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Stav Papadopoulos : Creative Teaching Escapes the Classroom

Creative Teaching Escapes the Classroom

By Stav Papadopoulos

Creativity cannot be bound to the strict confines of any classroom.

No room, laboratory, stage, workshop or seminar hall, auditorium or formal setting can contain the rush of creativity.

Creative teachers can bring the world into the classroom but they are just as aware how much inspiration, appreciation and confidence students gain when they are introduced to different environments. The well-planned field trip, the class held outdoors, the visit to another class are not just examples of a change of scene but a great opportunity for creative activities to get off the ground.

Just as creative lessons will often escape to the real world, so can creative teacher training. As beautiful as the décor of any event hall for your creative teacher training may be, it cannot surpass real life settings. How else will you and your colleagues help one another see, hear, feel, smell and taste the riches of the wonderfully created world and find the ideas you have been looking for? How else will you all be preparing your students to realize the potential of the resources in their environment?

Teachers like students also need a change of scene. Why not hold your creative teacher sessions in new and exciting venues from time to time? Promote creativity with your choice of venue as well as the invitation you sent out. You don’t need your projector or a laptop, nor do your need to bring all your equipment and materials along. Your sharing, your presence, your guidance will be enough. Perhaps, the following suggestions will encourage you to seek out a most exciting place for your next creative teacher training sessions.

• Meet at a quiet café or tea room
Make a reservation, send out the invitation, and bring your ideas along. Have your topic ready but let the discussion take any direction. You will get to know one another better and concerns just as great ideas will emerge in a meeting such as this one anyhow.

• Plan a getaway
Go out in pursuit of creative ideas, to take back to the classroom, elsewhere. Plan a short trip to a place as near as the closest town to yours or as far as another country. Perhaps a festival or a special event in a nearby town will provide an impetus for your creative outlet.

• Participate in a larger event
Many event organizers — talks, seminars, webinars, workshops, conferences, conventions — can only be too pleased when you bring friends along. Ask colleagues who are interested in creative activities to join you. What you’ve all learned together, what impressions, what new roads open up, you can discuss at the next creative teacher session.

• Attend a performance
Teachers know the value of a performance; they derive pleasure but inspiration as well. Whether it is tickets for the theatre, the opera, a recital or a concert, teachers will be more than happy to join.

• Take a tour of a museum
You may have taken your students to the museum before but have you ever given your colleagues the chance to admire the treasures on display together and then talk about their experience?

• Visit the market
You’ll find plenty of inspiration at a mall, a high street, an open air market. Observe the people and talk to the vendors, see the colors and shapes, smell the different cuisines, taste a rare delicacy, hear the sounds. Take pictures, take notes; take your group outside and have fun!

• Invite them to your home
For the end of the year sessions, share your passion for creative teaching but also where and how your plan for class by inviting a small group of teachers to your home for an afternoon tea or a Sunday barbeque. To make this a fun-filled session, ask them all to prepare a short presentation, record it and send everyone a copy.

Teachers need guidance too. So anxious are they to put forward their best performance in the classroom, that they can hardly notice the call for creativity coming from a short distance away. Creative teaching does not limit itself to any one place; like creativity it’s ubiquitous. •

© 2013 Stav Papadopoulos. All rights reserved.

Stav PapadopoulosStav Papadopoulos is a life-long learner and teacher of foreign languages. She conducts creative language teaching workshops, travels for inspiration, and writes e-books and school plays. More »

Updated 1/9/14