Creative Writing in Language Teaching Contexts

Hosted by the Literature in Language Teaching (LiLT) SIG and Shizuoka JALT

DATE & TIME: October 24th 2pm – 5pm

Join the LiLT SIG and Shizuoka JALT for an afternoon of informative short talks and interactive discussions about using creative writing in language learning contexts. From various perspectives and using a range of approaches. Each speaker will introduce research or practical creative writing applications for 20 minutes followed by discussion for 10 minutes. In the last part of the afternoon, all presenters will talk together and session participants will be welcome to join the conversation about creative writing in language learning settings. We welcome teachers working with learners at all levels.

Mary Hillis: Rereading, Retelling, Reimagining: Literature and Creative Writing in the Classroom

Abstract: Fiction reading and creative writing can be used in tandem for a variety of purposes in the classroom: to engage students in rereading or close reading of the story, to encourage them to explore perspectives not included on the page, or to reimagine scenes relevant to their own lives. In this presentation, creative writing activities used alongside reading The Stranger by Albert Camus will be described, including writing journalistic articles, spin-off stories, and additional scenes based on the book. The presenter will share insight from ten years of experience teaching the novel and show sample work from Japanese university students enrolled in a literature-based English course. The session will conclude with a discussion of how these activities can be adapted for other books, graded readers, or stories in the language learning classroom.

Bio: Mary Hillis teaches English at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. At the 2020 JALT Conference, she was awarded Best of JALT for her LiLT SIG Forum presentation. She is an Educational Arm Assistant at Asymptote, an online journal of world literature in translation, where she creates lesson plans for the quarterly Educator’s Guide and writes education-related blog posts. This year, Mary is the LiLT SIG Forum Chair and the CUE SIG Conference Co-Chair.

Luke Draper: Activating Scripts: Japanese Literature and Creative Writing in the EFL Classroom

Abstract: Literature is used in EFL classrooms not only as a valuable resource for language, but also as a means of allowing students to explore the culture and sociohistory of the textual setting. It can facilitate creative production of language when learners are able to engage with the text-world they are tasked with reading. This talk first explores Text-World Theory as a suitable framework (Giovanelli & Mason, 2018) to argue that translated Japanese literature offers a rich and engaging source of language material for Japanese learners of English. It will then introduce activities from a post-intermediate level ‘English translations of Japanese literature’ university course that encourage learners to complement set texts (‘Concerning the Sound of a Train Whistle in the Night’ by Haruki Murakami and ‘Shoulder-Top Secretary’ by Shinichi Hoshi) with their own creative writing. The presenter proposes that authentic, non-graded stories within settings familiar to the learner and with identifiable cultures and characters may kindle learner agency and stimulate creative productive output.

Giovanelli, M. & Mason, J. (2018) ‘Well I don’t feel that’: Schemas, worlds and authentic reading in the classroom. English in Education. 49 (1). 41-55.

Bio: Luke Draper teaches English at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan and is a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Surrey, UK. His primary academic interest is pedagogical stylistics, the Creative Writing workshop, metalinguistic interactions that occur within them and their impact on the student-writers’ revisional decisions. He also holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester, UK. He is the Publicity Chair for the LiLT SIG.

Jared Michael Kubokawa: Providing Digital Literacy Spaces to Mimic Publication in an L2 Poetry Writing Course

Abstract: Utilizing fellow L2 creative writers’ texts as models can be a powerful learning tool. To do this, L2 writers can mimic writing for publication to increase impact on students’ sense of self as creative writers, contribute to students’ growing agency, and provide a sense of authenticity to classroom writing. This presentation will introduce several formative and summative publication opportunities for learners to display their creative work to readership both in and outside of a university L2 poetry writing course. The presenter will discuss how these digital literacy spaces were used in his course to feed forward agentic engagement and develop a community of practice by creating a small but powerful discourse community.

Bio: Jared Michael Kubokawa is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Aichi University in Japan and has been working as an EFL teacher for the past 15 years in Japan, Malaysia, Italy, Ukraine, and Abu Dhabi. His research interests include second language writing, second language creative writing, multilingual/translingual creativity, learner and teacher agency, and teacher education. He has published academic research, creative writing, and journalistic articles in various international journals and websites.

Tara McIlroy: Literary competence, creative writing and CLIL: Textual interventions and beyond

Abstract: Developing literary competence involves both critical and creative skills, both of which can be used to develop linguistic competence in a foreign language (FL). The use of pedagogic tasks to draw students’ attention to language form can be used in FL classrooms using content and language integrated learning (CLIL) or task-based methodology. This presentation begins with a discussion of the approaches described by Pope (1995) as Textual Interventions. The first part of the talk will deal with Pope’s approach and suggest interventions for the Japanese foreign language context. Next, the session will introduce a number of projects from international contexts which have used textual interventions, such as learner-created fanfiction and transformative story writing (e.g. Sauro & Sundmark, 2016, FanTALES, 2019). The session will end with a discussion of how textual interventions could be used when creating courses for contemporary learners.

Cornillie, F., Buendgens-Kosten, J., Sauro, S., & Van der Veken, J. (2021). “There’s always an option”: Collaborative Writing of Multilingual Interactive Fanfiction in a Foreign Language Class. Calico Journal, 38(1), 17–42.

FanTALES. (2019). Fantales: Transformative digital storytelling for learning languages Retrieved 11 August 2020 from

Pope, R. (1995) Textual Interventions: Critical and creative strategies for literary studies. Routledge.

Sauro, S. & Sundmark, B. (2016). Report from Middle-Earth: fan fiction tasks in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 70(4), 414– 423. doi:10.1093/elt/ccv075

Bio: Tara McIlroy is an associate professor at the Center for Foreign Language Education and Research at Rikkyo University. Her research interests include second language reading, literature and foreign language education and curriculum design. She is currently working on a project investigating CLIL and CEFR in the foreign language literature classroom.