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Erasure Writing 

ARC Project

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Who are involved in the project?

Number of learners? 50
Level of learners ? Level 2 (GCSE English learners)
Age range of learners? 16-18
How many lecturers are involved? 5


What happened?

This project explores the use of erasure writing as a form of original composition with learners of English. Erasure writing is a form of redaction, in which an original text is edited by a second author to give it new meaning. Pedagogically speaking, erasure writing offers learners a pre-built platform on which they can construct new narratives. This differs from traditional creative writing where learners are initially faced with a blank page that they can find daunting.


The decision to explore erasure writing in the classroom came about as a result of our college’s participation in a national project entitled Make Art, Not War, commissioned by 14-18 NOW. Learners were posed the question ‘what does peace mean to you?’ and invited to create a response. The project encouraged creative expression and learners were given freedom to consider their response to the question and arrive at their own interpretations.

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The Method

The project ran with two GCSE English classes over a duration of three weeks. To introduce the concept the topic, initially a selection of quotes on peace were given out and learners were told to highlight anything that meant something to them even if it was an odd word or phrase. Discussion of the selections then took place, with interesting themes and concepts associated with peace explored in further detail. A lot of room was given to this; comments and questions incidental to the concept of peace were encouraged in an attempt to build a collective understanding of how peace can be interpreted in a range of contexts.


Quotes from learners:

  • “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but once I started I amazed myself.’

  • “It was really difficult at the start until you spot a couple of words you can use and it goes on from there.”

  • “All those peace quotes were really good. I liked talking about them with the others.”

  • “I want to read the book that I had the pages from” (The Traitor’s Wife’ by Allison Pataki)

What was the impact on Teaching, Learning & Assessment?

For many of the learners we work with English is a subject that they have not previously excelled in, and one that they are often not enthusiastic about studying. With that said, this small scale project has indicated that erasure writing is a valuable way to engage learners in creative writing through novel means. The project has also demonstrated to us the value and importance of exploring key concepts, such as peace, in Further Education English classrooms.

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For full report, visit the attached link (page 21-25)

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