poetry teaching in malta
A substantial amount of recent research on poetry education restricts itself to proving the thesis that curricular and assessment demands are to blame for how teachers approach poetry in class. Assessment is singled out as being especially detrimental for an enjoyment of poetry lessons on the part of both teachers and students. Based on a mixed methods study aimed at understanding poetry education at post-16 level in Malta, this chapter underscores the significance of the idea that a proper understanding of poetry education cannot be tied solely to an investigation of the external pressures bearing upon teachers. The chapter illustrates how the sometimes tense and contradictory relationship between teachers’ beliefs and practices in relation to poetry is crucial in helping to illuminate what occurs in a lesson. Teachers’ beliefs play a prominent role in forging their practices and unless they engage in critical reflection they might not always be aware of how influential these beliefs are, especially in undermining students’ engagement with poetry. By examining the interface between pedagogy and some of the most powerful beliefs held by poetry teachers, this chapter aims to extend the limits of the debate on poetry education.