Creative Teachers: Creativity in Language Classroom
In the National Curriculums, the ‘Creativity and Dynamism’ are basic requirements of teachers in every schools and colleges these days. Can they hire the teachers fulfilling the requirements as they wanted? What is being creative? Is it a person, process or product? What do teachers need to do to be creative? In order to be creative and develop creativity, everyone is required to make conscious efforts investing time, money and energy. To be creative is a good thing, but the question remains there as how can we be creative? What are the basic tenets of creativity and is it inborn or acquired? Such questions require explanations and settlements with logic. In Low Resource Language Teaching environment, l Language teachers need to be creative so that they can deliver language contents with high level of achievements without making the learners feel anxiety of learning in the classrooms especially in second language learning.
In our everyday life, we hear that creative people are born with their talents. They have received it as a gift of God or nature. The fact is that Creative genius is latent within us though we fail to realize it. How can we realize it? How long journey do we have to travel to find the path of creativity? Perhaps a very long way. Do we ever realize that we are on the journey of creativity even now? Many of us fail to realize that our accustomed behaviors like ‘habitual actions’ are barriers to creativity. These activities make us feel comfortable and secure and ultimately block the ways to creativity silently paving the old well familiar paths to walk on.
Human mind is circumscribed by so-called order, rules and regulations. The continuous process of restrictions are complex blocks of creativity. Such practices are apparent in every field particularly in education: teaching and learning activities in the classrooms have fallen in the ditches of habitual actions. Conformity and habitual actions are enemies of creativity. They reduce the possibilities of creating fresh ideas and new insights .These activities have been heavily suffered due to the conventionally formed habits. These habits have to be changed with the sharing like trainings, workshops seminars and forming regular reading habits. Unless we bring changes in our concepts and thoughts, we can never bring changes in our actions and practices. Since we are accustomed to the conventional ways of teaching, teaching is one-directional flow: the jug and mug theory.
Mostly Nepalese classrooms in the rural schools are under resourced. They have very limited resources in the classrooms. Even the textbooks do not reach these schools in the beginning of the new sessions. In such situations, it is the teachers creativities on which the learners’ engagements and performances depend entirely on. So what sort of creativities are expected from the teachers in such schools?
Andrew Wrights (2015) writes ‘Sensitive awareness of the characteristics and potential of the media and materials available to the teachers can lead to ideas which are fresh, relevant and efficient.’ (Creativity in the English Language classroom)
Wrights’ opinion is relevant to us because the major concern for the fresh and relevant ideas are the results of the availability of materials to the teachers. In our contexts, we have two problems: lack of availability of authentic media and materials, and their use by the teachers.
We are accustomed to the habitual actions of following the conventional methods of teaching i.e. Grammar Translation Method (GTM) instead of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) which was introduced to develop students’ linguistic competence. We feel secured under Grammar Translation Method and hesitate to let the fresh ideas enter in our mind s.
The media and materials are means but not the ends. The teachers are required to regularly expose to them and internalize the contents, concepts and instructions that they need to use in the daily basis. Here, again the teachers’ motivation and drive matter much. Many of them are reluctant to receive creative activities and use them in production either through speech or actions. In this connection Fisher Robert Writes, “Creativity must be viewed from different dimensions like ability to solve problems in original ways, to see new meanings in things, to have new and original ideas of anything and use the imagination and experience to open new possibilities”.
However, creativity depends on knowledge-knowledge of English, teaching English and learning English. This knowledge corresponds to devising creative lessons and making teaching-learning activities creative. Therefore for creativity knowledge base is first element.
Jack C. Richards writes, “Creative teaching is said to increase levels of motivation and self-esteem on the part of learners and to prepare them with the flexible skills they need for the future ( Richards 2013: 12)
Creative teaching corresponds to the increase of motivation and self-esteem on the part of learners. Many of the learners want to project themselves better than other in speech, actions and behavior. It is the teachers to create environment and context; devise lessons creatively to meet the need, desire, demand and interest of the learners. Teachers need to create surprise. Fisher(2004:9) comments:
It is originality that provides effective surprise. To do the same thing in the same way is not to be creative, to do things differently adds variation to mere habit, but when we do things we have not done before, and they are effective, we are being original and fully creative.
Creativity reflects in surprise. Surprise in teaching needs surprising lessons and their presentations. It is going beyond the mediocrity.
The article focuses on one aspect of teaching. There are a number of other dimensions to effective teaching. But creativity as we know is required in almost all the levels: receptive and productive, teaching vocabulary to teaching grammar, and all the pedagogical activities. Therefore, teachers of all level need creativity in dealing with the course and handling the learners. Teachers’ creativity contribute to learners’ motivation and self-esteem. Teachers achieve ongoing professional development that ensures their self-satisfaction. When teachers experience achievements through the students’ motivation and success, they feel their increased self-esteem and reputation. Ultimately the school’s quality gets increased and everyone values creativity.
Bruner, J. (1962) cited by Nickerson in Sternberg 1999.
Fisher, Robert (2004) What is creativity? In Robert Fisher and Mary Williams (eds.)
Unlocking Creativity: Teaching Across the Curriculum 6–20. New York: Routledge.
Jones, Rodney (ed.) (2012) Discourse and Creativity. Harlow: Pearson. Lubart
Maley, Alan (1997) Creativity with a small ‘c’. In Clyde Coreil (ed.) The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching, 4. Retrieved on 15 April 2013 from
Maley, Alan and Nik Peachey (ed.) (2015) Creativity in the English language Classroom, British Council. Retrieved at http://www.teachenglish.org.uk
Richards Jack C: Plenary address given at the Summer Institute for English Teacher of Creativity and Discovery in Teaching University Writing, City University of Hong Kong, 5th June 2013. Retrieved online Creativity-in-Language-Teaching Pdf.Foxit Reader
(*Kunjarmani Gautan is the Secretary of NELTA Central Executive Committee. He is also serving as a training coordinator at NELTA)