What do students learn when they do creative writing?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


This essay explores learning and creativity, and connections between them in the practice and pedagogy of creative writing. Based on theories of creativity and learning, it proposes that when learners ‘do’ creative writing they ‘come to know’ – changing perceptions and gaining understanding in a particularly creative process of nowledgebuilding. How can we measure ability and standards of learning in creative writing? This requires defining what it is that we teach within the frames of our discipline; what students actually learn; and how we can assess this learning in meaningful ways. It also requires, from the perspective of our discipline, that we teach ‘for creativity’ – that is, engaging with the difficult tension between creative freedom and the requirements of learning. This paper is based on teaching undergraduate university creative writing. It is not a case study: it proposes to theorize learning in creative writing, arguing that the most effective learning occurs when students actively, autonomously and dialogically engage with their learning in suitable learning environments, and that creative writing is ideally suited to optimal learning. It also argues, however, that not all our students are gifted writers, and we have a responsibility to the learning and teaching for a wide range of learner abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th conference of the AAWP
Subtitle of host publicationand is papers
EditorsJen Webb, Jordan Williams
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT
PublisherUniversity of Canberra
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781740082736
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventConference of The Australian Association of Writing Programs (12th : 2007) - Canberra
Duration: 21 Nov 200723 Nov 2007


ConferenceConference of The Australian Association of Writing Programs (12th : 2007)


  • creative writing
  • learning
  • theory of creativity
  • Vygotsky
  • Maslow


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