My first talk in an ELT conference outside South America was at the 31st TESOL France Annual Colloquium. The conference, which lasted for 2½ days, took place in Paris on November 16-18. Giving a talk far from my hometown, attending brilliant sessions and meeting a big part of my PLN F2F was a truly awe-inspiring experience which I’m still trying to assimilate.
The highlights of the conference – trust me, there were many – will be posted later this week. Meanwhile, I’m posting the slides from my UNworkshop and points raised by participants during the session.
Theme of my talk
Are we facing a creativity crisis? Studies have suggested that American students are less creative today than they were 10 years ago partially due to common core standards. Based on research by Dr. Zhao Yong, who has led studies on Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial students, and my own classroom experience, I presented some practical ideas which foster creative thinking in the classroom.
Why an UNworkshop?
How creative would it be for me to talk for 1h on creativity? Having participants in my room from different countries and different backgrounds would be a great chance of opening the debate of creativity in the classroom. With these ideas in mind, I decided to UNworkshop my workshop. Instead of presenting “new” ideas, I decided to have participants:
1. Choose the issues they wanted to discuss related to creativity;
2. Share their ideas and experience;
3. Learn from ideas presented by the whole group.
The result was an enriching workshop with ideas from different backgrounds (teaching ESP to engineers, public schools in France, private institutions in Poland, etc) and a debate on the ambiguous definition of creativity.
Points raised by participants during the UNworkshop:
- ‘Hard work’ must be done at some point in the lesson. There is a fun/tedious dichotomy when planning a lesson.
- Explore the metaphors in the video ‘My Blackberry is Not Working!’.
- Inspire students through role plays and situations which involve conflict.
- One idea to make French students speak more is by using authentic internet resources.
- Prompts & puppets foster creativity with VYLs.
- Personalize strangers: students create and play roles based on an unknown person.
- Is teaching with creativity a way to avoid ‘hard work’ teaching?
- Word clouds are great prompts to develop writing/speaking skills.
- Have students create a ‘humorous biography’ of a famous person by adding their own ideas.
- Networking with teachers (thru Twitter, Facebook, blogs) makes creative juice flow.
- Action research is essential to understand your group of students and plan activities which promote creativity based on their needs.