Creativity, uncertainty and discomfort: teachers as writers

Cremin, Teresa (2006). Creativity, uncertainty and discomfort: teachers as writers. Cambridge Journal of Education, 36(3) pp. 415–433.



Teaching for creativity in writing requires not only knowledge, skills and understanding, but the emotional capacity to tolerate uncertainty, take risks and engage artistically. This paper reflects upon one strand of a research project which is examining the relationship between teachers' development as writers at their own level and their efficacy as creative teachers of writing. It draws on the compositional experiences of sixteen English primary teachers, who wrote regularly in project sessions, in school and at home and documented the process. The multiple data sources include: questionnaires, writing histories, composing logs, interviews, observations and analyses of the writing produced. The teachers' lived experience of composing clustered around a number of themes, these included: constraints and intuitive insights, a sense of the personal and deep feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. This paper focuses on only one of these themes; it explores three teachers' uncomfortable encounters with ambiguity and risk and considers the diverse ways in which they responded to the emotional discomfort evoked. Pedagogical implications are also examined. It is argued that in order to support children's creative development as writers, teachers need extended opportunities to engage artistically and creatively as writers themselves.

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