Let me tell you a story...creativity and creative writing for tomorrow's classroom: the search for creative writing and creativity in primary education

Amy Jean Mortimer

PhD thesis, conferred 2016

Fostering creative learning is becoming a high priority in education, particularly as a component of 21st Century learning skills. Equally, the role and benefits of arts in education on students’ life chances has been widely discussed. It has been argued that the drive for their existence in educational settings has been in response to an era shaped by curricular standardisation and reductionist learning outcomes that favour a discipline-based skills approach to education. Despite this paradigmatic shift and research evidence that supports the benefits of arts and creative pedagogies, they remain undervalued in the formal curriculum. One art form that arguably addresses the role of both creative learning and the arts in education is creative writing. However, whilst a plethora of literature exists on creativity, there is a paucity on the role and benefits of creative writing in the Australian primary curriculum. Additionally, there is little evidence of its position as a literary art form that can cultivate creative learning. This thesis tells a story of the researcher’s exploration into the role and benefits of creative pedagogy through the lens of creative writing.

The study sought participants’ experiences of creative writing at Sydney Story Factory, a non-for-profit organisation that provides free afterschool workshops to students aged between seven and seventeen, and analysed the impact they had on their learning. Using Arts Informed Inquiry, exploratory case study methodology, ethnography and narrative, this study also explored the implications of fostering creative writing for a broad audience of educators.

Upon completion I found that creative writing at Sydney Story Factory provided a vehicle, as a literary art form, to facilitate the ongoing development of children’s creative dispositions and positively impacted on participants’ holistic learning. The findings of this study contribute to the discourse on the role of quality arts in education and offer insights into using creative writing to promote creativity in primary schools.

Supervisor: Professor Robyn Ewing