Activity
Reflective activities

Decolonising Academic Writing through Spoken Word Poetry

Jenna Goddard

Jenna Goddard

Carolyn Ives

Carolyn Ives

This is a great reflective activity to get students thinking about their writing.

Share:

ACTIVITY PURPOSE

The main purposes are to build community, build learner confidence in their writing, and encourage participants to integrate creative activities into their academic writing process. 

USEFUL FOR

The activity is useful for learner engagement and participation, learner reflection and metacognition around their writing processes, and building classroom community. Plus, it’s fun! 

PREPARATION

  • Set up of a shared anonymous learning tool, such as Jamboard. 
  • Creation of writing prompts based on a course topic.
  • Creation of instructions for learners about how to engage in the activity and guidance as the activity may make them feel vulnerable, depending on the topic. 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Determine your topic and compose writing prompts to elicit learner responses.
  2. Provide spoken word poetry sample(s) and set parameters for learner participation. 
  3. Provide direction/instructions for the activity and using the platform/tool.
  4. For the activity, these are minimum time requirements:5 minutes for instructions and set-up;
    2-5 minutes for individual and private responses to the prompts;
    5 minutes for learners to transfer their responses to the tool/platform;
    5 minutes for the group to organize responses;
    10 minutes for the performance;
    5 minutes for a reflective activity. 

DURATION

This activity can be completed in as few as 30 minutes (see times outlined above), or it can take longer if you have more time to allocate to it. 

ADAPTATIONS AND EXAMPLES

This activity can also be completed in a face-to-face classroom using a board (or flipchart paper) and post-it notes. It can be used for any topic.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

If the activity is completed online, access to an anonymous sharing platform (such as Jamboard or Padlet) would be helpful. Participants will also need microphones. 

USEFUL RESOURCES

Chavez, F. R. (2021). The anti-racist writing workshop: How to decolonize the creative classroom. 

Gillies, K. (2017). Intersectional poetry: Spoken poetry as a platform for feminist thought free from tone policing. Women’s Studies Journal 31 (1), 88 94. 

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge, 40 41. 

Jones, K., & Curwood, J. S. (2020). Tell the story, speak the truth: Creating a third space through spoken word poetry. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 64 (3), 281 289. 

Lisabeth, L. (2021). Strunk and White and whiteness. College Composition & Communication 73 (1), 80 102. 

Moore, J., & Paris, D. (2021). Singing counter stories to imagine an otherwise. English Journal 110 (4), 21 25. 

Williams, W. (2021). Amanda Gorman’s poetry shows why spoken word belongs in school. The Conversation. 

Woodard, R., & Coppola, R. (2018). More than words: Student writers realizing possibilities through spoken word poetry. The English Journal 107 (3), 62 67. 

Watch Video

ABOUT

  • Educator prep: None
  • Student prep: None
  • Synchronous
  • Shared online space, Microphones
  • Duration: Variable

This activity is one of a series of activities from Equity Unbound, focused on equitable online community building. 

Find out more

Do you have an activity that you would like to suggest?

Do you have feedback or suggestions?

More activities

Resource

Building A Kinder Classroom

Learning path

Community Building

Video discussion

How to Help Your Students by Minimising Uncertainty

Interview

‘Inclusive Teaching’: An Interview with Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy

Course

The Role of Structure in Inclusive Teaching 

Curated Activities

Guidance and help

Curated Activities

Reflective Activities

Curated Activities

Ongoing engagement

Curated Activities

Liberating Structures

Curated Activities

Setting the tone activities

Curated Activities

Introductory activities

Activity

Sailboat Retrospective for Reflection

Activity

Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy

Activity

Roses, Thorns, and Buds 

Activity

Origin Stories

Activity

Learning to Love

Activity

Getting at Metaphor

Learning path

Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources

Course

Bandwidth Stealers and How to Recover: Belonging Uncertainty

Course

Bandwidth Stealers and How to Recover: Adverse Childhood Experiences

Course

Bandwidth Stealers And How To Recover: Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat

