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The idea was born in 2012 following attendance at an educational conference where we had presented some work on the use of literature to explore feelings about older people. Some members of the audience applauded the use of creative methods but had concerns about how they could implement this style of teaching. There are links between creative teaching, critical thinking and deeper levels of learning although we believe that many students find creative ways of teaching an uncomfortable experience, as they are being encouraged to think more deeply about issues they might prefer to ignore. This presents challenges to educators when attempting to facilitate this style of working.

With these thoughts in mind we successfully bid for £5,000 funding from the MMU University Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund to develop creativity in teaching. The aim of the fund is to encourage staff to explore new knowledge exchange and innovation activities. The underpinning aims of the project are to support and motivate health educators to utilise existing poetry and literature in their teaching practice, and create an online poetry community, which is owned and developed by healthcare students. The ultimate aim is to support and develop our students in using poetry as a way to reflect on important practice issues and ideas. Key objectives are to:

  • Develop the website, Caring Words, to host teaching and learning resources for educators
  • Create a poetry community where health professionals can write and share poems with others in a safe environment
  • Facilitate inter-professional learning across the health care disciplines
  • Support colleagues in the development of their own pedagogic practice

Downloadable resources on this site ensure that access is on a national and international scale, reaching a large amount of educators. Visitors to the website can utilise the resources to develop their own pedagogic practice. The website blog will ensure that any current developments or feedback can be disseminated to colleagues, supporting on-going impact on teaching practice and student learning.

This video shows Kirsten talking about using poetry for reflection and working with nursing students:


This video shows two of the poems being read out at an MMU event by Jonathan Padmore: