Writing as play: Designing a school-based creative curriculum for writing
School writing has become dominated by the notion that writing exists as proof of analytical skills and textual knowledge. Grammar drills, formulaic essay, paragraph and sentence structures and even teacher-written cloze essays for students to complete and memorise have come to suffice, in some schools, for an education in writing. Yet the Victorian Department of Education desires students to experience a ‘repertoire of possibilities’ (Myhill et al, 2016). The Australian Curriculum: English requires students to write for ‘enjoyment’, to create texts the primary purpose of which is aesthetic, and to write media texts, newspaper articles, fiction, nonfiction texts, poetry, drama, multimodal texts and imaginative texts. Instead, the pressure to write exam essays which preclude drafting, the oppressive ‘funnel’ of VCE pedagogy down the school and the fear of assessing creative work have nullified writing as thinking, writing as rhetoric and writing as play.
How do ambitious national and state English writing curricula become cookie cutter, cookbook, textbook and teacher-proof writing curriculum in schools? How do we develop school-based curriculum for writing that recognises, nurtures and rewards good writing, of all sorts, developed playfully, experimentally and in dialogue with peers, teachers and broader audiences? How can we avoid enacting neoliberal attacks on the arts, humanities and anything perceived as ‘subjective’? How do we assess diverse forms of writing? How do we resist metalanguage tickboxes and genre-based templates? This forum invites teachers, heads of department and schools to address these questions, most fundamentally, to support students to achieve their true potential as writers.
For more detail visit: https://www.vate.org.au/events/curriculum-committee-forum