Using poetry to develop teenagers' speaking competence at Han-Mei Language Institute in Taiwan
English teaching in Taiwan is usually teacher-centred and test-oriented, especially at a private sector school like Han-Mei Language Institute which functions to ‘teach to the test’ (Brown, 1995) and trains teenage students to pass various exams for academic purposes. The exam backwash, however, has led to the imbalance of focusing on students’ linguistic abilities but neglecting their speaking competence. In addition, at Han-Mei, the required textbook, Reference Book—English in detail for junior high school, is written on the basis of grammatical rules. It is not always motivating and lacks target culture literary texts that could benefit learners in acquiring language, becoming involved with different cultures, and promoting personal growth. Hence, in order to strengthen students’ integrative competence and motivation, this dissertation has investigated utilizing poetry as a springboard for classroom interaction through Communicative Language Teaching. There are two poems, What Has Happened to Lulu? and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, which have been used as a means to allow learners to do classroom communication. The implementation, likely problems related to learners’ attitudes, teachers’ beliefs, and syllabus concern in this literature classroom have been taken into account, and possible solutions have been suggested for the future practitioners.