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Makar speaks out

In the press this week (National, 29 June 2015) it was reported that Liz Lochhead, who has been Scotland’s official Makar since 2011, is highly critical of the way poetry is being taught in Scottish schools and she claimed that teaching methods are turning children right off the art. In particular she claimed that deconstructing the meaning behind a poem was far too analytical an approach and that children should be encouraged first and foremost to simply read out and enjoy poems rather than do them ‘to death’ for a set exam.

Lochhead recommended that teachers who don’t like poetry shouldn’t go anywhere near them and is worried that creativity is being stifled by analysis, marking and exams. The SQA responded with the comment that teachers approach poetry in a variety of ways and that the intention of the curriculum is certainly to encourage and develop an interest in the subject.