The Haunted House: Teaching Creative Writing Through Collaborative Learning to 9-13 year olds

Gilbert, Francis. 2020. The Haunted House: Teaching Creative Writing Through Collaborative Learning to 9-13 year olds. In: Emma Branking; Francis Gilbert and Carinya Sharples, eds. Inspire: Exciting Ways of Teaching Creative Writing. Centre for Language, Culture and Learning, pp. 107-125. ISBN 9781913694043 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Many teachers of creative writing find teaching the 9-13-year-old age group tricky for a few reasons. These children are usually in a time of radical transition: getting ready to move into a new school, or starting in a new one. They are still, in my experience as a teacher and parent, children who want to be grown up but aren’t ready for the fully adult material you can teach 14-16 year olds, and yet don’t want ‘baby’ stuff. This makes teaching them difficult. What exactly should you teach? How should you teach it?
Having had decades at the chalk face and a few years as a teacher-educator, I feel I might have discovered an answer. I’ve found that using the well-worn trope of the haunted house works a treat – it’s never failed me yet. Why is this? Well, the reasons are quite complex, but in brief, I’ve always found that children of this age are not only very familiar with the ghost-story genre but also extremely keen to share their stories with each other.

Item Type:

Book Section


creative writing, haunted house, simulation, teaching teenagers

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies > Centre for Language, Culture and Learning



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Dec 2020 11:54

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2021 04:09


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