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Music, movement, mnemonics, maps: Teaching fiction and poetry writing using sight and sound


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Literary terminology is littered with visual and aural references but so often in the teaching of writing or the analysis of texts, attention is placed more on the cerebral than the sensual elements of language. We refer to an image in analysis, but the critical process of identification blocks our ability to recognise the visual range of the meaning of a word. We note the “music “of a line of poetry, but lose the rhythm and colour of a stanza in the disinterment of its parts.

In my teaching of creative writing in New Zealand for the last twenty years, a great deal of time has been spent in getting my students to see what is great about great writing. Have I done them a disservice in only introducing them to the cannon? I have included reading and research components in their assessments in recognition of the value I place on their extending their knowledge and range whilst producing thoroughly beautiful work for me to read. But sometimes this has not been enough and even I have become bored with being clever. Sometimes we simply need to rediscover play, to delight in more unexpected ways into writing, to extend our boundaries, stretch the membrane of our imaginations.

Pedagogic theory reminds us that not all students are linguistic or verbal learners. There are many “intelligences” to nurture in the delicate arts of education; visual, spatial, kinaesthetic, musical and rhythmic intelligence are also part of the profile of any person. This paper is an account of work developed in 2011-2013 to use music, maps, mnemonics and movement to generate enthusiasm, passion, diversity and above all, please God, just a tiny amount of great writing!

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Creativity, writing, multiple literacies theories, education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Gail Pittaway
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2013 06:14
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:06

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