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Essay about Creative Writing in the Composition Classroom

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Walking inside the typical composition class, one can expect to see the students crafting the five-paragraph essay or working on a persuasive piece as they try to argue they side of an in-class debate. Composition classes do not only work on a studentís writing, they also get the students to think through their writing (at least the good ones do). There is a certain well-accepted style to teaching writing in the traditional composition class, and it works very well for many students and teachers. However, should the line of comfort be crossed, and if so, how? Should composition instructors grab a hold of a different writing style, making it the focal point of their pedagogies in their writing classes? More importantly, if they do, what good would come of it?

In an essay in her collection Colors of a Different Horse, Wendy Bishop says that composition teachers do indeed ìneed to be crossing the line between composition and creative writing far more often that we doî (Bishop 181). Bishop herself has taught both creative writing and composition, and has done both by entering the situation in the mindset of the other. She readily admits that she writes poetry (and not composition), yet she ìwas formally trained to teach compositionî as opposed to poetry (Bishop 183). With this quote, Bishop makes a point to explore composition teachersí qualifications for teaching the writing in which they instruct; she teaches composition, yet does not experience writing. She writes poetry, yet does not teach it. I would imagine this is widely the case all throughout academia; a vast majority of composition teachers are also creative writers, and their teaching techniques in the classroom may very often stifle not only their students creativit...


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...Helene.Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing.New York: Columbia Univ. P,
1993.

Dean, Deborah M.ìMuddying Boundaries: Mixing Genres with Five Paragraphs.î
English Journal 90 (Sept. 2000): 53-56.

Elbow, Peter.Everyone Can Write.Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. P, 2000.

Flynn, Elizabeth.ìStrategic, Counter-Strategic, and Reactive Resistance in the Feminist
Classroom.îInsurrections: Approaches to Resistance in Composition Studies.

Ed. Andrea Greenbaum.Albany, NY: SUNY P, 2001.

Fox, Dana L. and Cathy Fleischer.ìBeginning Words: Teaching and Writing Across
Traditional Boundaries in English Education.îEnglish Education 34
(Oct. 2001): 3-5.

Lessing, Doris.Prisons We Choose to Live Inside.New York: Perennial, 1987.

Tobin, Lad.Writing Relationships: What Really Happens in the Composition Class.

Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Heinemann, 1993.


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