At first glance, it sounds frivolous. Why should we spend money teaching courses on creative writing in public high schools? Simple: because it's absolutely necessary.
Think about it: creative writing forces you to use your imagination in ways that make you more aware of, and also question, your surroundings. By encouraging adolescents to write from different narratives, it forces them to examine all sides of a story, not just one perspective.
The ability to teach students to really dig down dip, to not just take things as they are on the surface but to investigate, is a lesson that will remain with them through out the rest of their lives. We won't be raising a generation of jerks that assume the worst of each other, we'll be raising a generation that will (hopefully) cling to the idea that there's more to a situation than meets the eye.
While rudimentary English classes lays the ground work for understanding the nature of language, creative writing helps elaborate on the importance of story, and it is not an extraneous lesson. Stories overwhelm our culture. Stories help us build strong relationships. Story structure is at the base of all things, a sacred geometry if you will. I bet you anything we all use stories far more than (or on par with) mathematics daily.
Another benefit of teaching creative writing in public high schools is the gift of giving students a new way to look at themselves. Writing creatively helps inform people of who they really are and what they're capable of in a way that most pedagogical courses, don't. It is in creative writing courses where students unearth who they are. It is in creative writing courses where students look anew at the world around them, aware of the sacred little details that eluded them before. It is in creative writing courses where a student is forced to question and to seek.
It's wrong to disenfranchise our youth by staving off creativity and imagination, we must embrace it. Teaching creative writing courses in public high schools can open a new door for the hopeless, for the misfits, for the adolescents who have yet to discover who they are, and for the adolescents who want to grow in who they are. To teach creative writing in high schools, in my eyes, is not frivolous, but the best gift you can give to the fledgling youth of this nation.
What do you think?
Filed under: Opinion