3-1 | Using Play to Teach Writing


Using Play to Teach Writing

Tom Batt


This article explores the potential of play in the teaching of college composition. Drawing primarily on the theoretical framework of D. W. Winnicott, the author describes how he used ludic pedagogies to provide first-year writing students a "potential space" in which to explore a range of course elements including composing conventions, "authoritative" texts, and their own writing. By creatively transforming these elements through play, students learned to confront their anxieties about writing and reconcile the identity conflicts that typically accompany their transition to college. The author argues that play also positioned students to critique "authoritative discourse" that they otherwise would not have questioned. These findings suggest that play and an attitude of playfulness deserve a more prominent place in the first-year composition curriculum.