Thursday, March 09, 2006

Creativity in the classroom

Here is an interesting article from The Guardian.

Anybody who has had any formal education knows that the teachers who took the trouble to find creative ways to teach were the ones whose lessons were most enjoyed and best remembered. I remember making a flower garden at the age of 9. What were we learning? Oh, we were learning a language (Afrikaans, as it happens). You see, everything we said in that garden had to be in Afrikaans. I also had to keep a journal about the garden, with a photograph of myself in the front. So the whole experience of having my photograph taken, choosing the best one and sticking it into the book had to be undertaken in Afrikaans. Another group of children kept a vegetable garden. This was the first of many projects like this: we baked cakes, bought sweets at the local corner shop, visited the library, played sports, created portraits using styrofoam and seeds... all in Afrikaans.

It worked.

Although my first language is English, I became sufficiently fluent in conversational Afrikaans that I was once chosen ahead of several native speakers to present an Afrikaans series on national television. Many years later, my Afrikaans neighbours asked me to help their twin daughters (aged 9) to improve their conversational English. Guess what? We made a garden, baked cookies, bathed my baby son, went to buy ice cream from the local corner shop, visited the library...

To Miss Evert, who became Mrs Taylor, wherever you are: you were the single most inspiring teacher I ever had. And not a computer in sight. Okay, so they weren't invented, yet, but the fact remains that creativity is not the sole province of the ICT-excellent. However, I suspect it is the teacher who looks for creative ways to inspire learning who will seek to find ways to use ICT to enhance their lessons. Could this be why English teachers are leading the way in educational blogging?

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