English Teaching: Practice and Critique

The creative potential of metaphorical writing in the literacy classroom

Volume 5 Number 2 September 2006

Deborah Fraser (School of Education, University of Waikato)

Creativity is difficult to define and a universal definition remains elusive. However, common words associated with creativity affirm that it concerns novelty and originality, hallmarks of many great and enduring texts. Students can also be encouraged to surface original ideas through constructing their own creative texts. This article outlines such a project that focuses on metaphorical writing with students in the primary school setting. When teachers foster creativity in the literacy classroom, they provide open-ended lessons, encourage variety and innovation, and allow time to play with ideas. Engaging students in writing their own metaphorical texts is one way in which students can generate novel responses and multiple interpretations as outlined in this paper. The students’ texts reveal unique voices that range from the playful to the dramatic in their creative exploration of what it means to be human. The potential of such writing for engaging students is discussed alongside the value of metaphorical writing for encouraging emotional exploration, imagination and sheer enjoyment.