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The Independent Culture
"THOSE who can, do; those who can't, teach." Rubbish. Lots of people, and lots of writers, do both - especially at courses run by the Arvon Foundation at its three centres at Lumb Bank in West Yorkshire, Totleigh Barton in Devon and Moniack Mhor in the Scottish Highlands.

Teaching creative writing has always had a bad press in this country. (You never hear anyone arguing that musicians, or sculptors, or painters shouldn't learn their art and their craft, and David Hockney has recently made a bigger splash with his views on educating artists.) This resistance to teaching writing has meant that generations of students - and now, generations of teachers - hardly know where to begin if they do want to teach literature, especially poetry. It's all mysterious, ivory-tower stuff; too difficult. And if teachers are at a loss, they will fall back on whatever is safe and easy, and children will learn to consider the works of Michael Rosen as the highest point of poetic achievement.

Arvon Foundation to the rescue. Their Development Appeal, launched last week at 11 Downing Street in the presence of all sorts of (we hope, generous) grandees, aims to raise large sums of money for their new programme of teaching teachers to teach. If teachers experience what it is like to be a working writer, their range, confidence and enthusiasm in their own classrooms will expand accordingly.

And if you don't believe that, why not try one of Arvon's residential courses?

Please send queries, applications and enormous cheques to David Pease, National Director, The Arvon Foundation, Lumb Bank, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6DF. Tel: 01706 816582; fax: 01706 816359