brent Participatory Pedagogy writing

Scenes from EFA’s Brent Hub: Haiku Writing Week

In four of his classes this week, our Brent hub lead, Robin, got students writing Haikus. For each group, it served a different function.

Check out Robin’s reflections on the exercise below:

For the Domestic Workers (members of one one our brilliant partners), it was primarily a mode of metaphorical thinking and creativity, a stand-alone exercise with the prompt a piece of broken glass. The only rule of the form we worried about was the syllable count, and so there was a lot of room for self-projection. Some examples from the class:

I didn’t trust him
I don’t love him anymore
I want to be free

He broke the glass
And put it inside the bin
But no one knew it

I’m sorry Madam
I have to tell you something
I’ve been broken the glass

A broken glass likes
imagination equals me
And now in the street

With a group of asylum seekers, the haiku was a summary of a set of ideas (from images which they’d given titles to, and longer texts which they matched with them). From here, they will develop scenarios for short plays:

I am a person
I am a royal person
I belong to myself

My identity
Needs conciliate my past
For my own life.

Let me to say some
To someone who has no ear
No thing to look at

Life is Hope and
Hope is only you and
You are the way and the why

The next class – who have really discussed the benefits of writing exercises with constraints – read Mary Oliver’s poem Kookaburras and got to grips with more of the conventions of the Haiku. Three of us, searching for a good example, chose the same one about writing and editing, and actually, with all the classes, it was a short enough exercise for people to write something and then work to improve it:

sweet kookaburra
asking to lift his long wings
late, the sun has gone

It’s cold outside
Life seems to start to appear
Squirrel jumps for food

I do like my work
And work likes me very much
No time left for my cat

My last class, less used to such activities, got a lot out of it too – on the theme of frost. For a lower-level student, it really was a buzz finding words and grammar forms that fit:

Morning frost, I wish
it could be my holiday
I wake up from dreams

Lovely frost leave me
To cuddle my baby girl
Warm her heart with love


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