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Poetry-based Approaches in Adult Education

Due to Covid-19 people face loneliness. We explorered poetry as a universal form of expression in transcultural digital workshops .

Photo of Elisabeth Vanderheiden

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I am a.....

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Tell us about your idea

In the times of Covid-19-Pandemic, people suffer from loneliness, sometimes depression. Poetry is a universal form of expression. How can a transcultural sign of connectedness be set in the creation of poem-collages on the theme of hope? In transnational digital workshops we  developed and presented poetic creations  to each other  and shared impressions and experiences.  We have explored poetry in adult education in various contexts before: in basic education, in literacy classes for adults, in language classes for migrants and refugees, but also as a specific art-based approach to reflecting on a particular topic. The method of poem-collages is very simple: You determine a topic to be dealt with, take a book and select words or word combinations from one or several pages, combine them and create a poem. Or you take a magazine and choose words, word combinations and pictures from it (see example uploaded).
In poems people reveal a lot about themselves, so it is extremely important that the poetic creations are not judged when people introduce them to each other, but are discussed with appreciation.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

exclusion , unjustice, rating

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am a pedagogue and intercultural mediator, CEO of the Global Institute for Transcultural Research, President of Catholic Adult Education in Germany, very interested in resource-oriented and appreciative approaches in adult education. I edit and publish a lot, focused on pedagogy, in particular on the further education and books on intercultural and transnational issues, Culture and Positive Psychology 1.0 and 2.0. 

What region are you located in?

  • Europe

Where are you located?

Speyer, Germany close to the French border


Join the conversation:

Photo of rajendra bendre

I connect with your idea and also believe that poetry is a form of expression that can reach us deeper than the superficial prose that we have become good at manufacturing.

Would be nice if you can share an English poem collage.

Photo of Elisabeth Vanderheiden

Hi rajendra, thanks for connecting. I will ask the participants if of of them is willig to share an English poem collage and will then upload.

Photo of Elisabeth Vanderheiden

Hi rajendra, I tried to upload some new pics with poems in English language but it seems this option is closed now. So I can send a pic, just teh words now:
The poem below is taken from several articles in a magazine, e.g. from a visit to a boat museum, a sculptor's workshop etc. some terms were selected, cut out and composed into a poem that deals with resilience.

Shipwreck in a storm.
Huge waves, heavy seas, calls for help.
Suddenly one gets into situations that others have experienced but not always survived.
Nobody needs this.
The inner conflict then becomes apparent.
This ability, even in hard times,
Trusting yourself and life.
Miraculously, this emotion makes any subject, however difficult, a little bit easier.
Because there is a lot of experience, knowledge and creativity in us that we can use.
Super exciting.

Photo of rajendra bendre

Thanks Elisabeth. I can visualize the picture from the text!
Seems like human imagination is a canvas on which you can paint with text equally well.

Photo of Elisabeth Vanderheiden

Thank you for your kind words rajendra.

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