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How to Use Poetry to Inspire Tolerance of Different Cultures

How to Use Poetry to Inspire Tolerance of Different Cultures

It’s national poetry month, and Edutopia has some suggestions for educators looking to refresh their poetry unit this school year.

The current presidential race has cast a spotlight on the tension surrounding immigration in the country, and a poetry unit teaching tolerance of the immigrant experience is a great way to teach students understanding.

"Throughout history, new arrivals have penned their hopes and fears in poems about coming to America. They come for a variety of reasons -- to work, to reunite with family, to get an education, or sometimes in search of safety and freedom. Poems of an individual experience lend themselves to a discussion of some universal immigration themes,” Edutopia says.

Teaching such kind of poetry "highlights the human aspect of immigration often occluded by political rhetoric, and it engages youth voice.”

Edutopia offers a list of suggestions for how teachers can use poetry documenting the immigrant experience in their classroom.

For one, Edutopia recommends looking at Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, a site dedicated to educating about the history behind the San Francisco immigration center that was built to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

“The poems left on these walls document a grave moment in U.S. history, detailing with clarity -- in a way that textbooks cannot -- how access was denied to certain immigrant group,” Edutopia says, and suggests heading to the Foundation’s website for poems and lesson plan ideas.

Among other suggestions, Edutopia also recommends doing a classroom poet study on the many poets who are immigrants who have detailed their journey through poems.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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