Why should future teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) study Creative Writing? The answer is simple: because the tools and techniques of Creative Writing are among the most powerful resources for teaching and learning in the EFL classroom.
Current research in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning suggest that students learn best when they learn “holistically”: when their emotions and imaginations are no less involved than their intellects in the journey toward proficiency in a foreign language. Few activities synthesize emotion, imagination and intellect so powerfully as artistic creation, and no creative activity focuses more intensely on language than Creative Writing. Here in the Department for Didactics at the Institute of English Language and Literature, we are convinced that any future teacher of EFL should have first-hand experience with this “holistic” form of learning.
The potential benefits of Creative Writing in the EFL classroom are significant. First, students experience English as a flexible medium of self-expression, rather than merely as a monolithic set of rules and vocabularies that must be memorized and correctly deployed. This leads immediately to the second benefit, that of becoming emotionally invested in what one is doing. Creative Writing, in other words, is an affectively coded activity: students who are encouraged to use language creatively begin to learn with the support––and motivation––of their own emotions. As current research indicates, this means learning both more efficiently and more deeply. The third benefit derives from this: Creative Writing connects what happens in the classroom to what is in fact the ultimate aim of humanistic education, namely, self-discovery. In the final analysis, Creative Writing goes beyond expressing what one already knows and feels, and brings one into the realm of discovering what one doesn't yet know, what one doesn't yet feel―about oneself, and about one's relation to the world.
Student texts are available here.
Börner, W. / Vogel, K. (Hrsg.) (2004): Emotion und Kognition im Fremdsprachenunterricht. Tübingen: Narr.
Rheinberg, F. (1999): Motivation und Emotionen im Lernprozess: Aktuelle Befunde und Forschungsperspektiven. In: Jerusalem, M. / Pekrun, R. (Hrsg.): Emotion, Motivation und Leistung. Göttingen: Hogrefe, 189-204.
Sambanis, M. (2013): Fremdsprachenunterricht und Neurowissenschaften. Tübingen: Narr.