Teaching poetry to lyceum students. Teacher: Barbara Crespi

15/05/2010 10:27

 This lesson was taught as a demonstration lesson to lyceum teachers of A Athens in 2nd term 2009-2010

Sindhi Woman by Jon Stallworthy

Poem published 1992 in 'Modern Poetry' by Alex Martin and Robert Hill. (Prentice Hall)

Taught to lyceum teachers from offices of Directory & 1-7, A’ Athens by Barbara Crespi  January till April 2010


ORGANISATION OF CLASS: Students sitting in 4 groups. Two of boys and 2 of girls in order to solicit the different view points according to gender.

LANGUAGE LEVEL: Intermediate-upper intermediate

AIMS OF LESSON: to stimulate interest in reading poetry, build vocabulary, stir imagination, sensitize students to 3rd world problems, broaden horizons and have some fun

SKILLS: listening, reading, working in  groups to discuss veiwpoints and find group concensus of opinion



WARM UP: part 1

 Photographs shown on laptop with video projector.  The purpose of showing the pictures is to get students to talk in groups and discuss what they represent and that even when living in poverty people try to live with dignity and send their children to school etc.

(All pictures downloaded from Google images)


Pictures shown of the following:

1. an Indian woman

2. a map of Pakistan  

3. a slum which shows clothes drying and plants growing on rooves of slum housing

4. a child walking in poor area  of Karachi

5. Sindi girl

6. Sindhi women going to the river to bring water in jars on their heads.


Indian woman introduced to get students to discuss their own perceptions of beauty




Map of pakistan


 Slum housing - attention drawn to  washing and plants on roof



School boy walking in slum area in karachi

Sindhi girl . Is she beautiful? Why/ why not?



 Sindhi women carrying water from the river




Part 2:

Students shown the following statement and asked to discuss in groups and then report to class


A famous British actor once said, “ The only thing I look for in a woman is beauty. Everything else can be bought or learned.”

Do you think he is right?



Qualities of women introduced to teach unknown  vocabulary

Students given list  of qualities and asked to fill in their viewpoint as a group and then to report to class. This is filled in on laptop as they report.

Put the qualities in numerical order according to how you think men view (see) women













4.Good taste















Poem read by teacher once and new vocabulary explained on second reading. Volunteer student reads poem aloud third reading.


Sindhi Woman
by Jon Stallworthy


1. Barefoot through the bazaar,

2. and with the same undulant grace

3. as the cloth blown back from her face,

4. she glides with a stone jar

5. high on her head

6. and not a ripple in her tread.


7. Watching her cross erect

8. stones, garbage, excrement, and crumbs

9. of glass in the Karachi slums,

10. I, with my stoop, reflect  

11. they stand most straight

12. who learn to walk beneath a weight.


 Vocabulary  given to students

Sindi:         from the region of Sind      (Pakistan)

barefoot:     with bare feet (not wearing shoes)

undulant:    moving like waves in the water  

glides:         moves slowly and smoothly

ripple:         small wave

tread:          step

erect:          with straight posture

excrement: faeces, manure

slums:          poor squalid part of the city

stoop:          opposite of erect

reflect:         think about, meditate




Students work in groups to note down the lines where one of the following is to be found in the poem then present their findings to class. Please note that  it is not very important if students working in groups talk in their mother tongue but they have to  present it in English to the class.


What and where does the poet have to say something about:

1. clothes,

2. economic status 

3.  Karachi

4. movements

5. himself?



Class  discussion of meaning and success of poem .


  Students from A class at 33rd General Lyceum at  Kolono deciding what beauty means.