Apparently according to a research conducted by a US organization IQ level increased by 10% from generation to generation as well as creativity. However, it was discovered that this continued until 1990 and then the level of creativity in children started to decline. This was thought to be a result of educational system. Thus nowadays we are facing a creativity crisis.
What shall we, as teachers, do to make our learners creative? Antonia suggests shifting responsibility for learning back to our learners by motivating them to fully engage in the process of their own learning. Antonia offered quite a few tips on how to do this.
First of all, what is creative thinking?
Antonia shared Alvino’s (1990) ideas:
1. fluency (generating lots of ideas)
2. flexibility (ability to shift perspective, variety of ideas)
3. elaboration (building on existing ideas)
4. originality (coming up with something new)
How creative thinking compares to critical thinking?
So how can we encourage creativity? We should provide our learners with a framework to colour it in (even if they colour over the lines. If we allow our learners to think outside the box they are used to, they will be able to become more creative than they are.
The first activity Antonia suggested is called 6 word stories.
Students are given some sample stories that are made up of 6 words and are asked to identify themselves with some of the stories. Then they can work on their own stories.
Samples suggested were:
Found true love. Married somebody else.
Ditched the map. Found better route.
Engulfed in work. Expelled from friendlist.
Evening. Excess vodka. Morning. Excess inertia.
The second idea is to use WritingExercises which is a site that generates the first line of a story and then students can work in pairs and write the story. It is important to set a word limit to make the task manageable for our learners.
Another idea is to use 5 Card Stories, which a site that randomly selects 5 pictures from Flickr and students can be asked to create a story using based on all the pictures selected by the website.
Giving half proverbs to students and asking them to finish the proverbs and to think of events in their lives that prove or disprove the proverbs is another option for encouraging creative thinking in our learners.
One more suggestion is to ask our learners to think of 5 memorable events in their lives that they would like to make into a film and take notes. Then students can work in pairs and tell their partners about their ideas for the film.
Two other activities involve senses. One is to ask students to think of emotions (or first they can look at some pictures and guess what emotions people are feeling) and to write a poem about that emotion.
_ _ emotion_ _ is like…
It tastes like…
It smells like…
It sounds like…
And it feels like…
The other one is to ask our learners to think back to their childhood and remember any particular smells that remind them of their childhood. Then they can talk about the stage of their life with which the smell is associated. Antonia suggested using TalkingMemories website as an extension to this last task.
Another idea is to use BBC Travel to read or watch articles/videos called “One perfect day in…”. Students can read or watch the story of a traveller and then record their own “One perfect day” story on Voxopop.
Our leraner can also choose pictures from ELT Pictures that represent themselves and tell a story of who they are using the pictures they selected or, alternatively, other students in the class will have to look at the pictures their mates selected and try to guess what their peers wanted to tell.
Finally, Antonia shared a ScoopIt page that she created for this presentation.
I really enjoyed this webinar and am looking forward to more webinars organized by Pearson.
Heike Philp also held a webinar about how to present online. Actually Heike gave 20 tips but as some of the tips were the same as Joe McVeigh’s (see my previous post), I decided to to share only the ones that are different.
Here’s the list that I ended up with:
1. Don’t panic. (Panic doesn’t help, just makes things seem worse than they are).
2. Get yourself comfortable (Wear comfortable clothes: baggy jeans, slippers, the presentation is online and nobody is going to see your legs or feet, unless you stand up and start walking around, which, hopefully, you won’t) 🙂
3. Take technical glitches with humour.
4. Even if your children get involved, don’t let them overtake the course of presentation).
5. Smile (A gloomy face may scare the participants).
6. Always have a contingency plan, and not just one!
7. Don’t smoke or eat during the webinar.
8. Use attractive images (no nudity though!)
9. Use thought-provoking images but don’t shock the participants.
10. Converse – DON”T lecture.
11. Acknowledge what your participants have typed in the chat box (by reading it or replying to it by using their names)
12. Write up key points in the ‘note’ area.
13. Leave time for questions.
14. Wrap up leaving your contact details.
15. Follow the 10-20-30 presentation rule by Guy Kawasaki.
Good luck with your webinar!
