With the need to seek new interpretations of art and life, and the increasing (and righteous?) suspicion of authority, we prize originality. I certainly did as a teenager, and until quite recently.
Now, I buy more into the model that art and literature should aim to evolve voices the writer enjoys. A good writer is an outstanding reader first and foremost.
Perhaps too much of artistic creation is based on originality, of the student ‘saying something that has not been said before’: how about just being the first person in your family to do something… no matter how mundane, is there distinctive value in being the first person in your village, network, profession to do something.
Can the first time a student encounters a concept, creates something profound, be meaningful? Is there interest in teaching the same text to a class multiple times?
I am also reminded that students’ inability to express themselves using concepts that I might recognise does not mean their inner life is not richly experienced.
Or is language more than just a label, instead limiting their access to the range of recreative imaginative experience?