"Can writing be taught?"
I'm not even going to try and come up with an answer to that.
I'm taking a writing class for fiction right now.
Is it fun?
Usually. There's some really cool people in my class, even if the professor can sometimes be a bit of a literary snob.
Is it useful?
Occasionally. We've had some interesting discussions.
Is it worth the money I'm spending?
This class satisfies some credits I need and I met some really awesome friends in it, so yeah, it was worth it for me. I mean, all that and I get to write for class? Boo yeah!
However, quite often I find myself frustrated. A lot of the stuff we're talking about is stuff I already know from experience and the awesome folks at YWS and other writing communities. Many times it's rehash of basics.
So does that mean it'd be good for a beginning writer?
I dunno. I'm sort of a subscriber to Ms. Frizzle's "take chances, make mistakes, get messy" school of learning. The best way to learn is to do, even if the first few attempts suck. The class might give you some helpful pointers, but ultimately, you'd be able to get those same points from a good writing community *cough Young Writers Society cough*.
Sure, the class can be fun sometimes, but I wouldn't necessarily tell all aspiring writers to jump up and pay for one. It depends on what you're looking for. It could be a great experiences, but it's not going to make you a good writer on its own.
Of course, all my points are based on my own class. There might very well be better classes out there. If so, where and how much?