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Critical Thinking Through Reading Poessays

John Pereira

What's a Poessay?
ポエッセイって何?

ポエムと
エッセイを
融合したら
ポエッセイ

意見を
詩的に言ったら
ポエッセイ

POESSAY
These
little things
are
not poetry
but
a simple marriage
of
the poem
and
essay forms

Poessays
in fact
are
opinions
expressed
poetically
Getting your students to read and think through a poessay - a combination of the creative and the critical - will give them an insight into the working of the language and show them how to communicate more effectively.

Here, then, are six poessays by John Pereira which were published in the Seika Times. Students need to select the correct answer and explain why it is so. Let's begin!

For more on poessays go to COMMUNICATIVE TIMES.

Poessay 1

Humor

I and you
and
he and she

and
every
human being
has
a great
sense
of humor:

we can
all laugh
at
everybody else

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist thinks that ...

a) everybody should laugh and live merrily
b) we laugh at everybody except ourselves
c) we should not laugh at other people


Poessay 2

Buddha & the Economic Miracle

Iconographers
all over
the world
claim
that
whenever
the economy
is
booming

Buddha's face
becomes
fat

And
whenever
the
economy
is in
recession
he has
a
lean

but
not mean
look

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist wants to say that when the economy is ...

a) strong, Buddha looks fat
b) weak, he looks slim
c) bad, we lose our dignity


Poessay 3

Food for Thought

Good teachers
always
tell their students
how much

their homework
has
in common
with sashimi

the fresher
the better

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist thinks that ...

a) good teachers always ask their students to bring sashimi to class
b) students should bring their homework to class on time
c) students should do their homework while they are fresh


Poessay 4

Zen Temple

Zen monks
know
that God
does
not live in
temples

so
they ask us
to pay
an
entrance fee

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist is of the opinion that ...

a) Zen monks are practical people with a lot of common sense
b) Zen monks don't believe in God but are greedy
c) it is wrong for Zen monks to charge an entrance fee


Explanations

If God lives in temples, then Zen monks couldn't ask us to pay an entrance fee - in front of God! But, since they know that God does not live in temples, they ask us.

It also costs so much money to look after the temples that they have to charge us. And, they also have to live.

Yau Murayama

Some old Zen temples are sightseeing places for a lot of Japanese and foreign tourists. These temples have to be well-kept and safe. Zen monks need money to maintain these temples and live too.

They may not actually think that God does not live in temples, but originally Zen is like that!

Shinya Yokomaku

Zen monks say that God does not live in temples. And, we do, too. We and Zen monks are no different. We work in offices and Zen monks work in temples. We expect to get paid, and so do they!

Yuki Takenaka

God doesn't need money. But Zen monks do. Without money, they can't live or repair their temples. So they jokingly say God does not live in temples.

If God exists, He is everywhere. In the temple and outside. So people needn't pay! But, if people want to visit the temple or garden, which are often very beautiful, they should pay an entrance fee.

Etsuko Saito

Poessay 5

Tragedy

When
CNN
announced
that
NATO forces
had
attacked
the border
of
Kosovo
to save
the Albanians

from
the
ethnic cleansing
of the Serbs


it ended
the
months old
Monica-Clinton
affair
(at least, on TV)

making it
difficult

if
not
impossible

for
the
American public
and
media
to pursue
truth

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist thinks that the ...

a) Kosovo problem was much more important
b) media should pursue Clinton and Monica
c) masses should pursue Clinton and Monica


Poessay 6

Belief Systems

My teacher
used to say

Judge a man
by the quality
of his shoes

Anyone
looking at
my shoes
nowadays

(which are
far from clean
and shiny)

would
take me
for
a criminal

Looking back
over the years

I have
only this
to say

Don't believe

anything

your teachers
tell you

Critical Thinking Exercise
What's the key-point? And why?

The poessayist seems to think that ...

a) students should always wear clean shoes in class
b) good teachers wear shiny shoes when they teach
c) teachers sometimes say things which are not true


Courtesy of Seika Times, No. 25 (July 1999)
For more on poessays go to COMMUNICATIVE TIMES.

Copyright; (C) by John Pereira
All rights reserved.
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