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Professor leads creative writing workshop in South Africa – Susquehanna University


05 November 2021

Glen Retief, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, who is currently in South Africa on a Fulbright US Scholar, recently attended a US Embassy workshop.

The workshop, which marked World Teachers ‘Day, took place at David Hellen Peta High School in Pretoria and focused on developing teachers’ creative writing skills. Retief told The Pretoria News that his mission in South Africa “is to help solve problems in the education system, especially with students’ writing skills.”

Retief said his goal was to show teachers how they can be more effective in helping their students improve their writing skills. The workshop consisted of giving teachers a writing prompt, then asking them to do a peer review of each other’s writing, using discussion questions that Retief developed for his creative writing classes. in Susquehanna.

English teacher Mandisa Ndaba said she would like to see children in local schools improve their writing skills, as even university / scholarship applications required writing.

“If the English teachers are equipped, then the learners and the whole nation will be equipped as well,” Ndaba said.

Principal Tlhabana Nkwe said the workshop would build teachers’ confidence when they return to class, thereby benefiting students. After the workshop, teachers told Retief that they usually correct their students ‘grammar during writing assignments, and being able to respond in a more holistic and thoughtful way would almost certainly increase students’ motivation and success. learners.

Retief received a Fulbright US Scholar Award in 2020 to help develop the writing component of a college bridging program in Mamelodi, South Africa. Offered by the University of Pretoria, the program aims to leverage creative writing to build self-confidence and reading / study habits in educationally disadvantaged adults. As part of this prestigious award, Retief will publish research on how the teaching of creative writing can serve educational development more generally.

Retief grew up in a South African wildlife park during the apartheid era, but emigrated to the United States in 1994. His memoir, Jack Bank (SMP, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as a 2011 book by the Africa Book Club.

Retief holds a BA from the University of Cape Town, an MA in Fine Arts from the University of Miami, and a PhD from Florida State University. From 2014 to 2019, he led the nationally recognized Creative Writing Program at Susquehanna University.


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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson