Resurrecting ‘Metaphor’ inside the EFL Poetry Classroom: a Nudge towards an Integrated-Model

Author: Amina BOUALI

Keywords: metaphor, EFL literature classroom, the integrated approach, metaphoric competence, poetry curriculum


‘Metaphor’ captures the zeitgeist of the 21st Century for reaching a climactic scene on the stage of cognitive linguistics, literary studies, and Second Language (L2) teaching. Important though, in Algerian English as Foreign Language (EFL) literature classrooms, metaphor plays a peripheral role in education, as it scarcely appears either as part and parcel device in literature analysis or as a means for strengthening the understanding of poetry. However, even in those literary spaces where it visibly manifests itself, learning the metaphoric language does not touch a chord with the learners. The persistent issue is that many Algerian instructors are still employing threadbare, transmissive modes of instruction that fail deceptively to reach satisfying scholarly ends. In this sense, the fulcrum aim of this study is to explore the effectiveness of repositing metaphor inside the poetry curriculum. Correspondingly, it proposes the integrated-model as a state-of-art teaching framework. The primary question that this study seeks to answer is whether teaching poetry via an integrated approach may act as a stimulus for enhancing students’ Metaphoric Competence (MC). The secondary subsidiary endeavour is to diagnose the different intricacies that the learners confront along that process. Guided by these incentives, the researcher has carried an empirical study (pre/posttest) with forty-first year EFL Algerian students from Tlemcen University using four poems as evaluative materials. To analyze the effectiveness of the experiment using SPSS, the inquirer has opted for the Paired- Samples t-Test to check whether the paradigm shift in the same group of participants’ grades is statistically significant or not. Substantially, this study reveals that the implementation of an integrated framework to instruct poetry provides a springboard for remarkable betterments in the area of MC. This progress is evidenced by its ability to revitalize the learners’ cognitive potentials to comprehend, interpret, and evaluate conceptual metaphors embedded in poetry. In an unfavourable note, this study has also dropped the veil on some language difficulties that the students face in the course of metaphor analysis, that stem mainly from the low exposure to the target language (TL), and the poor engagement with the different literary modes of expression. Finally, for the hope of honing (MC) inside the Algerian EFL classes, it is fervently recommended that the teachers assist their learners actively in well-defined figurative-oriented assignments that focus on raising the awareness of the L2 conceptual mapping. Technological aids are also a solicited constructive teaching material that may make poetry draw a new breath of life inside the classroom and beyond.