Creative writing classes are mostly about communicating ideas and information in imaginative ways. Ironically, teachers find that they have to conduct their lessons and workshops through boring teaching methods and instructional materials.
Education experts often recommend creativity on the teachers’ part, especially during craft-related classes. This is because non-traditional teaching methods tend to be more effective than their traditional counterparts are. Nowadays, innovative teachers are adopting different strategies to help their students excel in Literature in English.
In this article, we will share the top five tips that writing teachers and parents can use in schools and at home. The ideas on my list were gotten from research studies, personal teaching experiences and surveys. Teaching creative writing doesn’t have to be daunting and boring; not if you adopt the right lesson plan.
- Choose Appropriate and Interesting Reading Materials
Students have very imaginative and innovative minds. However, teachers will find that most of those students will struggle to express their thoughts clearly on paper. The writing classes are there to teach the students how to think critically and write clearly. One of the teacher’s job will be to provide interesting reading materials during classes.
Before each creative writing lesson, it is important to find suitable reading materials for the students. Prioritize quality over quantity. Make sure the pupils read good books. That’s the only way they will learn to write exceptionally well.
Some students might find reading exercises quite boring. But this shouldn’t deter you from giving them. The best thing to do is to introduce the stories and talk briefly about what you liked and what each student should look out for. At the end of each reading exercise, ask the students questions. You can use the five W’s and one H of journalism.
- Who were your favorite (or worst) characters in the story?
- Why did the lead characters feel compelled to act in a certain way?
- When did so and so event happen?
- What did the characters do to achieve their goal?
- Where did the protagonist (or antagonist) take an important decision?
- How did they feel about something that had happened to them?
Asking relevant questions will help to engage the students as they learn to articulate ideas in imaginative ways.
- Introduce Word Games
Occasionally, fatigue will set in and the students might not be in the mood for lectures. I experienced this when I worked as a home tutor. Rather than force lessons on the kids, I introduced them to scrabble games. The children were so excited about winning that they didn’t realize that they were learning new words. At the end of each session, the students were asked to write stories using some of the words they had formed on the board.
If you have a bigger class of students, you can have the students form small groups of four or five. You can also choose different word games for different groups of students. It’s an excellent way to spice up creative writing lessons. Understanding of languages is key, You can use TheWordPoint translation service tool to prevent any language issues.
- Journaling and Diary Writing
Students ought to write more. Not just because they have to, but because it can be cathartic and interesting. One way to encourage daily writing among students is this: introduce them to journaling and diary writing. From my experience, keeping a journal provides opportunities for students to learn to express themselves in writing. Because the journals are personal, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes and experiment with different creative forms. PDF is a powerful tool for teachers, it makes the submissions from the students last longer and easier to store. It is also easy to give remarks and take notes on PDFs now for teachers. Here is a handy guide about how to edit a PDF. (Also check out this pdf editor if you need any additional help)
Research has shown that most young writers start out as diarists and journal writers. Writing often helps the students get a lot of practice. As a teacher, you can encourage your students to explore different sentence structures, themes, and narrative styles and voice in their diaries. Journals and diaries are excellent teaching resources.
- Give Writing and Picture Prompts
From time to time, the students might run out of ideas. Sometimes, they might need mental stimulation too. One effective way to spice up your creative writing class is by introducing picture prompts and/or writing prompts.
At first, your creative writers might be reluctant to explore picture and word prompts. But this shouldn’t deter you. To make it easier, partake in the first picture prompt exercises and read out your stories during the writing workshop. Your job is to stimulate your students and to make sure that they are able to think outside the box.
- Play A Game Of Showing And Telling
Teach them one of the golden rules of creative writing: Show, don’t tell. The students can start by collecting words and building a list of strong verbs, adjectives and synonyms.
The class can compile a collective list of ‘overused words’ to avoid. Copy this list onto a large cardboard paper and paste it beside the board. This list should feature words like fine, boy, girl, man, woman, cool, fun, love, like, go, small, went and so one. The idea is to force the students to be more creative in their choice of words and sentences. In my classes, students tended to use 5trsentences that are more descriptive and less dull ones.
Allow them to use thesauruses in class. A thesaurus will teach them to use the best words in the right context. You can also give them exercises to sharpen their skills of showing and telling. For instance, you can ask them to write a scene or a paragraph showing love, without mentioning the word ‘love’ or any of its synonyms. You will be surprised to find that students will create interesting stories that will remain in the mind of the reader.
The tips above show that effective teaching requires a lot of creativity on the teacher’s part. But the effort is usually worth it. When the right instructional materials and learning aids are used, students are more likely to enjoy and participate actively in the classroom.
Do you teach creative writing either online or offline? How do you make your classes more interesting?