Reflexivity and children’s exploration of moral aesthetics in creative writing

Publication Name

English in Education


In this paper, we show how children’s creativity manifests in literary aesthetics and how they explore moral subjects as a result. Literary aesthetics involve a range of artistic elements or expressions within a textual work. Writers may use aesthetic properties to express individual appreciation or how people view the world, often in relation to moral values. This paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relation between aesthetics and moral value in children’s writing. First, we situate our discussion within the context of reflexivity theory, which framed the larger study from which these data are drawn. Second, we apply appraisal theory within the lens of reflexivity to analyse children’s writing samples for their aesthetic representations of moral qualities. As a result of our study, we show how teachers may improve and complicate the way children practice literary aesthetics in their writing. We argue it is important for students to learn about aesthetics in writing as aesthetics are a key quality of literary expression and may educate readers on the perception and moral values of others.

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