2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Teaching Fanfiction as a Tool to Evaluate Student Understanding of Character Development in Canonical Texts


Arielle T. Sutton♦
Dr. Barbara Price, Dr. Summer Pennell, and Dr. Priscilla Riggle, Faculty Mentors

While the writing of fanfiction, the art of crafting one’s own creative work based on an already-established narrative, is not commonly taught at the high school level, it is a common practice among budding adolescent creative writers. This study examines potential benefits or pitfalls of incorporating the writing of fanfiction into a tenth-grade English Language Arts curriculum with the goal of improving student understanding of character development in commonly taught texts. The qualitative research conducted in this study found no conclusive correlation to an increase in student understanding of character development; however, a slight increase in student engagement was noted in specific students who otherwise disliked creative writing projects. As there is little available research exploring the use of fanfiction in the educational setting as a tool to increase student learning and development as writers, these results demonstrate the need for further study to determine the effectiveness of this strategy. 

Keywords: Fanfiction, Creative Writing, Student Writers, Character Development, Canon, Student Engagement

Topic(s):English, Secondary MAE Research

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 302-1
Location: MG 1090
Time: 1:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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