Whenever I hear or read the word ‘creative’ as a part of a workshop, I feel immediately involved. Teaching creative writing has always been one of my cherished professional goals. I am still dreaming of having my own classroom teaching a group of students, who study English because they love the language. Yet, it remains a dream, at least in public schools where you have a curriculum to teach, exams to pass and classrooms, overcrowded with a majority of below-expectation students. I am aware, though, that teaching creative writing, be it prose or verse requires a lot of preparation and patience from the side of the teacher.
This leads me to mention what I particularly liked about this workshop. Actually it helped me see teaching creative writing, especially poetry, from a different perspective. I do not deny that throughout the last three years, I intentionally overlooked teaching poetry. Most probably, this practice was generated by a negative attitude my students failed to hide when the lesson was built around a poem. Imagery and metaphor are very difficult to share with learners, who were taught, for ten or eleven years, to look for details in reading passages answering direct questions, without having to justify their choices. I really found the ‘mini-lesson demonstration: writing a cinquain poem’ a great activity. It consists of four stages that foster creativity and lead the learner to produce his own poem. First, it starts with a guessing activity to find the first missing line (which should be a noun). Then it challenges the learners to figure out the structure of the cinquain. After that, in groups, learners are to brainstorm words (nouns, adjectives, present participles) related to a topic (a month or a season). In the end, everyone is ready to be a poet!