“The Road Not Taken”: poetry and personal insight in the EFL classroom and beyond
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This qualitative study examines how Norwegian tenth graders show personal insight through the reading of the poem “The Road Not Taken”. The research is based on the responses from two English classes in a lower secondary school in Kristiansand, and the empirical material includes 39 responses. The data are analysed using literary terms from reader-response theory. Values and expressions embedded in Norwegian curricula are also discussed in relation to the data. My findings reveal that the adolescents perceive the poem in a fairly coherent way, while at the same time many of the respondents have doubts regarding the accuracy of their own perception. The poem inspires many of the respondents to make their own independent choices and to choose their own path in life. I also find that teenagers who are inexperienced when it comes to poetic literacy are able to enjoy poetry, maybe even to a greater extent than literary critics do. In my analysis I argue that relevant poetry is a fine literary tool to help pupils gain more personal insight. They gain personal insight because they can recognise their own feelings in “The Road Not Taken”, because their feelings are modified by what they read and because the poem has relevant themes connected to their lifeworld. Adolescents today have mange challenges, but they also have the answer to many of their own problems. Some of these answers are found in the poem. Pupils need more practice when it comes to linking material provided them in school to their own lives, thus making school even more relevant. This is a task teachers must take into consideration more often when planning their courses, as education should help the pupils gain insight that reaches beyond the classrooms and lasts a lifetime.
Masteroppgave i engelsk- Universitetet i Agder, 2016