselves in the world of poetry, learners discovered a newfound courage to navigate the intricacies of language, allowing them to express their thoughts and emotions with greater confidence and authenticity.

Beyond the realms of language acquisition, poetry became a gateway for personal growth and self-discovery. Learners embraced the opportunity to explore the depths of their own creativity and expressiveness, cultivating a profound sense of empowerment. Through poetry, they found solace in self-expression, overcoming barriers and embracing the beauty of the written and spoken word. The exploration of the poetry-pedagogical approaches in basic adult education has revealed the incredible power of poetry to unlock individuals’ potential, fostering a love for language and self-discovery. The dedication of the Synthesis educators’, coupled with the learners’ enthusiasm, has paved the way for transformative experiences. As we continue this journey, may the enchantment of poetry guide us towards new horizons, unlocking the full potential of learners in adult basic education in Cyprus and beyond.

At Kalamata Second Chance school we tried to write calligrams. Calligrams are words that have been written in a design or enhanced by a design. Firstly, we talked together with our learners about calligrams, the history of calligrams, the first calligram that was made by Simmia of Rhodes fl. 300 B.C, about Guillaume Apollinaire.

Then we watched videos about them. After that our learners created their own calligrams, choosing the poem that expresses their feelings, emotions, ideas, the poem they like most. At the end they uploaded them to a corner.

So, we used creative writing techniques to help our learners express their trapped emotions in an artistic way.

Poetry and Arts

On February 14, 2023 at the Kalamata Second Chance School, we discussed about the love. Through a three-hour project and working with the project method and collaboratively, we implemented some activities combining arts, painting and music to create texts and poems. Learners engaged in an activity inspired by Brazilian painter Romero Britto, who combines elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti in his work. Black outlines, bright colors, hearts, and flowers, colored stripes with dots, circles and triangles, distinguish his work. His motto is “we are all looking for happiness”.

Thus, our trainees created their own hearts by studying and observing his work. Also studying the lyrics of the song “What is it called love” (Alternative title: “S’ agapo”. Composer: Takis Morakis / Lyrics: Danai Stratigopoulou, Giannis Fermanoglou. From the film “Boy on a dolphin”) and hearing it set to music they implemented an activity that asked them to write a text describing what love means to them. They could also write a poem about love. Accompanied by the music teacher they sang songs about love and a nice and warm atmosphere was created, proving that music has a positive effect on creativity, learning, mood improvement, team bonding, stress management… 

Mascha Kaleko: ‘Recipe’

Significant topic of the participants: War in Ukraine, worry, fear

Method: The poem as a parenthesis

The study groups: Two reading and writing groups online via Zoom. People are accompanied to set up the technology, there is the possibility of on-site meetings in learning cafes. Two groups in a work offer for people who receive support in life and work. 

Starting point is the defining theme of the people: fear because of the war.

From the poem only the beginning and lines to the end are presented (see the postcard of the artist project).

The beginning of the poem “Chase away the fears And the fear of the fears” opens. 

The sentences almost at the end of the poem “Be wise And hold on to miracles” closes the parenthesis.

In between the group explored the question of what counter-design to fear there could be: Where, with whom do I feel comfortable? Someone brought in a song, later participant wrote a recipe with the title “How do I bake myself a good friend”, because it became important not to be alone with fear. People use the picture plane with collages. word and sentences. The group works on the collage of a ‘Wonder Tree’: a spontaneous and creative collection of hopes and wishes.

Translation of words in the ‘Miracle Tree’: Wonder-People, Wonder-Heart, Wonder-Wedding, Wonder-Me, …

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