In the fast-paced world of education, finding innovative ways to engage students and nurture their creativity is an ongoing challenge. This article explores the transformative power of Slam Poetry, providing teachers with a groundbreaking solution to break through the barriers hindering their students' creative potential.
What is Slam Poetry and Why Does it Belong in Your Classroom?
If you’ve never seen or heard slam before you might not know what sets it apart from other types of creative writing. I've heard Slam Poetry described in many ways, but my favourite is the combination of creative writing and creative performance.
It’s not like rap or hip-hop because there is no music or beats. It’s not like theatre or acting as there are no costumes or props...slam is just about words.
This lowers the barriers to engagement. Students don't need to be musical, play an instrument or own expensive equipment. They don't need to live in an urban centre or go to a big school with a drama department. Anyone, anywhere can do slam poetry.
The Hidden Benefits for Students
One of the biggest benefits for students is the opportunity to approach words in a new way. Many students struggle with spelling, grammar and punctuation, and these struggles can become censors that shut them down and make them believe that they can never be a creative writer. Slam Poetry removes those obstacles and gives them the freedom to explore.
How Slam Poetry Removes Obstacles and Liberates Students from Writing Struggles
Unlike traditional poetry that’s published to be read by the audience, slam poetry is only experienced when the poet performs it. Students are encouraged to focus on what they want to say and how they want to say it, rather than the rules of writing that they typically struggle with.
Empowering Voices Through Performance
As 50% of slam poetry is about the performance part, students learn to write out a performance copy that “Shows the Flow” of how they want the words to go when they present.
This visual aid gives confidence to every student who struggles with presenting, and is a useful skill they can use throughout all the stages of school and life.
"Confidence on Stage: The Crucial 50% of Slam Poetry That Transforms Student Presentations"
Jerry Seinfeld has a joke about a study that was done about fear. The number 1 fear was public speaking, the number 2 fear was the fear of dying. His joke was that at a funeral, people would rather be the one in the casket than the one giving the eulogy.
Jokes aside, most of us feel nervous to speak in front of people. What slam poetry does, is teach students how to write using imagery in a way that communicates emotion and feeling. And the performance copy, gives them a way roadmap to perform their words, so that if they are nervous, they can simply follow the cues they have given themselves.
Poetry Slams Transform the Creative Culture of Classrooms
The Secret of Slam Poetry is Surprisingly Simple
Creating a Safe Supportive Space for Students to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone and Take a Creative Risk
At a poetry slam the audience cheers the poet all the way from their seat to the stage. Everyone is nervous, so we support each other by making it as encouraging as possible. During a poet’s performance, if we like something the poet says, or how they said it, we give them ‘snaps.’
It’s a fun, easy, non verbal way to give some encouraging feedback in a way that doesn’t distract them. It also encourages students to be engaged, active listeners. The combination of cheering poets to and from the stage and snapping to express our enjoyment transforms the creative culture of a classroom."
A Game-Changer for Educators
In the fast-paced world of education, finding innovative ways to engage students and nurture their creativity is an ongoing challenge. Slam Poetry provides teachers with an easy-to-use solution to break through the barriers hindering their students' creative potential.
Online Video Lessons and Slam Poetry Residencies
Over the last 10 years Rik has taught slam poetry to thousands of students, in person through week-long Artist Residencies, online virtual sessions with students around the world, and through online video courses.
Access Rik's Slam Poetry Material Through Online Video Lessons, Virtual Session or Slam Poetry Creative Writing Residencies
Are you ready to empower your students and transform your classroom? Click now to explore the limitless possibilities of Slam Poetry!
Rik Leaf is an Arts in Education Specialist. Performer, Producer, Slam Poet, Author
Hilariously, a meme inspired my entire career. It said, "Be Who You Needed When You Were Younger"
And that's how I got here. 20 years into a career creating a safe and supportive space for students to step out of their comfort zone so they can experience the magic of finding their voice.
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