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Food, water, shelter, fresh air ... and stories : teachers’ creative writing in the classroom

Clifford, Rohan (2011) Food, water, shelter, fresh air ... and stories : teachers’ creative writing in the classroom. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.

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Abstract

This thesis takes the form of a written analytical exegesis (30%) followed by a novel (70%), entitled Frank Davies’ Amazing Frog Catapult, to satisfy the requirements of this degree. The contention of the exegesis is that the meat of writing lies in the creative nature of how a text comes to be constructed, the journeys that ideas may take and the maturation and realisation of characters along the way. In doing so, this exegesis highlights how classroom English teachers, as a profession, could benefit from adopting the methods that writers use as they develop their art. In an era in which the My School website publishes school achievement in terms of quantified, NAPLAN style data, educators need to ensure that creativity is being nurtured, rather than discouraged. Following the exegesis is the novel itself: Frank Davies’ Amazing Frog Catapult. It is aimed at the younger end of an adolescent audience, probably from Grade 5 through to Year 9. Frank Davies’ Amazing Frog Catapult is set in a fictional location, Laconia Heights. The unfashionable prospect of an ‘urban sprawl’ setting appealed to the author because this in fact is where he and his students live. Laconia Heights isn’t a real place, yet it is depressingly easy to find. It looks like lots of places around Melbourne - complete with ridiculous, or at least wildly inappropriate, names. Initially, the story was intended as a stinging allegory of the way that we Australians ostensibly and regularly approved of the imprisonment of asylum seekers - young, old, able-bodied/minded or feeble. Without losing this original intent, Frank’s character, however, began to define itself in a slightly different direction as the writing progressed. Characters cannot operate in isolation from their environment. They are influential and have influence on their surroundings, be it ecological, sociological or physiological. Equally, characters are in turn influenced by their environment. It is an awareness of the interaction between characters and environment – both physical and social – that informed not only the novel but also the direction of the exegesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: creative writing, junior novels, adolescent novels, fiction, writing a novel, English teaching, Frank Davies’ Amazing Frog Catapult, creativity, asylum seekers, suburban Melbourne, Australians
Subjects: Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Depositing User: VU Library
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2012 22:21
Last Modified: 23 May 2013 16:56
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/19380
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