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Why the Teaching of Creative Writing Matters Written by Simon Holloway For the last 30 years or so the rise of creative writing programmes in universities has been met with seemingly unending howls of derision from all quarters. Hanif Kureishi, novelist, screenwriter – and professor of creative writing at Kingston University – described them as a “waste of time”. But universities around the world beg to differ, as the increasing number of courses and students testify. The recent Sunday Times league tables for universities ranked the quality of teaching in creative writing at The University of Bolton as the best in the country. The programme there also boasts the highest ranking in terms of student experience. Given that I am the only full-time lecturer in creative writing at Bolton – and also led the programme for two of the three years the recent figures cover – I should be able easily to explain our success, and why our students rate our teaching so highly. I say “should”, because I’m not sure of the answer. There are easy ways to get students to rate teaching highly. We can tailor the classes to their personal needs and wants, and give them all high marks. Or we can teach them at a lower level than we should so that they feel a greater sense of achievement. But at Bolton we do none of these. So what’s the secret? The measure of a mark How you actually go about judging the quality of teaching – particularly with a subject like creative writing – is tricky. There are the normal ways that universities use: peer- assessment, student feedback, the evaluation of staff by professionals who specialise in methods of teaching and learning and staff development programmes. And as Bolton is a teaching intensive, research informed university we do a lot of these things, and I think we do them very well. Hanif Kureishi, who says creative writing courses are ‘a waste of time’. But I wonder whether what is being measured or evaluated in these assessments is more the style of the teacher, rather than the content. Most assessors are experts in teaching methods and practices – and it’s unreasonable to expect them to have detailed knowledge of every subject. As non-specialists they are able to measure the levels of student engagement, of academic challenge, of whether the “learning outcomes” which plague university teaching in creative writing are being met. And if you measure it this way, then it’s quite possible that detractors such as Kureishi are right. For the full article visit: https://theconversation.com/why- the-teaching-of-creative-writing-matters-67659
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Why the Teaching of Creative Writing Matters Written by Simon Holloway For the last 30 years or so the rise of creative writing programmes in universities has been met with seemingly unending howls of derision from all quarters. Hanif Kureishi, novelist, screenwriter – and professor of creative writing at Kingston University – described them as a “waste of time”. But universities around the world beg to differ, as the increasing number of courses and students testify. The recent Sunday Times league tables for universities ranked the quality of teaching in creative writing at The University of Bolton as the best in the country. The programme there also boasts the highest ranking in terms of student experience. Given that I am the only full-time lecturer in creative writing at Bolton – and also led the programme for two of the three years the recent figures cover – I should be able easily to explain our success, and why our students rate our teaching so highly. I say “should”, because I’m not sure of the answer. There are easy ways to get students to rate teaching highly. We can tailor the classes to their personal needs and wants, and give them all high marks. Or we can teach them at a lower level than we should so that they feel a greater sense of achievement. But at Bolton we do none of these. So what’s the secret? The measure of a mark How you actually go about judging the quality of teaching – particularly with a subject like creative writing – is tricky. There are the normal ways that universities use: peer- assessment, student feedback, the evaluation of staff by professionals who specialise in methods of teaching and learning and staff development programmes. And as Bolton is a teaching intensive, research informed university we do a lot of these things, and I think we do them very well. Hanif Kureishi, who says creative writing courses are ‘a waste of time’. But I wonder whether what is being measured or evaluated in these assessments is more the style of the teacher, rather than the content. Most assessors are experts in teaching methods and practices – and it’s unreasonable to expect them to have detailed knowledge of every subject. As non-specialists they are able to measure the levels of student engagement, of academic challenge, of whether the “learning outcomes” which plague university teaching in creative writing are being met. And if you measure it this way, then it’s quite possible that detractors such as Kureishi are right. For the full article visit: https://theconversation.com/why-the- teaching-of-creative-writing-matters-67659
© Writersreign.co.uk - all rights reserved