What is the project about?
Creative Multilingualism was a large interdisciplinary project exploring the link between languages and creativity.
The Education Strand, Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning, explored how different kinds of texts (poems, newspaper articles) have differing effects on foreign language learning in secondary schools.
The project team worked with approximately 600 French and German learners in year 9, and their teachers, from 16 secondary schools across England.
Classes were allocated to a text type (literary or factual) and a teaching approach (creative or functional) for use in their language lessons, using materials that the project team designed in collaboration with teachers. These covered such themes as love, death and migration. Broadly speaking, the creative teaching approach involved activities that asked learners to respond imaginatively and emotionally to the texts, while in the functional approach they focused on learning grammar and vocabulary and gaining factual information from the texts.
Examining the impact of the different teaching approaches on learners’ language development and creativity, the team found that the materials helped learners’ vocabulary knowledge, their writing skills, and their general creativity, but that how they were used was important.
Who is running the project?
The CML project as a whole was run by Professor Katrin Kohl at the University of Oxford. The Education Strand, Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning, was led by Professor Suzanne Graham at the University of Reading.
Who is funding the project?
The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Open World Research Initiative scheme (OWRI).
Find out more
A key outcome of this study was the development of an online resource bank and an online course, both aimed at helping language teachers incorporate literary texts and more creative approaches into their lessons. These then fed into the work of the Department for Education’s National Centre for Language Pedagogy (now Language Driven Pedagogy).