Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book review - Creativity in the English language classroom

Creativity in the English language classroom
Edited by Alan Maley and Nik Peachey
British Council 2015 172pp.
Paperback ISBN 978-0-86355-767-5

This book is a collection of eighteen chapters, some by established experts, some by writers not yet widely known, constituting what Chris Kennedy in his foreword (3) describes as “a kaleidoscope of practical case studies to illustrate what practitioners regard as creative”. Each chapter consists of a brief introduction followed by examples of activities. In his overview, Alan Maley notes (7) that “creativity encourages and facilitates divergent thinking, and frees us of the idea that questions always have a single, right answer”, and as Brian Tomlinson points out in his chapter, “fostering creativity […] can help to achieve the affective and cognitive engagement vital for language acquisition”.

The activities described provide a wide range of ideas illustrating exactly how these principles can be put into practice. They show that creativity can take as its starting point activities in the course book, stories from the teacher, or experiences that students draw on. While a variety of media are used in the activities, there is a recognition that teachers working in financially deprived areas may need to use whatever resources are available to them locally.

Activities are provided for leaners of all ages and levels, and for any size of class. Some chapters focus specifically on the primary ELT classroom, while others describe activities designed for secondary and adult learners. While some chapters focus on oral creativity, there are also many ideas for creative activities integrating reading and writing. There are activities for teaching pronunciation and vocabulary, and a chapter devoted to teaching grammar creatively. Story-telling, creative writing, literature and drama are incorporated in several of the chapters.

The detailed descriptions of procedure make it easy for any teacher to implement these specific activities, and more importantly illustrate the approaches and techniques that we can adopt in order to develop our own creativity and design our own activities. This is an excellent collection that will be valuable to teachers at any stage of their careers, and could also be a useful resource for initial training courses and continuing professional development.

Peter Beech, Anglo-Hellenic Teacher Training, Corinth, Greece

Review first published in IATEFL Voices 249, March - April 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment