The Art of Making Up Things: Jacques Rancière and Intellectual Emancipation in the Primary Creative Writing Classroom
Simpson, Phillip William
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Phill Simpson’s research explores the emancipatory potential of creative writing practices within the context of the Aotearoa New Zealand primary classroom. It has been suggested that schools are where creativity goes to die. An argument also exists that schools are not and can never be emancipatory. In this research, these limits to creativity and emancipation are used to critically explore the possibility that creative writing can foster thoughts of creativity, equality and emancipation. Following the emancipatory work of philosophers Jacques Rancière and Gert Biesta, Phill explores how primary school teachers teach creative writing, through interviewing primary teachers, and utilising his own experiences of creative writing and creative writing teaching practices. Findings reveal that when teachers focus their creative writing practice on fostering freedom, they often become risk takers, removing themselves as the didactic, more knowledgeable teacher. Such potential suggests that teachers needn’t be creative writers themselves in order to teach creative writing. This research suggests that when teachers situate themselves as ‘storytellers’ rather than ‘writers’, such practice can be both emancipatory and accessible for both students and teachers. Findings from this study offer new possibilities for policy and practice in creative writing pedagogy within the primary creative writing classroom.