Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2665-9581
  • E-ISSN: 2665-959X
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There is a longstanding stigma attached to the use of poetry in English Language Teaching (ELT). Poetry is considered difficult and peripheral to ELT curricula and L2 teacher education. Until recently, there was little scholarly interest in studying the effectiveness of poetry in second language teaching. This article aims to advance the research on the use of poetry in ELT. Using a systematic literature review approach covering the years 2008–2020, the present study investigates whether poetry remains underused and undervalued. It is structured around the questions: Is poetry a difficult subject to teach to ESL/EFL learners and learn by L2 students? What value is there to teaching poetry in ELT? Of the 199 peer reviewed journal articles retrieved, 43 met the inclusion criteria for this study and were examined in-depth. Two themes emerged from the analysis: the perception of poetry and using poetry as a research tool in ELT. The majority of evidence was qualitative research, which included 19 case studies; whereas, the most used quantitative research designs were Random Control Trials. We attest to the need for more rigorous scholarship on the part of researchers. Results show that poetry is a valuable tool for ESL/EFL students and teachers, and not difficult for L2 learners. This study concludes with a call for including poetry in teaching practices.


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