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تاریخ : یکشنبه 20 آبان 1397


TEACHING TIPS

THREE Keys to a Creative Language Classroom

 

Want to know a secret? Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Lack of creativity did! The world has woken up to the fact that creativity is not just a fluffy term assigned to kindergarten art projects. It is essential to human development, happiness, and last but not least, learning!

Let’s start with some reminders on why creativity is a tool that’s worth the extra effort.

a. Boosts participation. Giving students the power to create on their own—whether it be presentations, arguments or assignments—keeps them on their toes. They won’t just be going through the motions. Unable to rely on routine, they will be alert and waiting to hear what you have in store for them next.

b. Promotes active learning. By asking students to think outside the box, stray beyond normal assignment guidelines and use their own creativity, you can keep them in the realm of active learning for longer periods of time.

c.Creates a fun and positive learning environment in the classroom. Not only does creativity make class more enjoyable for the students, but it is also more fun for you, the teacher. Students have so much to offer, and sometimes stepping out of your normal routine and feeding off of their creative energy can do wonders. Fun and positivity are contagious. Creativity is the spark that gets it all going.

d. Improves language retention. Ultimately, this is what we are after. Our goal is to teach students a language. When the other four factors come together, the result will be improved retention due to increased participation, quality assignments, active learning and fun.

    Now, back to business! The following is a brief note on 5 keys to a creative language classroo

1. Resist Running Like Clockwork

    Routines can be useful. They are a sequence of habits that keep you on track and prevent complications. Not every day has to be a completely unique language learning experience. A little routine never hurt anyone, but zero creativity can.

Throwing in some spontaneity every now and then increases the level of default alertness that your students operate at. Routines are comfortable, sometimes too comfortable, letting students sit back and “turn off.” Mixing things up requires them to pay more attention and listen carefully.

 

2. Invert the Routine

You don’t have to completely change the routine to mix things up, you just have to change how the routine looks from the outside.

If you run the same three-mile loop every day, pretty soon your body will get used to it and it will become easy. Give yourself a new three-mile loop and all of a sudden you’ll be challenged again. The same is true with our students’ brains. We want to keep them from getting too comfortable. Let’s take a look at some tricks to help clarify:

 

Do the opposite. Take something familiar and do it differently. For example, if you always teach from the front of the class, try teaching from the back; if your students always sit in rows, try putting them in a circle.

Switch up the order. Do daily activities in a different order. If you usually give a homework assignment at the end of class, for example, give it at the beginning instead.

 

Change roles. Let students do the work. For example, if you usually read out the class schedule every morning, have one of your students do it one day.

 

3. Give Students the Power

As teachers our best source of inspiration is our students themselves. It’s okay to ask them for their ideas and opinions when designing a curriculum. Students are used to being told what to do and just going with the flow. Pull them back out of passive mode by giving them the power. Let them have a stake in the class by helping plan the curriculum for the next day or week. Here are some ways to do so:

 

Let students choose. Describe two assignments then ask something like, “Reza, which exercise would you like to do first?” Giving them the chance to choose will instantly wake them back up.

 

Involve students in scheduling. Present interchangeable topics that you plan to teach the following week. Write the days of the week on the board then ask students which topics they’d like to learn on which day. Have them explain their logic. Write the topics down next to the corresponding day and time, you have a student-made schedule.

 

 Regularly ask for feedback. Ask students if they have a favorite language exercise or assignment. If so, then conduct it more frequently. Often, what they want and what they need are the same thing. They’ll be the first to know if they’re losing interest or not understanding something.

 




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