Creative Writing in English Class

by B. Narantuya
B. Narantuya is an English teacher at the Branch of National University in Orkhon province. She has been teaching English for 15 years and graduated from the EXCEL course in 1996. She currently teaches English Reading and Writing for Elementary and Intermediate level students at her university.

    Creative writing can offer avenues of expression, and build reading and writing skills as well as much–needed confidence in the classroom.  Creative writing can be very stimulating and a lot of fun.

Here are some useful activities:
The Journal
    Journal writing can create wonderful opportunities to find out about your students’ lives and studies. The teacher collects all the journals, replies individually to each one, and asks a question or two, which will be the prompts for the next journal writing. With positive feedback and interaction, the students will enjoy the process of journal writing and feel motivated to write in English on a regular basis.

    Using free-writing helps the students express themselves and their own ideas. Encourage learners to write about whatever is on their minds because they are happier to work on what comes from their hearts. A “free-write” can take 5 -10 minutes.

Photos and Pictures
    I have always found that personalizing activities really helps to improve students’ interest and generate a lot of language. Photos are one way to do this. Some topics that lend themselves to the use of photos and pictures are: family, describing people, holidays, or places. By using photos you can develop the students writing and speaking abilities, and the students will enjoy sharing their memories.

Advantages and Disadvantages           
    Students work in two groups and create their ideas on a given topic. For example: Which do you prefer, living in the city or the countryside? Within their groups, the students start discussing the topic. During this time the teacher monitors, explains, and helps when it is necessary. You can incorporate writing into this by first having each individual student write for five minutes about their ideas and opinions on the topic. Writing about it first will allow students time to form their own opinion before having to discuss it with their group members. This activity gives the students confidence in their abilities to create ideas and a sense of participation in the learning process.

Dreams (Close your eyes)
    First you ask your students to close their eyes and think of a place they would really like to be. They should imagine themselves traveling to that place by any transportation they want—by boat, plane, car, or even by magic carpet. Then students write a description of the day-dream they had. When they have finished writing, they can volunteer to read their pieces aloud or the teacher may collect the papers and read them aloud to the class.

Peer correction
    This activity gives students practice in correcting mistakes, and helps them to be able to notice their own mistakes. Students exchange written work with each other.  They underline the errors that they find in their partner’s paper, and put the correct form in pencil. Students get back their own papers and check to see their mistakes. Finally, the teacher collects all the written work for the final correction.

    These activities are very beneficial for creative writing in the English language classroom and also improve your students’ interest and confidence in learning to read and write well in English.

  1. Doff, Adrian. Teach English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  2. Raimes, Ann. Techniques in teaching writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.