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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
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Wednesday, June 17 • 1:45pm - 2:45pm
CON03.CreativeDiscussion03 - Writing into our teaching challenges: Four creative writing exercises to deepen reflective practice

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Numerous studies have shown that writing about traumatic or otherwise stressful events in our lives makes us healthier and helps us function better as professionals (Pennebaker 2004). As educators, we face potentially stressful experiences every day, especially as we engage with our most challenging students. As such, the positive impact of personal journaling on teaching practice specifically is also well established (Stevens and Cooper 2009).

Recently, education researchers have begun to consider whether creative writing in multiple genres – that is, beyond mere diarizing – might also assist in fostering academic reflective practice (Rath & Edgington, 2014). Rath and Edgington suggest the use of poetry to prompt reflection upon teaching. I would like to expand upon this suggestion by making the case, through this interactive workshop, that writing exercises normally reserved for fiction writing classes may also provide powerful opportunities for teachers in all fields to reflect deeply on their practice as educators.

In this workshop session, participants will explore a recent traumatic or otherwise stressful teaching situation from their own experience using four creative writing exercises. These writing prompts were originally devised to help fiction writers delve more deeply into the psychologies of their characters and the trajectory of their stories; now we will repurpose them to help us tune into our own teaching practice. This workshop will be a creative experiment with the potential to yield real insight into our behaviour as educators.

Pennebaker, J.W. (2004) Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Rath, J., & Edgington, U. (2014) There is Rhyme and Reason: Using Creative Writing to Enable and Enhance Academic Reflective Practice (abstract). Australian Association for Research in Education conference.

Stevens, D.D., & Cooper J.E. (2009) Journal Keeping: How to Use Reflective Writing for Effective Learning, Teaching, Professional Insight, and Positive Change. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
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