Creative writing teachers from across Mindanao and four professors from the Ateneo de Manila University came together at the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City for the Kausaban Forum on Teaching Creative Writing. The forum, the first of its kind, was organized in response to challenges in teaching creative writing, a subject included in the newly-implemented K-12 program by the Department of Education.
Because it goes far beyond the conventional language and literature subjects in the previous educational model, many educators expressed the need to strengthen their understanding of the four genres included in this subject, namely poetry, fiction, essay and drama. This is particularly because creative writing requires an approach that is different from conventional teaching practices.
“Tingnan natin ang larawan ni Mona Lisa at ni Lisa Simpson,” expounded Allan Derain, Professor at Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) –  Department of Filipino. “Tama bang sabihin natin sa mga painters na ‘dapat tayong lahat, mag-paint tayo tulad ni Da Vinci’? Is that valid? Para ito ang ginagawa natin sa mga estudyante na sinasabihang kailangan nating magsulat at dapat katulad ito ni Shakespeare… Pero sa totoo lang, si Lisa Simpson at si Mona Lisa ay parehong valid na representasyon ng tao.”
Aside from fictionist Derain, other speakers during the forum were poet Allan Popa (Director, Ateneo Institute for Literary Arts and Practices), fictionist Allan Derain, essayist Martin Villanueva (Chairperson, ADMU – Department of Fine Arts), and Glenn Sevilla Mas (Theater Program Coordinator, ADMU).
Following the workshop, the four ADMU creative writing teachers also served as panelists during the Kausaban Creative Writing Workshop, an activity which aimed to refine the skills of seven emerging Northern Mindanao Writers. One play, two essays, two stories and two poems were dissected and refined during the workshop. Fellows of the workshop were Dennis Flores, Maria Karlene Shawn Cababaran, Hazel Aspera, Abigail C James, Raymond Ybañez, Adeva Jane Esparrago and Mark Acero.
Both the Kausaban Creative Writing Forum and Workshop were organized in partnership with the Ateneo Institute for Literary Arts and Practices, and Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro, with support from the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, and the National Center for Culture and the Arts.