Creative writing normally refers to the production of texts which creative writing articles an aesthetic rather than a purely informative, instrumental or pragmatic purpose.
Most often, such texts take the form of poems or stories, though they are not confined to these genres. Letters, journal entries, blogs, essays, travelogues, etc. One of the chief distinguishing characteristics of CW texts is a playful engagement with language, stretching and testing its rules to the limit in a guilt-free atmosphere, where risk is encouraged. Such writing combines cognitive with affective modes of thinking. Poetry is that which arrives at the intellect by way of the heart. The playful element in CW should not, however be confused with a lax and unregulated use of language.
What are the benefits of CW for learners? CW aids language development at all levels: grammar, vocabulary, phonology and discourse. It requires learners to manipulate the language in interesting and demanding ways in attempting to express uniquely personal meanings. In doing so, they necessarily engage with the language at a deeper level of processing than with most expository texts. As mentioned above, a key characteristic of CW is a willingness to play with the language.
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the role of play in language acquisition. Creative writing articles some ways, the tsunami of the Communicative Approach has done a disservice to language teaching by its insistence on the purely communicative functions of language. Much of the teaching we do tends to focus on the left side of the brain, where our logical faculties are said to reside. CW puts the emphasis on the right side of the brain, with a focus on feelings, physical sensations, intuition and musicality.
Creative writing genres
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This is a healthy restoration of the balance between logical and intuitive faculties. Perhaps most notable is the dramatic increase in self-confidence and self-esteem which CW tends to develop among learners. Inevitably, these gains are reflected in a corresponding growth in positive motivation. Create a pleasant and supportive atmosphere. Promote the development of group cohesiveness. Increase the students’ expectation of success in particular tasks and in learning in general.
Make learning more stimulating and enjoyable by breaking the monotony of classroom events. Make learning stimulating and enjoyable by increasing the attractiveness of tasks. Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for learners by enlisting them as active task participants. Present and administer tasks in a motivating way. Provide students with regular experiences of success. Build your learners’ confidence by providing regular encouragement. Increase student motivation by promoting cooperation among the learners.
Increase student motivation by actively promoting learner autonomy. Offer rewards in a motivational manner. All these conditions are met in a well-run CW class. The exponential increase in motivation is certainly supported by my own experience in teaching CW. Learners suddenly realize that they can write something in a foreign language that has never been written by anyone else before, and which others find interesting to read. Finally, CW feeds into more creative reading.
It is as if, by getting inside the process of creating the texts, learners come to understand intuitively how such texts function, and this makes similar texts easier to read. I argued in the first article that teachers, as well as learners, should engage with extensive reading. In the same spirit, I would argue that there are significant benefits to teachers if they participate in CW. There is little point in exhorting learners to engage in CW unless we do so too. The power of the teacher as model, and as co-writer is inestimable.
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