Make it real… in Krakow

August 24, 2010

It was a pleasure to meet with so many teachers from across Europe participating the  REAL seminar on How to motivate students:  innovation and creativity in the languages classroom held in Krakow last week.   The main plenary sessions were held in the historic Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University right in the heart of the old city and we just HAD to walk through the largest market square in Europe to reach the Department for Polish studies where the workshops were held!   All in all it was a wonderful event organised by our Polish hosts.

In the  workshop sessions for participants wishing to discuss and share their ideas and views on this subject in English we looked first of all at factors affecting motivation and then at the characteristics of the “creative” language learner.  We then considered the sort of contexts that can encourage and promote learner creativity.  In the third of the four sessions we looked at activities designed to promote higher order thinking skills which can also engage and motivate learners to use language creatively.  The final session started with a speed dating exercise for delegates to share their best ideas (we discovered a piano in the room which was handy when it came to marking the time to move on!)  before delegates worked in groups to produce their final ideas. 

As promised, the slides that I used to facilitate the discussions are here

Here are also  the  Motivation flip charts and  the Characteristics of a creative language learner flipcharts.  Also downloadable  Skills + creativity flipcharts (the results of a brainstorming session)  and the Summary of seminar flipcharts, produced in the final session. 

The resources for the “mystery” thinking skills activity Ben and Sophie go on holiday can be found on this website (under Year 9).  A “mystery” is one of many thinking skills strategies that are described in this PDF from the Northern Ireland curriculum website.  This website is also listed in this  bibliography that I produced for the seminar.