Churchlands’ English department has again hosted those poetry powerhouses 'Poetry In Action', who led the students from year 7 – 10 on a madcap romp through a cutting edge exploration of both contemporary and timeless social issues. Over four energy-packed hours our students were asked to think about what makes something Australian (The Citizen Test), finding expression through language (The Paper Tiger), how language has shaped our world (Words That Changed Our World), and the devastating emotional impact that comes from really engaging with the poetry of war (Words Of War). This cross-curricular extravaganza gripped the kids from start to finish, including at one stage a hilarious, rough-and-ready Cold Chisel homage, but then seamlessly segued into an empathetic engagement with the despair which was Gwen Harwood’s suburban nightmare.
The response from the students was overwhelmingly positive:
‘It was very different! I thought the way they read the poetry was interesting and the messages were valuable. It’s weird how songs we thought so Australian aren’t at all!’
‘They made the topic really interesting and encouraged the audience to pay attention.’
‘Intriguing and impressive! It was helpful to understand Wilfred Owen’s life and context.’
Importantly, in later discussions teachers reported some students were making connections between their HASS course content and their English, which is an awesome real-world application of their learning. The high-tempo, structured performance really connected with the audience. As one of our students said ‘Poetry In Action was literally action in poetry!’