Language and Creativity in Contemporary English Classrooms

Author: Brenton Doecke (editor), Graham Parr (editor) and Wayne Sawyer (editor), Publisher: Phoenix

"What do English teachers understand by the word ‘creativity’?"

"How does their understanding of creativity differ from the meanings that others ascribe to this word?"

"What forms does creativity take in their classrooms?"

Prompted by Raymond Williams's statement that creativity involves stepping from the 'known' into the 'unknown', the contributors to this volume inquire into how their students explore the 'unknown' in a policy environment where everything is mapped out in advance by predetermined learning 'outcomes'. They see their classrooms as spaces for students to engage in imagination, play and learning that exceed the conventional expectations of standardised learning continua. However, rather than supposing that it is possible to transcend those settings, as in old-fashioned notions of creativity or giftedness, the authors carefully trace the ways in which moments of creativity still occur within the heavily regulated environments imposed on them by governments. Creativity, they argue, should be understood as a product of the institutional setting of the school, as something that is facilitated by the social relationships of the classroom, rather than falling back on to the notion of school as a place of regulation and control, and creativity as something that can only happen outside the school gates.

History has a privileged place in these essays, which draw on work from a number of key theorists in the history of English curriculum and related areas of the social science, including the work of Raymond Williams.

The book offers a powerful critique of standards-based reforms. It also strikes an optimistic note, reaffirming the capacity of young people and their teachers to imagine their lives and work differently from a world organised according to centrally prescribed standards and learning outcomes.


  • Epigraphs
  • Stepping from the Known to the Unknown: Rethinking Creativity in English Classrooms
    Brenton Doecke, Graham Parr and Wayne Sawyer
  • Polic(y)ing Creativity
    Wayne Sawyer
  • Small Songs of Life: Creativity in English Classrooms
    Brenton Doecke with Bella Illesca and Douglas McClenaghan
  • English Teacher Professional Learning: Learning to be Creative and Learning to Become, Creatively
    Graham Parr and Scott Bulfin with Joe Harlowe and Chanie Stock
  • The Contingent Conditions of ‘Creativity’: (Re-)framing the Assessment of Creative Writing with Deleuze
    Eve Mayes
  • ‘The Limits of my Language…’: Acts of Resistance and Re-visioning in the Secondary English Classroom
    Natalie Bellis
  • Creativity in Pre-service and Early-Career English Teaching: Negotiating a Hostile Policy Landscape
    Graham Parr, Anne Turvey & Jeremy Lloyd with Renee Castaldi
  • ‘I Decided to Write …’: Engaging with Literature in the Senior Secondary Classroom
    Madeleine Coulombe with Madeleine Chwasta
  • ‘Something Mysterious that We Don’t Understand… the Beat of the Human Heart, the Rhythm of Language’: Creative Writing and Imaginative Response in English
    Susanne Gannon
  • Embracing Technology in Creative Teaching Practice
    Steve Wallis
  • (In-between) the Complicities of the Imagination: Teaching English in Public and Private Schools
    Bella Illesca
  • Creatively Struggling with Standard Australian English: Moving Beyond Deficit Constructions of My Students
    Lisa Breen
  • Creatively Inquiring into my own Practice as a Literacy Educator
    Connie Apostolos-Thermos
  • Investigating the Possibilities for Re-creative Writing
    Nicola Kober
  • Creativity, Boys, and War Zones
    Jennifer Dove
  • ‘Getting to New York’: Pedagogy and Creativity
    Josephine McKell
  • English as a Site of Cultural Negotiation and Creative Contestation
    Anne Turvey, John Yandell and Leila Ali
More Information
Date of Publication 2014
ISBN 9781921586873
Subject English