Reading, writing, crafting – Innovations in first year tertiary writing pedagogy
conference contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Cassandra AthertonCassandra Atherton, Antonia PontAntonia Pont
This paper will outline some of the rationale behind, and strategies contributing to, curriculum revision in first-year creative writing at Deakin University in 2012 – delivered in that year and currently running in 2013. The process aimed to produce two consecutive offerings, with distinct but strategically scaffolded preoccupations. This paper deals with the first of these. The design process for this offering, named ‘Writing Craft’, involved addressing two central concerns: (a) the need to unhook the initial encounter with tertiary creative writing pedagogy from a preoccupation with ‘genres’ or the ‘forms’ of creative writing (such as prose fiction, creative nonfiction, script, poetry, and so on) and instead to reorient efforts towards establishing an engagement with craft per se; (b) to address a perceived impoverishment in the range of texts to which students had been exposed prior to commencing study – in other words, to emphasise the practice of reading to facilitate the practice of writing. The curriculum design also involved reimagining assessment, noting the ‘messages about making’ sent to students via the framing of tasks and rubrics. Aiming instead to deemphasise the role of inspiration and ‘work arriving fully formed’, it sought to offer assessment that provided clear – and bounded – prompts for incidents of making and the practice of craft, as well as to provoke conversation with a broad range of texts as a way of courting intertextual inspiration and aesthetic formation.