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Language and Literacy Education: An Aesthetic Approach James, Kedrick


Webcast sponsored by Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Department of Education. This presentation explores the use of procedural poetics to enhance language and literacy education, in particular the teaching of writing, by developing strategic pedagogical interventions to direct language study while simultaneously providing students with opportunities to create remarkable literary works. Drawing on the range of rules and constraints utilized by the influential French movement called Oulipo, and in particular a schematic for potential literature suggested by Marcel Benabou (1986), an overview of possible writing strategies will be presented, with examples of processed poems performed. The liberating aspect of this form of creativity comes from focusing concentration on formal constraints thereby dislodging the self-conscious 'blocks' that can arise under pressure to be original and inspired. Instead, directed language play engenders mastery of difficult genres of composition by reinforcing linguistic understanding and giving aesthetic experience to the acquisition of new vocabulary. Aspects of personal preference and style become actively engaged in procedural writing and constraints can be used to strategically guide writing development with important implications for literacy and writing pedagogy.

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