Joe McVeigh gave a presentation on how to conduct a successful webinar. He is such a great presenter himself that all I wanted to do was to hear more from him.
Joe’s tips are:
1. Don’t try to include everything in your talk
2. Engage with your audience: ask them questions and have polls, e.g. find out which part of the world your listeners are from
3. Prepare your presentation and practise it in advance
4. Do something unexpected (to keep your audience awake)
5. Use good body language and eye contact (this is especially important in a webinar)
6. Don’t read your speech. Although you can look at the screen of your computer, it is better to follow the chat box rather your own notes
7. Put your camera at your eye level so that your audience can see your face and eyes not details of your nose or forehead
8. Be yourself (whatever that means for you)
9. Get a good microphone (stand-alone) and a pair of earbuds (with headsets you will look like a DJ)
10. Don’t be boring (don’t bore your audience)
11. Don’t talk too fast (this is easy to do if you are nervous)
12. Keep to the time indicated previously (time management is a very important skill)
13. Use visuals effectively
14. Do not put too much information on one slide (a big text puts people off reading it)
15. Use good lighting (have light/lamps on/by both sides of your desk)
16. Make sure the font size you use makes your slides readable (Joe uses font size 16)
17. It is useful to have a moderator who will share the links presented, keep an eye on the questions from your audience and will put all that and the key points of the presentation in the ‘note’ area
18. Use Flickr or FreeDigitalPhotos to find pictures for your presentation (check the copyright for pictures you choose and acknowledge the photographer or add the link to the photo in a less obtrusive place of the image itself)
Joe also recommended some books and sites to us:
Brain Rules for Presenters
Although I had been worried about this workshop, everything went well and the feedback was positive.
For the workshop I chose the topic of Gamification which is an area I am really interested in at the moment. As a friend and colleague suggested, I created a blog for the teachers to which I posted the links to the games that we worked with during the session with some comments.
I thought that making teachers come to the idea that computer games can be beneficially used in teaching themselves was a good idea. I started off by asking them to discuss the games they play with their learners in the classroom and how they benefit from them. Next I asked them to think of the differences between games children play now and played in the past. This brought the conversation to computer games which was what I needed. Only one of the participants said that there is no interaction in the games now and this was also good because I could give the example of my son who plays computer games with people from around the world and to achieve a goal they need to cooperate and discuss their moves via Skype. This convinced the participant.
I only introduced one game (Enercities) to them and we discussed the lesson plan for it together. Then I put the teachers into 3 groups and assigned different games to each group and they were asked to discuss and come up with a lesson plan for their games. Next each group presented their lesson plan, while the other two groups followed the game screenshots and shared their ideas.
Overall, I was really happy with the outcome because the teachers had 4 game lesson plans ready to use and were full of ideas how else they could use the games and how to adapt these games to various levels.
The 5th Virtual Round Table is to start on Friday this week. I am really looking froward to it especially that I know that my network colleagues are participating too. It is a three-day conference hosted by Heike Philip. She is doing such a wonderful job for us all.
Having looked at the schedule I started going through the same torment as with IATEFL. I would like to listen to all the sessions but they are at the same time, so I suppose I will have to choose one and then listen to the other ones. It’s also going to be streamed live. Quite a big thing really.
Will be blogging about it Friday to Sunday! 🙂
Every time I am asked to organize a workshop I start reflecting upon the previous one trying to understand what was good or bad in order to make it better. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes I just think that it depends on the willingness of teachers to accept ideas especially when they come from someone younger than themselves.
This time I thought of getting my colleagues ideas about what a good workshop is.
My dear friends I would very much appreciate it if you could share your ideas about what makes a workshop a good one or a bad one. What would you like to see and not to see in a workshop.
If we discuss this then perhaps it will help not only me but some of you who also host workshops in their jobs.
All ideas will be highly appreciated. 🙂
As a parting gift Elvina created a Wallwisher, where we all posted our virtual presents.
After a while the wall started looking really nice and full of presents.
Thinking about the course you are most likely to moderate on, how important is assessment likely to be?