All Literacy Practices Can Be Considered Creative

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Topics: Writing
“All literacy practices can be considered creative.” Discuss.
(2000 words)

Prior to any discussion on the topic, it is imperative that the definitions for the key terms are given so as to ensure complete clarity.

Literacy practices refers to “people’s everyday practices of producing and interacting with texts.” (Papen and Tusting, p312) This can include basic and tedious practices such as filling in forms, to more interesting practices such as writing a newspaper article, or composing a song perhaps.

Creativity refers to “making something which is new, which did not exist before the creative act,” or “making something which is original, which is unlike things that have been made before.” (ibid, p.315) While the term is particularly fluid and open to different interpretations, this definition will suffice here for the purpose of this assignment.

Although there are various approaches to the study of creativity – Carter (2004, cited in Maybin, p. 414) coined the term inherency model for creativity relating to the “formal aspects of language as an abstract system of sounds, grammar and meaning” – for the purpose of this paper, Carter’s second identified approach to understanding creativity in language – the sociocultural model – will be utilised. In this model, creativity in language is seen as determined to a greater or lesser degree, by social, cultural and historical factors.

Studying specified texts and drawing out elements of creativity, in for an example a poem, is a specific task with a specific purpose, and is generally something pupils may do in school, but the real creativity, as highlighted by Camitta (Papen and Tusting: Reading A), is the collaborated effort to create a poem, song or rap purely for personal reasons.

In her case study over three years at a Philadelphia high school, Camitta studied varieties of literacy among students who believed that “writing is central to transacting social relationships,, to making meaning out of their lives, and


Bibliography: • Carter, R. (2004), Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk, London Routledge. • Kress, G. (2003), Literacy in the New Media Age, London and New York Routledge, • Maybin, J. (2006) “Locating Creativity in texts and practices” in Maybin, J & Swann, J. (eds) The Art of English: Everyday Creativity, Palgrave Macmillan, The Open University. • Maybin, J. (2006), “Writing the self” in Maybin, J & Swann, J. (eds) The Art of English: Everyday Creativity, Palgrave Macmillan, The Open University. • Maybin, J. & Swann, J. (eds) (2006), The Art of English: Everyday Creativity, Palgrave Macmillan, The Open University. • Wilson, A. (1999), “Researching in the third space – locating, claiming and valuing the research domain,” in S. Goodman, T. Lillis, J. Maybin and N. Mercer (eds), Language, Literacy and Education: A Reader, London, Trentham.

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