Teaching Creative Writing in Schools
History, Creativity, and Childhood
By Mick Gowar
Routledge – 2015 – 228 pages
Through a focus on history, language, and the child-as-writer, this book grapples with changing approaches to creativity in the classroom. Gowar places the teaching of creative writing in schools within the context of the history of ideas, tracing the idea that pupils should be engaged creatively when learning to write, from the teaching of classical rhetoric in Tudor grammar schools, through the philosophies of Comenius and Pestalozzi, to the ‘progressive’ educational theories of Montessori and Dewey. The book focuses on the development of creative writing as a significant element in literary and literacy teaching in schools during the second half of the twentieth century, concentrating on four distinct approaches to the theory and practice of creative writing teaching by examining Ted Hughes’s Poetry In The Making; Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies and Dreams; Sandy Brownjohn’s Does it Have to Rhyme? and Michael Rosen’s Did I Hear You Write? It visits the neglect of creativity in the present regimes of performance targets, league tables, training and testing, and poses a series of questions that need to be addressed if creativity and enjoyment in writing and reading is not to be banished entirely from European, North American, and Antipodean classrooms. Also visiting the implications of new media on creative production and new modes of writing, this timely book considers both the ways in which institutions construct and constrain childhood creativity, and how children respond and fashion their own sense of creativity.
1. Introduction 2. Classical and Medieval Antecedents 3. English Grammar Schools of the Renaissance 4. 18th and 19th Centuries: The ‘Romantic Myth’ and Essay Writing Vs. Composition 5. The 20th Century 6. The Golden Age of Public Support? 7: 1990 – 2011: Test and Test Again 8. Towards an Uncertain Future Afterwords and FAQs Appendix
Mick Gowar is Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies at Anglia Ruskin University, UK.