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shburks

Is Creative Writing Important for a STEM Kid?

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I have a middle school kiddo with average writing/composition skills. I'm looking at Write at Home to focus on certain areas. He does not enjoy creative writing although he is happy to write a research or persuasive type paragraph.

 

For a kid who is most likely heading into a STEM career, is creative writing really a skill I should focus on?

Edited by shburks

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I'll preface this by saying that my dh is a fiction writer, and my background is in poetry.

 

No, creative writing is not important for all, or even most, students.

 

I'd argue the ability to appreciate literature is of more cultural importance than the ability to write a short story. 

 

What is important is that all students learn how to communicate in written form, clearly, coherently, concisely, and with complexity (where required). Some students will find that creative writing offers them a pleasant practice in the above. 

 

One cannot simply make all students excellent creative writers. It's a talent, like all others. A few students will have that talent, many will churn out competent works of fiction, most will struggle to produce original writing.

 

I am entirely comfortable not requiring creative writing from my children. Two wrote it anyway; one would rather curl up and die. There is no reason this strong distaste for creative writing will disable his communication skills otherwise. 

Edited by StellaM
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Not important at all.  I would argue that it's not important for a non-STEM kid either.

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I'll preface this by saying that my dh is a fiction writer, and my background is in poetry.

 

No, creative writing is not important for all, or even most, students.

 

I'd argue the ability to appreciate literature is of more cultural importance than the ability to write a short story. 

 

What is important is that all students learn how to communicate in written form, clearly, coherently, consisely, and with complexity (where required). Some students will find that creative writing offers them a pleasant practice in the above. 

 

One cannot simply make all students excellent creative writers. It's a talent, like all others. A few students will have that talent, many will churn out competent works of fiction, most will struggle to produce original writing.

 

I am entirely comfortable not requiring creative writing from my children. Two wrote it anyway; one would rather curl up and die. There is no reason this strong distaste for creative writing will disable his communication skills otherwise. 

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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Think of it this way: is science important for a creative writing kid?

 

I would say somewhat, but definitely not a priority.

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I agree with the others.  I think it can be worthwhile to try and have them keep an open mind - sometimes people enjoy things they don't expect if the setting is right.  But I'm not sure why schools seem to put more emphasis on creative writing then other forms, at least around here.

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Thank you all so much! He loves literature and will read and discuss themes and plot. He even has discovered that he likes poetry, but he has no inclination to sit down and create a short story!

 

I will do more focus on other types of writing because, as you all said, being able to express yourself well is important regardless of what type of writing you are doing. 

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One of the best writing teachers I ever had was really good at noticing (and encouraging) a variety of ways of being creative in writing. Where some English teachers would get annoyed when very stem-focused students turned in terse essays, this teacher was able to praise them when they had carefully crafted a compact essay with well-chosen language (and get on their case when they had just phoned it in). She appreciated a really wide variety of styles in "non-creative" writing and had a knack for helping us improve our own styles. The result was that we all felt more comfortable with creative endeavours as well, and many who did not previously consider themselves creative-types found they enjoyed writing the occasional sonnet, short story, or limerick.

All that to say, I think it's important to develop strong writing skills and let students feel comfortable with their voice. In my limited experience, that is more effective at encouraging creative writing than any program that tries to explicitly teach creativity.

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Thank you all so much! He loves literature and will read and discuss themes and plot. He even has discovered that he likes poetry, but he has no inclination to sit down and create a short story!

 

I will do more focus on other types of writing because, as you all said, being able to express yourself well is important regardless of what type of writing you are doing. 

 

I so admire people who can create characters and situations, and heck, even first and last names that don't exist in real life.  JK Rowling comes to mind, but really any fiction writer who creates something out of nothing has my admiration.  

 

I am terrible at that sort of thing, and in elementary school I had regular creative writing assignments.  I managed by writing about my classmates because I could only ever conceive of writing about things that exist in real life.  Each classmate had a bit of dialogue or action.  (I did manage to create some sort of amateurish story-line, probably lifted from a Saturday morning cartoon or TV sit com.) 

 

Teachers would rate my writing as "Excellent" because I had good handle on spelling and punctuation and grammar.  

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I agree with the others. Having said that, I think that sometimes it can be fun to step out and do something creative within parameters that make a child comfortable. I don't like to write creatively at all ever, but if we hadn't done some of the creative (but constrained and structured) exercises in Figuratively Speaking, I would have never learned that my son writes some really funny poems when given parameters (limerick, haiku, etc.). If we had done something really open-ended, it probably would have flopped.

 

I guess I'm saying don't be afraid to try something, or even to tweak something to your child's comfort level because it could be fun, but don't sweat it either. 

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Think of it this way: is science important for a creative writing kid?

 

I would say somewhat, but definitely not a priority.

 

Um...yes?  Frankly, if you're going to have any hope of understanding the world, you need a solid background in science.

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I think it sounds like your child, OP, is doing so well!  I was going to post that I do think being able to recount a narrative is a valuable life skill.  Just being able to tell an interesting story about what happened to you during the day, or re-tell something cool you read, is useful and important for the classically educated child.  As is being able to read and talk about good writing, and enjoy some poetry. 

 

 

Regarding this:

Think of it this way: is science important for a creative writing kid?

I would say somewhat, but definitely not a priority.

 

It is critical that the child UNDERSTAND science.  It is okay if the creative writing kid can't run a rigorous and creative experiment.  Likewise, in the absence of specific exceptionalities, the science child should UNDERSTAND creative writing but it's fine if she can't write a good story.  Seems to me. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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