Discussing SDG10 in “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

Evidence shows that literature can be a significant tool for English language teaching and can help international students improve their skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English. Literary texts, such as poems, short stories and novels, can provide international students with exciting opportunities to practise these language skills while also learning about grammatical structures and understanding new vocabulary. Duff and Maley (1990) argue that the use of literature is influential in language teaching since it provides students with real examples of language applications, and opportunities to experience new genres and styles and learn how to distinguish the function of each.

Introduced to a range of authors, students can have access to various interpretations, and viewpoints, which allows them to develop new ideas and leading to creative, and highly motivated interactions with the text. With imagination and inspiration from the literary text, students can learn about other cultures and places, and appreciate different people, their histories and way of life. In turn, this can encourage students to reflect on their own experiences, develop tolerance and understanding of one another in the classroom and their wider communities. At the same time, literary texts can deal with universal themes such as love and loss, and issues of fairness, equality, diversity, inclusion and justice, which are not always covered in textbooks and this can spark lively classroom discussions and greater confidence in speaking and listening.  

To delve further into this topic, Dr Manjeet Ridon, Associate Dean International (Education, Sustainability & EDI), will host a seminar for International Year Zero students at the DMU Dubai campus, who are studying English for Academic Purpose as preparation for their higher education studies. The session will feature “Still I Rise”, a poem by Maya Angelou, an African-American author, celebrated poet and civil rights activist. In the session, students will explore the theme and language of this poem and consider how this links with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities. This is an innovative aspect of the DMU English language teaching programme, with teaching material linked with UN SDGs as part of DMU’s wider commitment to sustainability. 

For more information email Manjeet Ridon manjeet.ridon@dmu.ac.uk

This event will take place in hybrid mode and will be recorded.


Duff, A., & Maley, A. (1990). Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Elliot, R. (1990). Encouraging reader-response to literature in ESL situations. ELT Journal, 4(3), 191-198.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Still_I_Rise#/media/File:And_Still_I_Rise.jpg

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