This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Using Collaborative Creative Writing Tasks in the Literacy Classroom: How using such techniques can enhance literacy learning and teaching.

Sarah Telfer Sarah Telfer is a Senior Lecturer in Skills for Life and Teacher Training on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses at the University of Bolton. Sarah completed a BA (Hons) in Drama and worked as a professional actress before applying these skills to teach literacy. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Education and her areas of special academic interest include interaction in the literacy classroom by embedding drama, creative writing and literature into English Language teaching. Her specialist research focus is the use of storytelling to promote engagement and interaction in language teaching.

Introduction Building literacy and language skills is all about being able to communicate with other people and by its nature involves collaboration. Real life communication and work-based skills often involve creative interaction between people, or groups of people.

The new Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Standards (2014) state that teachers should be 'creative and innovative' in selecting and adapting strategies to help their students learn. Collaborative writing activities can help to inspire and motivate meaningful and enjoyable interaction among literacy learners, using activities which involve pair work, and group work collective writing activities. Shared tasks can help to build positive and collaborative relationships between learners, offering scaffolding with productive writing activities. As a teacher trainer and literacy practitioner, I have found the use of collaborative creative writing tasks to be a very useful pedagogic tool in not only my own classroom, but in my trainee teachers' classrooms. As so many 14-19 year old learners who struggle with written English have negative experiences of literacy education in the past, literacy teachers could consider implementing creative and diverse teaching methods, in order to help these profiles of learners develop essential writing skills. The ETF standards state that teachers are expected to consciously address the English needs of such learners and work creatively to overcome individual barriers to learning (ETF 2014). In November 2014, Nick Boles, Minister of State for Skills and Equalities, asked the ETF to lead a review of what employers and learners need from the Maths and English qualifications taken by students who are not studying GCSEs. The findings revealed that employers want practical and applied English skills, but more importantly that engagement and motivation are critical to successful learning in English.

How then can we motivate and engage learners using more creative and diverse teaching methods? Trainee literacy teachers often report that writing is the skill their learners find the hardest and, when observing literacy classes, I found this to be an area in which learners frequently feel the most anxiety, often lacking inspiration and motivation. Literacy learners express reluctance to write and are often resistant to writing tasks in general, as writing is a skill which involves conscious physical and mental effort. Young 14-19 year old learners can be harder to engage and motivate, as often their previous experiences of writing is from GCSE classes which are very exam focused and involve little creative collaboration.

Literacy teachers can also put up barriers to creative writing in the classroom, worrying primarily that they themselves need to be creative to implement creative activities, or that creative writing activities will not cover aspects of the curriculum or exam syllabus. I would argue that a teacher's role can be more as facilitator in creative writing activities, activating learners' schemata, eliciting generating ideas, and tuning students into a topic, leading them into the writing activity; but that the content of the writing can come mainly from the learners themselves working co-operatively. Creative writing tasks involving pair work and small groups can help to make the writing process less daunting by offering peer support. Pair work interaction can enhance imaginative creativity, lower anxiety, and encourage peer learning and support for writing skills.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52