Even at GCSE level, teaching creative writing can be tricky. That said, it can also be incredibly rewarding, both for you and for your students. Here are just four tips to follow.
- Do Some Free Writing
If you want your students to view creative writing as something fun and engaging, you might want to try some free writing exercises before getting started. Give them a creative spark by providing an opening sentence or a certain image for them to write around, then let them free write for a few minutes. This doesn’t need to be marked or read aloud – you’re simply getting your students excited about the creative process.
- Use Well-Known Character Examples
When you’re trying to teach creative writing, it’s best to lead by example. Students often struggle to understand what makes a good character, so take some well-known examples and break them down. It’s best to go for a fairly simple character when you do this. The cast of characters in your set texts are probably quite complex, so start by looking at someone from TV or film. It’s much easier to get the basics of character development from Homer Simpson than Atticus Finch.
- Split Up into Smaller Groups
One of the problems with creative writing is that it’s hard for everyone to get their voice heard; in fact, plenty of shyer students are going to try and drift from the discussion completely. That’s why it’s often a good idea to split into smaller groups. You can have each group try to come up with their own story or ask each one to take a certain scene or develop a certain character. This is also a great way to promote discussion and debate.
4. Take Things Step by Step
Tell GCSE-level students to write a story and they’ll generally go in all guns blazing. Instead, take things step by step. First, ask them to think up a genre. Next, ask them to develop a location and a lead character. Only then should you move on to scenes and action.