Course

Bandwidth Stealers And How To Recover: Microaggressions And Ground Rules

Course

Introduction To Bandwidth Recovery

Activity

Checking in with GIF, Emoji or Meme

Course

Designing Learning Experiences For Access, Inclusion And Equity

Webinar recording

Sympathy Vs Empathy as an Online Facilitator

Course

An Introduction to Culturally Responsive Teaching

Webinar recording

Promoting Inclusion In Online Classrooms

Activity

Personalised Conversation Cards

Curated Activities

Warm up activities

Activity

Guess The Topic Mingle

Activity

Ikigai: Help Students Find Their Purpose

Activity

Something behind you

Course

Applying Cultural Humility In Your Classroom

Activity

Creativity Booster: 16 Squares

Activity

Creativity Booster: An Ode to the Other Hand

Activity

Creativity Booster: 5 Senses

Activity

Creativity Booster: Yes, Let’s!

Activity

Ice Cream/Broccoli: Reflection on Enjoyment and Value

Activity

Create a Fake Photo Group Assignment

Activity

What We Don’t Know About Each Other

Activity

Share Music and Create a Class Playlist

Activity

Would You Rather?

Activity

Creating Escape Room Experience For Students

Activity

I Wish My Students/Teacher Knew

Activity

Using Metaphors to Express Thoughts

Activity

Using Dominoes in Teaching

Activity

Desert Island Songs

Activity

The Shape of You

Activity

Words From Your Names

Activity

What Can You Do With A…?

Top Tips

Tips For Increasing Engagement In Discussions

Activity

Choose a Plant

Activity

Which Picture Best?

Activity

Imaginary Buffet (or Potluck)

Activity

PowerPoint Karaoke

Activity

Office Hour Scheduling via Google Calendar

Activity

Tiny Tales

Activity

Cognitive/exam Wrappers for Metacognition

Activity

Self-assessment Tool (of social justice in your teaching) from DISCs (Disciplines Inquiring into Societal Challenges)

Activity

Language Portrait

Activity

Lost in Translation

Activity

Wheel of Life for Student Self-help

Activity

Alternative Approaches to Grading

Course

Introduction to Person-Centred Education

Activity

Thick Greetings

Activity

Estimate workload

Activity

Simple Metacognitive Activities

Activity

Tiny Demons/Drawing Monsters

Activity

Start/Stop/Continue

Activity

Survey students early in the semester: Pre-Course Survey

Activity

Pass the Paper

Activity

Gratitude Journal

Activity

15% solutions

Checklist / tool

Karen Ray Costa’s Trauma-Aware Teaching Checklist

Resource

Loglines

Activity

Appreciative Interviews

Activity

Pop-up Psychogeography Journey Journal

Guide

Some Safety Considerations for Online Community Building

Activity

While We Wait

Activity

What kind of animal are you?

Activity

Two by Three by Bradford

Activity

Troika Consulting – Adaptation for Class Community Building

Activity

TRIZ

Video discussion

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy & How is Your Heart?

Activity

Tour of Where You Are

Activity

Third Places for Ongoing Community Building

Activity

Theater of the Oppressed: Opposites

Activity

Theatre of the Oppressed: Image Theatre

Activity

Teaching Ethics with Theatre of the Oppressed and Liberating Structures

Activity

Surrealist Free Drawing Introductions

Activity

Studio visits

Activity

Structured Dialogues

Activity

Share an object from home

Activity

Room 101

Activity

Purpose to Practice

Activity

Pass the Ball & How Do You Make Rice?

Activity

Meditation

Activity

Wild Tea / Mad Tea

Activity

Introductions: Story of Your Name

Activity

Human Scavenger Hunt

Activity

Reviewing Your Assessments

Activity

Auditing Your Teaching Materials

Course

Making Your Teaching More Inclusive

Activity

Four Ideas for Checking In

Activity

Daily Creates

Activity

Critical Uncertainties

Activity

Conversation Cafe

Activity

Collaborative Storytelling

Activity

Collaborative Literature Review Matrix

Activity

Authentic Open Letter/Video Addressing Students

Activity

Asynchronous & Synchronous Introductions

Activity

9 Whys of Liberating Structures

Activity

Co-Developing Reading Lists with Students

Activity

Spiral Journal

Activity

Annotate the Syllabus

We would like to hear your feedback!

Maha Bali is undertaking research to discover how educators are using these open resources from Equity Unbound/OneHE. Click the button to find out more and to participate.