Thanks to those who attended my plenary presentation and workshop at this year’s Rokus Klett conference in Brdo, Slovenia, themed ‘Creative Classroom’.
Click here to view the slides I used for my plenary and click here to download a copy of the accompanying handout. You can download the slides I used for my afternoon workshop here (there is no handout for the workshop, but a couple of years ago I wrote about one of the activities on this blog – see the link below).
The abstract describing my plenary talk was as follows:
When we think of a ‘creative’ person, we often think of an artist – someone with a natural gift for painting, sculpture, music, etc. We think creativity is some kind of special talent, something you’re born with, something which you either have or you don’t have. (And we often think the same about language learning ability!) In reality, everybody has creative and linguistic abilities, but to fulfil their potential, they must be discovered, encouraged and nurtured.
Fortunately, creativity is not a magical, mystical, unattainable thing. This talk aims to show that both teachers’ and students’ creative potential can easily be unlocked with some simple strategies. We’ll consider some key aspects of creativity, such as context, curiosity and a willingness to connect things in novel ways. We’ll see that you don’t need to be an artist to be creative, but that you do need to be creative to master language. And it’s easier than you might think!
In my afternoon workshop, we tried out two story-telling activities that I have used countless times with learners of all levels and ages. Both involve fluent speaking, careful listening, a wide range of vocabulary and a healthy dose of creativity! One activity looks at traditional fairy tales from a new perspective; the other involves creating our own stories from scratch. Both activities require minimal material and preparation.
A bit of background to the workshop for those who couldn’t be there – I love using stories for language learning (especially with adults) because story-telling is a universal aspect of language and culture. But teachers and students often think that being a good story-teller requires incredible imaginative and creative skills which they simply don’t have. Nonsense! Every day, all over the world, people tell stories—news, anecdotes, gossip, jokes, and so on. Everybody is a story-teller. We just need a prompt sometimes!