Lazing in bed reading Guardian articles and this one on So You Want to be a Writer... made me chuckle:
A bad creative writing class will look like this. A student has submitted some work with the words: "I don't think it's very good." The class has (mostly) read it. After a long silence, one of the student's best friends, primed, says: "I really like the way you … " The student says: 'Thank you." Another one says: "I didn't quite understand about the bit where …" The student explains. Half the class stay silent; the student leaves with ego intact and work unimproved...
Personally, I like to irritate as well as inspire a class, sometimes by saying sagely: "A short story consists of an introduction, five OR seven episodes, and a coda in which the weather changes." (Worked for Chekhov, anyway.) Or: "If you're going to have an animal in a story, have a dog and not a cat." (Dogs are easier structural principles, running up to strangers in parks, and so on.)
Writers, nature or nurture? One does wonder sometimes.