You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the teaching I was due to start this week in France. That’s because it isn’t happening (waah!) – through no fault, I might add, of the organisers. We’re going to try again next year.
I’d been reading a lot about creative writing workshops in the run-up to this month, and thinking about how to approach them. Although I have a lot of teaching experience, working with adults – and working as a fellow-writer with the participants – requires a very different stance. In any case, as an “emerging writer” (I feel I have been emerging for a very long time now, but it’s true, I am still emerging…), it would be ridiculous to position myself as some sort of “expert”.
…teaching requires me to make explicit the process of revision and evaluation…It keeps me honest. p.42 *
And he has a clear idea about what he does not want to do:
It’s tempting to become the oracle. To pronounce in paradox and breathe judgment like fire; but this is not how students learn, and while it might win me a handful of disciples, I would lose what I need. ibid.
Later, he sets out his own “pedagogical manifesto” – but you should read that yourself. In APR – it’s such a good journal.
* Jason Schneiderman, “The Phenomenological Workshop: Notes Toward a Theory of the Workshop”, The American Poetry Review, Mar/Apr 2010, 39:2, pp.41-47