International Journal of Arts and Sciences
This article reports the process of an action research project on the impact of reading poetry on student literacy engagement in an EFL standardized test preparation course. This research project was conducted in a class of eight female Iranian adult professionals preparing for the First Certificate of English (FCE) examination, provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment. Standardized tests are believed to narrow the curriculum, to reduce emphasis on complex thinking, and to have “washback” effect on the quality of teaching. In this project, in order to improve the quality of the students’ literacy engagement two particular measures were taken. In the first cycle of action, the class chose to switch from skills-based preparation textbooks to a textbook written with a communicative view of language learning. Each unit in this textbook was organized based on a socially sensitive issue to encourage the students to practice the linguistic skills required for the test in a meaningful context. In the second cycle, as an introduction to the lesson, the students read a Shakespearian sonnet which echoed the main theme of the unit. As a result of these measures, two significant changes occurred. First, there was a noticeable increase in the students’ authentic linguistic engagement. Second, the students took control of the content discussed in class and connected their conversations to their own beliefs, identities, and backgrounds.
Copyright © 2014, International Journal of Arts & Sciences
International Journal of Arts & Sciences
Standardized testing, EFL test preparation, Washback, Literacy engagement
Kalan, Amir, "Reading Poetry in Standardized EFL Test Preparation to Increase Meaningful Literacy Engagement" (2014). English Faculty Publications. 104.