Promoting poetic instinct in young children

IN the bid to introduce literary appreciation in poetry to pupils of Nigerian primary schools, the book titled:  My Teacher, my Guide (and other poems) has blazed the trail and presented poems of various simple but basic titles to primary school pupils of all classes, bringing out entertainment, information, and lessons from seemingly-insignificant everyday topics, objects, events and natural phenomena to broaden the tender hearts of Nigerian children in particular, and African children in general.

This innovative collection treats poetry, an indispensable genre of Literature in English with the novelty that will endear pupils to the subject.

My Teacher, My Guide (and other poems) is  written to introduce elementary poetry to the pupils, and task their minds on poetic appreciation and understanding. Poems in this series are meant to inform, educate and entertain the reader; towards a cultivation of permanent love for poetry, an indispensable genre of literature.

The series’ unique features for effective teaching and learning of poetry are as follows:

Each poem has pictorial illustration to serve as visual aid to the poem, hence enhancing better and easier understanding of the work.

Pupils are exposed to contextual meaning of words in relation to each poem.

Exercises are drawn on each poem to test pupils’ comprehension ability.

Repetition of some of the poems in any of the books is deliberate, for emphasis and recall.

The author-poet strives to position the teacher and the teaching profession in an exalted place in the psyche of the learner, so also the teacher is also challenged by this collection to reassert his place and give the best to the pupils. If the teacher is the guide, then he must know the ropes of the profession; guiding right and desisting from acts of omission or commission that can make the pupils grope in the darkness of ignorance and misinformation.

The poetry series promises to have a wide appeal because of its universal relevant titles on nature, personal hygiene, the dignity of hardwork, integrity, love of fellow man and country. It also strives to update the current affairs knowledge of the learner; not leaving behind wildlife, and the psychosomatic effects of dance, music, smile, among others.

Against all odds, the work is a phenomenon that has come to stay in the learning and teaching of Literature in English in Nigeria and Africa. The French language version translation is ongoing to encourage French poetry appreciation and to also break the language barrier for the benefit of the pupils of francophone West Africa.

The teacher is, indeed, a guide for his role in training professionals in every field of human endeavor, including teacher training. It is an honour to the teacher coming from the learners through the inky pen of the poet’s imagination.