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Message from the Project Director

Welcome back! The COVID-19 pandemic gave all of us across the globe, space and time to reflect, think differently about life and come to terms with what we consider truly valuable. We appreciated that time, but we are happy it is now over, and we are ready once again, to work with our participating teachers and students, as we get ready for another Talk the Poem year!

The History and Vision of Talk the Poem
Talk the Poem was created out of a deeply rooted desire to see young people engage with poetry in stimulating and fun-filled ways. My connection with the team for Poetry by Heart in the United Kingdom shifted this desire from the realm of a dream to the place of reality, and by April 2015, I set about to find a team of individuals who would be able to embrace this vision.

The Various Talk The Poem Project Arms
Talk the Poem moved in one year from being merely the Talk the Poem National Poetry Recitation Competition to being the Talk the Poem Poetry Pedagogy Project, a community outreach project of the Communication and Arts Cluster of the School of Education, The UWI, Mona Campus. The two main events for the project thus far, have been the annual Talk the Poem Poetry Pedagogy Workshop and the Talk the Poem National Poetry Recitation Competition. We have now added the ‘No More Hiding Campaign’ to these two areas of focus. The ‘No More Hiding Campaign’ is geared at bringing young people together from different schools to participate in poetry sessions which are focused on building their self-awareness, their poetry reading skills, and their poetry response skills. Teachers are welcome to attend these session. These session are offered in a fun and dynamic way, to strengthen students’ oral and written responses to poetry and showcase the talent of our participants, while at the same time, providing them with the opportunity to share their views, interact with other students, and build their own levels of self-confidence, through the hands-on tasks they are requested to complete. In the future, it is our desire to involve our primary schools and to begin to go from school to school to transform our English classrooms through teaching programmes, action intervention practices, and the establishment of poetry clubs in the primary and secondary school systems. The focus of the Talk the Poem Poetry Pedagogy project is to raise the profile of poetry across the island, transform our pedagogical approaches to the teaching of poetry in our English classrooms, offer support to our teachers, empower our students as they learn to read, interpret, and respond to the poetic, and create a space that provides a sustainable avenue through which to preserve our country’s legacy of producing amazing poets.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work
We continue to grow from strength to strength and we are grateful for the support we receive from our Director, Dr. Marcia Rainford, the members of the TTP Executive committee, our Advisory committee, the members of the Cluster of Communication and Arts, and our sponsors. Special thanks too to our technical team, our participating teachers across the island, our principals, who are always willing to participate in our events, and most importantly, our student participants, who make all of this both possible and memorable!!!

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