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Creative Poetry Writing in the EFL Classroom

Term Paper 2009 16 Pages

Didactics - English - Pedagogy, Literature Studies

Excerpt

Contents

1. INTRODUCTION

2. DEFINING THE TERM ‘CREATIVE WRITING’

3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CREATIVE WRITING METHODS?

4. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BRINGING LITERATURE IN GENERAL AND POETRY IN PARTICULAR INTO THE EFL CLASSROOM?
Literature
Poetry

5. WHICH LANGUAGE SKILLS ARE BEING SUPPORTED IN CREATIVE POETRY WRITING?

6. CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS OF IMPLEMENTING CREATIVE POETRY WRITING INTO THE EFL CLASSROOM

7. METHODS OF CREATIVE POETRY WRITING

8. HOW TO IMPLEMENT CREATIVE POETRY WRITING IN THE CLASSROOM
Step One: Encouraging The Pupils
Step Two: Teaching Creative Writing Strategies
Step Three: Enjoying The Creative Poetry Writing Products

9. FEEDBACK AND ASSESSMENT

10. CONCLUSION

References

1. INTRODUCTION

There is a poetic potential

in all of us,

it only needs to be wakened.”

Altvater 1998, 259

Would the teachers of great poets like Barret Browning, Dickinson, Shakespeare or Whitman have known what great writers were sitting in front of them? How many geniuses might be sitting in today’s classrooms? If English teachers want to get a glimpse of what poetic potential their pupils might have, they should bring poetry into the classrooms and inspire their pupils to become poetic writers themselves.

This paper aims at giving an overview of creative poetry writing and giving reasons why and how teachers should bring it into their classrooms. Starting with a definition of the term ‘creative writing’, I will begin by discussing the benefits of implementing creative writing methods followed by the benefits of introducing literature and poetry into the classroom. Those two chapters in total give the answer to the question why teachers should bring creative poetry writing into their classrooms. After giving insight into the language skills that are being supported and discussing the possible challenges a teacher might face, the question of ‘how’ to implement creative poetry writing into the EFL classroom is presented. The paper is completed by a brief discourse about feedback and assessment and tied together by the conclusion.

2. DEFINING THE TERM ‘CREATIVE WRITING’

Beginning with a definition for creativity from modern creativity research, ‘creative’ is every act which represents something new for an individual or signifies something new for society or humankind (Beer, Erl 1972, 9). Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (2009) also describes creativity as “the ability to create inventions, produce works of art, or solve problems using an original, novel, or unconventional approach”. Creativity therefore is strongly connected to the verb ‘create’, which implies creation of any things or thoughts or acts. Even though there are many other concepts closely linked to the word creativity, which exemplify the broadness of the word (Böttcher 2008a, 10), they all contain the creation of something new (see Figure 1).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Concepts of Creativity (own depiction; taken from: Böttcher 2009, 10)

Therefore von Werder (1993, 23) concludes that creative writing is the production of a text that develops new forms of expression, communication and self-awareness.

Fearnside (2006, 1), a recent author of poetry, fiction and academic texts himself, adds to this the affective level, defining creative writing as “any writing whose primary aims are to tell a story, express or elicit an emotion, or both.” This excludes automatically various kinds of fact-focused writing like academic or business writing and most journalism, as von Werder (1993, 23) emphasizes. Creative writing does, however, include – besides the obvious forms of poetry, drama and fiction – works such as letters, speeches, song lyrics or diaries.

When considering such a point of view, it seems as if everybody should be able to produce some sort of creative writing. Fearnside (2006, 1) stresses this point by saying that creative writing is not only “the work of a few talented specialists but (…) the inevitable result of a natural human need to communicate”. Why then should we as English teachers, who are focusing on communication in language learning, not include creative writing in our classroom teaching?

3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CREATIVE WRITING METHODS?

Creative writing not only represents a means of communication, which makes it attractive in the EFL classroom, but has a large number of additional benefits. One of the most compelling ones, is the fact that creative writing methods increase the joy of writing and strengthen the motivation to do so (Böttcher 2008b, 21; Fearnside 2006, 1f). Writing as a language skill is often neglected or handled in boring, moronic ways - not only, but especially, in the language classroom. Implementing creative writing methods offers a fresh and more open approach to the concept of writing and helps to initiate the writing process itself (Böttcher 2008a, 21).

A benefit that Fearnside (2006, 3) sees in creative writing is the fact that it “forces students to think in ways they are not accustomed to think”. He argues that most learning in the language classroom involves ‘lower-order’ thinking (like memorizing facts,…), but in creative writing pupils are impelled to pore over a problem (such as “What rhymes with rose but conveys a feeling of sadness?”) and use their imagination (Fearnside 2006, 3).

Klaus W. Vopel (1998, 9f), one of the pioneers for holistic didactics, makes a similar point. He argues that creative writing can help pupils improve the quality of their writing in general by enhancing the pupil’s inner autonomy, responsibility and competences to make decisions.

From Böttcher’s (2008b, 22) and Aczel’s (2007, 107) perspective creative writing also supports cooperative learning and a positive climate in the classroom. Writing in pairs or small groups, as well as the presentation and discussion of texts, stimulates the cooperative learning skills. I share this view but also see great potential for cooperative behavior in individual writing assignments where the pupils help each other, for example by finding proper rhymes.

The last but no less important benefit of creative writing methods that shall be discussed is its focus on process. As we will see in Chapter 8 there are specific strategies in creative writing which focus on the process of creating a piece of work. This focus on process also encourages many pupils to produce texts of unexpectedly high quality, as Aczel (2007, 107) points out.

The list of benefits when working with creative writing methods in the classroom is seemingly endless. Due to the limit of this paper it shall now be closed and the focus placed on the benefits of using literature and especially poetry in the foreign language classroom.

[...]

Details

Pages
16
Year
2009
ISBN (eBook)
9783640503933
ISBN (Book)
9783640503810
File size
441 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v141016
Institution / College
University of Education Heidelberg
Grade
1,0
Tags
poetry writing creative writing kreatives schreiben gedichte schreiben

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Title: Creative Poetry Writing in the EFL Classroom