Actualizing Reader-Response Theory on L2 Teacher Training Programs


  • Gary Harfitt
  • Blanche Chu



In this article we share our experiences of using poems in teacher-training courses where the students are predominantly second-language learners. We describe how we tried to help learners engage with a creative text through its language and meaning. We share our experiences of helping to facilitate the open expression of opinions and feelings in L2 teachers (both inservice and preservice) on creative texts, specifically the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. The use of this poem and others like it in teacher education courses in three of Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions has produced consistently impressive outcomes in terms of teachers’ responses to poetry in general. We aim to illustrate a teaching strategy that emphasizes the reader as expert and to show how this process leads EFL/ESL teachers as well as English-language learners (ELLs) to experience more lived, esthetic responses as part of their coursework.




How to Cite

Harfitt, G., & Chu, B. (2012). Actualizing Reader-Response Theory on L2 Teacher Training Programs. TESL Canada Journal, 29(1), 93–103.



In the Classroom