How dialogues facilitate high school students’ responses to poetry


  • Daniela Cavalli University of Pennsylvania


Drawing from a case study on students’ responses to poetry in a Catalan public high school, this article shows how dialogues facilitate students’ aesthetic experiences. The study sheds light on how one on one, and small group conversations that occurred in interview situations -in connection with classroom activity- mediated these responses. As a way to understand dialogical mediation and the affordances of poems in student-reader activity, the analysis connects a sociocultural understanding of literary reading to readers’ response theory and its empirical study. Results show that in joint meaning-making activity students (a) live through emotional experiences and (b) respond to distinctive poetic devices, which, in turn, create opportunities (c) for their poetic literacy, and (d) ideological becoming (Bakhtin, 1981).


poetry, dialogues, reader’s response, high school


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Author Biography

Daniela Cavalli, University of Pennsylvania

Daniela Cavalli holds a M.A. (2010), and a Ph.D. (2016) in The Teaching of Language and Literature from the University of Barcelona. She is a Spanish Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. Her area of interest is literary education, particularly the role and use of poetry in educational settings. She has published articles about the perception and response to visual Catalan poetry; the use of reflexive writing to improve the poetry reading experience; and the challenges and opportunities brought about by the teaching of poetry. She has been a member of the University of Barcelona’s research group POCIÓ (Poesia i Educació) since 2009. She has taught Spanish language and literature in preparatory high schools and in college at different institutions in Chile and the US. She has also taught within the field of The Teaching of Language and Literature in undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Barcelona.




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