Why teach creative writing? Examining the challenges of its pedagogies

Gilbert, Francis. 2021. Why teach creative writing? Examining the challenges of its pedagogies. Changing English, 28(2), pp. 148-168. ISSN 1358-684X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines the deeper purposes behind the teaching of creative writing. To extend an analogy created by William Blake in his poem ‘The Tyger’, its furnaces are examined and ‘its deadly terrors’ clasped. As a starting point, it reinterprets the different views of teaching English, as drawn up in the United Kingdom’s Cox Report (1989). It argues that these views can be used to nurture discussion among teachers about why they are teaching creative writing and can be helpful for planning lessons and reflecting upon practice. Significantly, it offers a personal, contemporary ‘makeover’ and amplification of these views. In brief, it suggests that many creative writing teachers:
• Facilitate their students’ personal growth and healing.
• Encourage the exploration of unknown topics.
• Help their students sell their writing.
• Connect them with and to significant texts and well-established creative writing processes and practices.
• Foster critique about the world through their writing.
• Cultivate a spirit of profound learning.
It is the identity of the learner which is the most important one for a creative writing teacher: this pedagogue imparts to their students a spirit of learning, a zest for experimentation and a fiery passion for writing.

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creative writing, teaching, The Cox Report, why teach creative writing, creative writing and healing, creative writing and activism, creative writing and cultural heritage, creative writing and the marketplace

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


9 November 2020Accepted
14 December 2020Published Online

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Date Deposited:

27 Nov 2020 10:32

Last Modified:

14 Jun 2022 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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