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ERIC Number: EJ832207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1175-8708
Untempered Tongues: Teaching Performance Poetry for Social Justice
Camangian, Patrick
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v7 n2 p35-55 Sep 2008
Despite high levels of disengagement in urban literacy classrooms, few teachers have seen fit to explore spoken word--the performance of poetry--as a tool to engage students in literacy. Spoken word poetry serves as a powerful means of self-representation for youth that are traditionally portrayed as threatening, menaces to society that do not know how to productively manage their temperaments. Drawing on prior, spoken word, poetry research in education, the article examines the impact of a performance poetry unit on students' critical thinking, literacy and voice from the perspective of a teacher/researcher in an urban classroom. Bridging the critical and the performance aspects of spoken word poetry in a South Los Angeles high school composition classroom, this article offers a concrete example of this praxis and reports on a curriculum project that empowered students to examine issues of privilege, social control and oppression in U.S. society. The article concludes with pedagogical implications for using, and going beyond, performance poetry as a teaching tool for creating student-centred, critical discursive spaces in schools. (Contains 10 footnotes.)
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California