Creativity In The Classroom
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When we think of creativity, we think of artists, musicians, or authors. But believe it or not, creativity is a very useful instrument in the classroom. It’s quite possible to be a very average TEFL teacher, but there is really no excuse to be one. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics of teaching English as a Foreign Language, it’s time to up your game and get creative in the classroom – and not just on a Friday afternoon!
Read more: The Basics of Teaching English as a Foreign Language
The benefits of creativity in the classroom
But before we get into the how, let’s look at why we should be utilising creativity in the EFL classroom.
First of all – and possibly most importantly – nobody likes a boring classroom, not the teachers nor the students. Sticking to the coursebook day in and day out is one way of ensuring the boredom levels in our classroom go through the roof. Creativity is one way to make our lessons are enjoyable. And if your students enjoy your lessons, they are more likely to be engaged in the materials and interact in the activities – and learn.
In fact, lessons where our students forget they are in the classroom, are often our most successful lessons, and we can do this by incorporating activities like storytelling or music, or games. In this way, our students are focussing on the activity for enjoyment more than as a way to learn the language, but they are still learning.
More specifically, creative thinking is helpful when learning a language, so doing creative activities in the EFL classroom will help our students learn English. A lot of communication is dependent on creativity, so being creative with their language will make our students better communicators, which, after all, is the reason they are learning the language.
Being creative allows our learners to use their other skills in the classroom. Creative activities can help our students become more well-rounded learners. Plus, our learners will enjoy showcasing their other skills in the classroom. Creativity is multi-disciplinary, so it can allow our learners who may not be the best language learners to still contribute to the classroom and play to their strengths.
Being creative gives our learners a sense of achievement. Creative activities usually result in a finished product, something tangible which will give your students a sense of accomplishment.
A consequence of having a creative classroom is that your classroom is likely to be learner-centred. We learn by doing, and engaging in creative activities makes sure our learners are the ones doing the doing, so to speak. Let’s discuss the best ways of bringing creativity into the EFL classroom – it’s not as difficult as you may think!
Read more: How Can I Make My Classroom More Learner-centred?
How to be creative in the classroom
Now let’s look at the how.
There are many different ways you can be creative in the EFL classroom. The first thing is to be open-minded when it comes to teaching methods. Rather than adopt one method and utilise it faithfully in every lesson, adopt the approach of principled eclecticism.
This is when you adopt certain features of different teaching methods and approaches. Maybe you think that using music a la Suggestopedia would be a great warmer for a certain lesson. Maybe you want to disregard the coursebook for one lesson and experiment with a Dogme lesson. Or it could be that you realise that using Cuisenaire rods is an excellent way of presenting a specific language structure. Instead of chaining your whole career to one teaching method, creative teachers can pick and choose what suits their lesson plans and their aims.
Read more: Teaching Unplugged in the EFL Classroom
Examples of creativity in the classroom
On a more practical level, there are specific activities that effortlessly bring out the creativity in students:
- Use music
- Do a debate
- Play board games
- Have a puppet show (for Young Learners)
- Take some time out and do puzzles
- Have a class quiz
- Have students write and illustrate their own story
- Do a role-play
- Relate lessons to your learners’ lives
- Ask open-ended questions
- Flip the classroom
- Use authentic texts
- Do creative writing
Read more: Tips for Being Creative in the EFL Classroom
In a nutshell, creativity makes our lessons better, makes us better teachers, and our students better learners. But it even has more far-reaching consequences than that.
Creative teaching encourages our students to be creative themselves. In this day and age creativity is vital for success. Problem-solving, divergent thinking, and the ability to rethink old ideas are necessary skills in the workplace. Bringing creativity into the classroom will help our students become more creative thinkers outside the classroom. So we are not only teaching them a language, but we are helping them prepare for their future, which is pretty nifty when you think about it.
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- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.