Kleopatra’s story: Creativity in a Language Classroom

_MG_0397Kleopatra Kalogerakou is an English Teacher at the 1st Experimental Middle School of Athens, Greece. She participated in PYE Creative Classroom training with the hopes of learning how she could use creativity to further student achievement.

Kleopatra writes: There is a growing need for raising levels of motivation and involvement of learners in the educational process while at the same time improving overall efficiency and proficiency.

In order to suit the demands of the present day, we teachers, need the best practices to achieve the best possible results. Moreover, we need to develop individual and social autonomous learning and accommodate diverse learning styles. In the Knowledge Age, we need to successfully manage change and adaptation.

We need to adopt methodologies which lead to positive educational outcomes while actively engage learners through education, research and innovation. Global changes and new technologies present challenges for all educators since learners’ mindset and lifestyles are affected. As educators we need to respond to such changes and adapt swiftly. We need to make learning more interesting, enable learning in real settings, make use of the potential of ICT and develop 21st century skills (problem-solving, collaboration and so on).

After the Creative Classroom training, I have noticed that I have become more creative myself and more flexible in my teaching. At the beginning of the year, activities with names help me remember names more easily and quickly. When I understand my students are tired and do not pay attention, I choose an activity to have them stand up and move. When I want to teach writing in the English language, I choose a creative joint piece of writing in order to have them get started in an interesting way.

I have used several activities in my English language classroom. I have used techniques to draw attention, team building, class contracts, memorizing names, creative visualization, free writing, writing a poem, ‘What are you doing there’ activity, guided story, parallel narration.

I brought my artistic self back into play and created a more welcoming atmosphere. Students became more eager to participate and were not afraid of their classmates since they stopped being judgemental and accepted their weaknesses and strengths.

I used techniques like drawing group mandala on different themes to express visions of a shared future, “our ideal community”, ” the school we want to create” etc. “Blessing flags” “Who am I on the inside/ Who am I on the outside”, promoting creative writing such as poems, songs, story telling, role-playing etc., introducing music and dances to express feelings, ideas, likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. I adopted and adapted Creative Classroom activities according to my students’ needs.