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In Praise of Creativity…(Part Two)


  1. Put the students into pairs and make sure they have a piece of paper and a pencil each.

  2. Ask them to draw each other’s portrait without ever looking at the paper.

  3. When they’ve finished, ask them to compare their portraits (this inevitably triggers laughter).

  4. The lesson can now start.

  5. Alternatively,  and especially if the students don’t know each other very well, you can ask them to draw the same object in the classroom – again, without looking at the paper.

Comment Over the years I have found that using a touch of humour in the classroom is a great tool to diffuse tension and relax the students (and, often, the teacher).
  1. a greeting

  2. a farewell

  3. expressions for:

  4. thank you

  5. please

  6. sorry

  7. why and because

  8. if

  9. a positive comment (I like the weather.)

  10. a negative comment (I’m not Jean Jacques.) 3.When they are ready, ask the students to form new pairs and to teach each other their new languages.

Comment The idea of an ‘opposite’ is naturally very subjective, hence there’s an element of creativity that makes the activity more engaging. It is important to provide the students with options. Some may prefer to write a description, others may like to draw. By giving them a choice, hopefully the activity will more inclusive.
Comment: The same exercise can be done using pictures. Visualise a picture you’re familiar with and, when the image is clear, change its colours, add or eliminate features, etc.  Remember to experiment and to let your imagination run free. It is the process that matters: you may feel particularly proud of the end product – or not! The same exercise can be done using pictures. Visualise a picture you’re familiar with and, when the image is clear, change its colours, add or eliminate features, etc.  Remember to experiment and to let your imagination run free. It is the process that matters: you may feel particularly proud of the end product – or not! The music of change 1.Take a few moments to relax, unwind and ‘gather attention’. Feel every muscle in your body relax and let your breathing become even and deep. 2.Now visualise a piece of music you like: anything, a song or an instrumental piece. Play it in your head. Play it loudly, as if someone were performing it in front of you. 3.Focus on the details. When the image is clear, change just one feature of the music. For example, change the tempo from slow to fast or from fast to slow. 4.Now change another feature in your imagination. For example, hear different instruments performing the music. 5.Keep changing the music as ideas spring to mind until you hear a whole new different piece of music, something neither you nor anyone else has ever heard. 6.Be as daring or as subtle as you wish, but allow your mind room for something new each time. 7.What does the creative experience feel like? Take some time to think about this. 8.Make notes and share with a partner or discuss with your colleagues – according to the possibilities of the situation you are in.
  1. Cook, G Language Play, Language Learning OUP 2000

  2. Csikszentmihalyi, M Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention HarperCollins 1996

  3. Robinson, K Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative Capstone 2001

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