What is creative about creative writing? A case study of the creative writing of a group of A Level English Language students

Caine, Marjory (2014) What is creative about creative writing? A case study of the creative writing of a group of A Level English Language students. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis reports on a case study of the creative writing of A Level English Language students. The research took place over the two year course and involved five students from one class in an 11 – 18, secondary grammar school in the South East of England. The students were aged 16 at the beginning of the case study. There were two girls and three boys, and all from families with little or no tradition of going to university.

The research was based on the theoretical framework of the New Literacy Studies (The New London Group, 1996), where literacy is seen as a socially constructed phenomenon. Genres, discourse and creative voices were researched through discourse analysis toolkit to reflect and interrogate the socially constructed literacy event: the two pieces of coursework each participant produced. Additional data was also included to present a kaleidoscopic deep study of the literacy practice through using interviews, domain-mapping and questionnaires.

It is also a reflexive study as it has built on findings from earlier studies for the EdD course, and also projects forwards to the continuing tensions in the teaching of English. Although Creative Writing is now an accredited A Level for examination from 2014, and is a valued component of the A Level English Language, in the earlier years of secondary education students have had limited exposure to creative writing. This is due to the effect of the National Curriculum that has shaped the generation of this case study. Creative writing has been marginalised and devalued within the GCSE (paradoxically since the QCA, 2007 Programme of Study for English put greater emphasis on creativity), where there is limited creative writing opportunity: teachers select a title from a possible six which their students respond to. The Department for Education’s draft new National Curriculum has a brief reference to creativity in a list where grammar and accuracy are prioritised. There is a tension in what policy statements, including stakeholders such as Ofsted, say about creative writing and what students experience in delivery of the syllabus driven by the National Curriculum. There is also the anomaly that many students have a range of literacy practices as they operate in increasingly multimodal literacies that schools do not recognise as writing experiences.

At present, there is much written about creative writing in primary schools and in Higher Education; but the creative writing of young adults following an A Level course is not visible in policy documents, nor the focus of academic research (with a few exceptions such as Dymoke, 2010, and Bluett, 2010). Therefore, it is an area that is worth exploring.

The original contribution to knowledge that the thesis provides is a definition of the literacy practice of the creative writing of A Level English Language students. The thesis, through the case study, identifies the range of influences the students draw on and, in particular, the evidence of intertextuality. How the students develop and shape their creative writing through different creative voices, building on the intertextual influences is presented through the lenses of multiple and multimodal data-sets. In conclusion, a pedagogical model is offered for practitioners who perceive echoes with their own educational contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0149 Literacy. Illiteracy
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe) > LF0014 England
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 06:13
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 13:29
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/48753

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