An article, titled ‘Want to boost language learning? Be creative’, by Prof. Suzanne Graham (Professor of Language and Education, University of Reading) and Dr. Linda Fisher (Reader in Languages Education, University of Cambridge), is published in the latest issue of the Times Educational Supplement.
Drawing from the findings of their on-going study, titled Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning (part of the bigger Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Creative Multilingualism interdisciplinary research project, led by Oxford), the article argues that a more stimulating range of teaching materials and more creative teaching approaches have the potential to motivate students to continue with Modern Languages at GCSE and beyond. Specifically, the study explores the impact of using poems (about such themes as love, death and migration) and different teaching approaches (“creative” versus “functional”) on 14-year-old language learners’ motivation and creativity levels.
The study’s initial findings are promising with positive qualitative feedback from pupils who were taught French and German using a creative approach, that is learners engage with the text primarily on the level of personal, emotional and imaginative response, as opposed to being taught through a functional approach, where the focus is on the text as a vehicle for teaching language, vocabulary and grammar. The students reported that the creative approach can lead to greater engagement with the texts and enjoyment from having the opportunity to learn how to express their feelings in another language.
More details of the Creative Multilingualism research project can be found here.