When was the last time you picked up a poetry book and read it for recreation? For most children, the answer would be no; in fact the thought would most probably sound alien. But for Shobha Vishwanath, director and co-founder of Karadi Path Education, the joy to be had from poetry is almost tranquillising, and sharing that joy brings even more happiness. Noticing the decline in children taking to poetry, she organised a workshop for teachers to help make poetry more relatable to students.
The Rhyme and No Reason workshop which was held on Saturday, invited teachers from ICSE and CBSE board of syllabi to rediscover the essence of poetry and discover the key to teaching it.
“Poetry involves words coming from the inner soul of an individual, it’s written to express his or her feelings to the world. But in today’s generation, children have not been very receptive to it and they have begun to find the topic very boring. Hence, I came up with ‘Rhyme and No Reason’,” explains Shobha. Having worked with many educational outfits and participated in plenty of workshops herself, for different genres of literature, Shobha’s experience at Esha group of schools gave her the idea for conducting her own workshops.
The main focus of the workshop was to help teachers understand the purpose of poetry. With the ICSE and CBSE syllabi exposing children to some of the best poets and their works, making sure that the content doesn’t go over children’s heads becomes important. And so, the workshop also focused on making poetry interesting, not too boring and monotonous and relatable for the students. Talking about poetry could be made more effective, Ranjani Meenakshi, regional manager, Andhra Pradesh Colleges and Schools Channel, Karadi Path Education, said, “Teachers were asked to give children freedom to express what they felt about a certain place, thing or their interest by writing it down in a poetic form. Though initially starting with free form, depending on the child’s acumen, they can be streamlined into form. To further help their flights of fancy along, we’ve also advised them to take children out of their classrooms and to a completely different environment so that they’re inspired which may help improve their writing skills.” A work in progress, she added that children may not show interest in the beginning, but giving them the freedom and encouraging them could go a long way in inspiring a budding poet.
So, if one is inspiring a poet in the making, what career prospects can they advise the child about?
Informed Ranjani, “In the yesteryears, where certain professions like doctors and engineers were the only career options, poetry writing was not considered as major career in one’s life. But now, they are opportunities to take up poetry and creative writing as a career. It may be a hard one, but the opportunity is definitely there.”
The workshop saw teachers interact with each other and share and understand poems together. The life and story of Robert Frost, the author of the infamous poem ‘Road Not Taken’, was read out as an inspiration lesson. Also the importance of integrating poetry in our life was another major aspect during the session.