Creativity is really important both in life and in teaching and learning since it is widely believed to be a factor which enriches the quality of life and of learning. Creativity is about letting the imagination loose in an outburst of totally free self-expression. Therefore, increasingly tight curricular constraints and the obsessive focus on testing and measurement can be damaging to creativity.
There is also broad agreement that creating the right atmosphere is central to fostering creativity. Encouraging an environment of trust – between teacher and class and among class members – is absolutely crucial. Among other things, this implies curbing the teacher’s impulse to constantly intervene and over-correct. There is a consensus too that teachers need to act as role models. It is no good preaching creativity to our students unless we also practise it ourselves. If we want our students to sing, we must sing too. If we want them to act and mime, we must act and mime too. If we want them to write poems or stories, or to draw and paint, then we must engage in the same activities as they do.
Thanks to various active methods, lessons are more attractive and help students to unleash their creativity. Active methods give students opportunity to experiment. The teacher allows students to make mistakes and correct themselves. Students can learn to make their own choices and to take responsibility for them.
By using active methods of teaching teachers can make the learning process more interesting and inspiring and the teaching process more fun and effective
It is said that students can remember only 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 70% of what they say and 90% of what they do. Active methods of teaching increase active involvement of students significantly . The role of the teacher is limited to that of a helper and a supervisor. He/she is no longer an expert but an animator, advisor who observes and organises the work of students and gives tips concerning the methods of solving different problems.
The role of drama in teaching a foreign language
Roleplaying gives students context. Learning, memorizing, and practicing drama allows students to interact with the content on a deeper level, engaging all four language skills. Using drama to teach a foreign language builds team spirit, communication skills, and students’ confidence in their own language abilities. During a drama practice, students can make mistakes, experiment with language, and even learn to improvise if they forget a word or a line.
How does drama help students learn?
Teaching language through drama gives students an opportunity to relax the mind while learning and retain knowledge better.
Memorization of lines activates and trains the brain while connecting language with gestures.
Acting helps students remember words and sentences.
The use of the body on stage helps teachers get a total physical response (TPR) from students.
Students can expand their dramatic skills when reading dialogues and doing role-plays by conveying the emotion behind the conversation and adding movements or gestures. To take it a step further, students can write their own dialogues or memorize their lines with the goal of presenting a short skit in front of the class.
Another way to use drama in the classroom is through improvisation. This spontaneous drama method gives students a hypothetical situation that they must act out on the spot using their vocabulary and language skills. For example, give pairs of students a situation involving two people. Try to choose something that could be funny, such as someone dining in a restaurant and getting terrible service. Assign students their roles, and ask them to act the scene out.
Organizing a class play is a great way to use drama with your students. You can start by reading a short story or play in class. Then assign students to each role, or let them choose their role, and dedicate class time to learning lines and practicing their parts. The activity culminates in a class production of the play. You can incorporate simple costumes and props if you can.
Project work is work which focuses on completing a task. Project work normally involves a lot of resources – time, people and materials – and learners practise a range of skills and language systems. Example: a group of teenage learners work on a project to develop a series of posters on how to protect the environment. In the classroom, project work may provide many opportunities to meet a variety of learning aims but it requires strong classroom management skills. Learners need independence in planning and realizing the work but they also need the teacher to act as a driver in ensuring it is carried out in a way that meets learning aims.
Active learning through games
Types of language games:
SONG AND ACTION GAMES
INTERACTIVE ONLINE GAMES AND QUIZES:
Popular game platforms: Wordwall, Liveworksheets,
Popular quiz platforms: Kahoot, Quizziz
Language games have a positive and effective influence on the learning of foreign languages The reasons for this are as follows:
- games get students involved in their learning; they motivate them,
- games encourage creative and spontaneous use of language,
- games create a pleasant stress-free and relaxing atmosphere in a language class,
- games unconsciously promote and practice all four basic language skills,
- games create less formal learning situation, students feel less intimidated to speak in front of the other students
- games promote collaboration among students
Escape rooms and learning stations
Escape Rooms are a collaborative learning game in which students work in teams to solve a series of puzzles, collect codes or keys, and somehow compile their information to “escape” the scenario. They can be as simple or complex as you want, but an effective Escape Room doesn’t have to be difficult to create.
Learning stations are physical locations in the classroom where students are asked to solve a problem and answer some questions using the materials provided. The students are allowed to work individually or with as many as three other people. This technique is very valuable in allowing students to be actively engaged in their learning and to build concepts based on their own experiences.
by Aleksander Dubiel
ZS Nowa Sarzyna