Experiencing literature in the poetry classroom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


This chapter reports on a small-scale study of studying fiction in the secondary classroom to explore how a sequence of lessons on Gillian Clarke’s poem “Cold Knap Lake” is experienced by a group of fifteen-year-old students in a UK school. In the context of the performativity agenda that persists in schools, some researchers have argued that the classroom experience of reading poetry in particular has been subjected to a more transmissive method of delivery where students can be fearful of developing individual responses. In addition, the role of the teacher as a more powerful participant in the classroom means that decisions regarding what is read, how activities are framed and how responses are articulated are usually taken by the teacher. This chapter draws on Text World Theory (Werth 1999; Gavins 2007) and interthinking (Littleton and Mercer 2013) to account for the ways in which the students in this study respond to Clarke’s poem. The chapter shows that the teacher and the material aspects of the classroom appear to foreground certain ways of interpreting the poem and discussing it, but that students also engage in using a variety of different resources to help structure their learning and arrive at a satisfactory interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperiencing fictional worlds
EditorsBenedict Neurhor, Lizzie Stewart-Shaw
Place of PublicationAmsterdam (NL)
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISBN (Electronic)9789027263032
ISBN (Print)9789027202017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019


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