Summer 2016

Special Supplement: Creativity in the Language Classroom

It is a given that creativity, that unique ability to harness thoughts and ideas, drives us forward as a species. It is the single factor that has enabled humanity to produce everything from the first sharpened tool, to the wheel, the lightbulb, the Fifth Symphony, The Starry Night, War and Peace, the space shuttle, the smartphone – the list is endless. One thing is certain though – creativity is a habit, a way of working, a way of thinking, and a way of seeing the world. And for the way it helps us discover and enjoy, question and explore, build, tinker, and really live, creativity can help us understand ourselves. But it requires that we first imagine and step into the unknown to begin with, as the actor Alan Alda reminds us: “The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

Editor’s Notes. Amazingly, despite our incredible capacity for creativity and imagination, there is very little we actually understand about the creative process or the unexplained magic of the intellect behind it, and we find ourselves asking where those great ideas or sparks of insight that produce incredible works of art, clever inventions, and new creations come from. As well-spring of innovation and imagination, the creative impulse will continue to bring forward unprecedented levels of achievement. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so eloquently expressed it: “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

To this end, here is our Special Supplement on Creativity in the English Classroom, a modest attempt at scratching the surface of the mystery that is creativity, with hopes that this will prompt us to wonder, to not accept our reality for what it is but for what it can be.

This Special Supplement owes its life to the authors who contributed to the lively conversation about creativity on these pages. Enormous thanks to them for inviting us to see some of the creative places where they work, and especially for sharing with us glimpses of the creative spaces of their minds.

My other debt of gratitude goes to Rachael Harris and Karen Greaney of the teacherholics group in Geneva for their tireless work on this project. In her Foreword, Rachael wonders aloud how one bereft of any creative bone in her body managed to get involved in a project dealing with creativity. But Rachael being Rachael, we are lucky to have this Special Supplement because she remains innately curious and has no fear about throwing paint on that white space to see what happens.

As you can see, going forward we intend to be fully engaged in various creative initiatives, which – we promise you – will be as disparate as the world itself. We hope this Special Supplement will inspire you to look for your next white canvas and start throwing paint.

Table of Contents

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT: Creativity in the Language Classroom

Foreword /Rachael Harris and Karen Greaney


Why we need creativity in the ELT classroom: Interview with Chrissi Florides / Rachael Harris


Fostering creativity through control / Lynn Williams

Creative language teachers as bridge builders / Daniel Xerri


Creativity in the classroom / Charles Hadfield

Inspiration to go: Poetry in the English classroom / Caroline Grünig-Manton

Nurturing creativity through projects / Rebecca Robb Benne

Creativity in the Business English context / Marjorie Rosenberg

Wake up your inner elephant / Jane Revell

There’s more to it than coloured pencils / Rob Dean

Because there is no wrong answer: Three tips to producing creativity / Addison Faris Holmes

Creativity: The ingredient to spicing up your coursebook / Dina Blanco-Ioannou

The box / Jamie Keddie

Bringing out the artist in every child: Integrating art into the writing assignments / Nasy Inthisone Pfanner

The poster presentation / Joanna Malefaki


NO MORE / Charles Hadfield

THE CLIMB / Charles Hadfield

BIRDS ON A WIRE / Nino de Veyra

The Gardener / Caroline Grünig-Manton

Cosmic River / Myrna Peña-Reyes

Off Course / Myrna Peña-Reyes

Fencing / Aida H.

Lupine / Aida H.

Sonnet 18 / Inci Kartal

Begging for nothing / Inci Kartal

A desperate cry / Inci Kartal

A name for all things / Kevin Stein

Ernest Hemingway tries Magical Realism / Jill Hadfield

John Keats writes the weather forecast / Jill Hadfield

And more… 

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