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Creative writing as a tool in second language acquisition

Final Report Summary - CW AND SLA (Creative writing as a tool in second language acquisition)

This project has produced a corpus of texts in English by native speakers, advanced learners with Polish as first language and advanced learners with Arabic as first language. The texts were produced by comparable teaching methods and constitute an invaluable tool for analysing the distinction between culture and native language as factors in errors by near native speakers of English as a second language. In addition, the corpus illustrates the value of creative writing as a tool in teaching ESL, showing how students can be freed from expectations of register and teacher guidance to experiment with writing. This gives them the opportunity to try new vocabulary, but it also gives teachers the opportunity to accurately diagnose problems which are not always visible in standard exercises.

The project involved secondments of specialists in creative writing and linguistics to universities in the UK, Tunisia and Poland. Linguists observed creative writing teaching methods and then identified ways they could be used in their own countries as a tool in SLA. They also collaborated on ways of producing comparable texts by students from all three countries which could be compared in a corpus. The patterns of variation revealed the differing roles of culture and first language in producing the texts.