Stav Papadopoulos : Summertime Fun Makes for Creative Teaching
Summertime Fun Makes for Creative Teaching
By Stav Papadopoulos
The long-awaited summer break is here and it finds teachers reflecting upon the failures and successes of the past school year. With a view to becoming the insightful and inspiring teacher they wish upon themselves, they are constantly looking for a fresh perspective. The multitude of offerings of summer — in terms of weather, available time, travel, company, events, even fun summer courses — provide the basis for pursuits, teachers can derive plenty of ideas from.
Seeking ideas for creative and engaging lessons while on holiday for the coming year does not detract from the fun and relaxation teachers deserve. If anything, the chance to explore different options makes summertime activities more purposeful. They can put what they learn to use and carry their enthusiasm back into the classroom. What is more, the returns for the professional development of such an active learner-teacher will be high. Traveling far or near, spending time indoors or outdoors, spending alone or with company, taking a summer course or taking up a hobby? Fun and creativity await all teachers!
There are a lot of getaways, sports, hobbies, happenings, to choose from in the summer. Depending on their circumstances and what resources — time, money, materials, means of transport teachers have at their disposal — they can opt for what suits them best. Whether they engage in solitary to highly social activities, choose local or far more thrilling and exotic destinations, all teachers can find pleasure and eye-opening ideas!
- Traveling and summer go together part and parcel.
Teachers can get as much insight and make useful observations whether they travel abroad or just go sight-seeing in their own town. A day spent at the shopping small or at the farm where one can pick his own fruit is just as likely to help a teacher come up with a great idea for a lesson. If it is impossible for someone to travel to Paris and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, how about visiting the highest point of their city — a mountain peak, a tower, a skyscraper and get a bird’s eye view of the city? Is there a new perspective and how can teachers use this and similar experiences creatively?
- Exploring nature in the local park
may prove to be just as adventurous as the wild forest some place far away. Starting the moment one boards the plane to a holiday destination or during a car journey to a locale nearby there is so much there to notice — a new route, a fresh sound, a different kind of person. What happens when one chooses that new path? What did that particular person do to draw attention? How can these observations be incorporated into our lessons?
- A summer course to polish up a foreign language
in preparation for holidays abroad is a great way for teachers to gain confidence in their language skills and perhaps to see what learning is like for students today. Does it help re-assess teachers’ approach to teaching? Does it mean, teachers need to learn more about today’s teaching methods?
- Summer sports last only a short time
compared to those that we can enjoy year long. They may require special gear or equipment to participate in or no more than the will to join a team and partake in the fun. How can this help a teacher plan a project?
- Local festivals and bazaars,
outdoor theatre and concerts, neighborhood and street parties, book fairs and garage sales are all events which bring people together and where the interaction, the dialogues and the melodies, the sounds and smells, the differences and similarities, the facilities and the limitations are all a great lesson waiting to be learned. Attending for the fun is the primary purpose but what other purposes do all these activities fulfill?
- There is plenty of inspiration
and creative pursuits for those who choose a quiet summer at home. Away from the hustle and bustle of any popular international destination and even soundproofing themselves from the noisy city streets, teachers are seeking simple pleasures. They can get inspiration just as well from keeping busy enjoying the time they have with family and catching up, taking up a favorite past time such as cooking, crafting, painting, reading or writing books, setting some order in their files and lives. How can all this creativity accompany the teacher into the classroom?
It will be a promising year for teachers who make the most out of their summer holidays and combine learning with pleasure. Taking advantage of the great weather, the chance to get away, the desire to get out and meet people, they discover there is more there than meets the eye. Their amazing finds will be evident in their eagerness to produce their most creative work upon their return to the classroom. •
© 2013 Stav Papadopoulos. All rights reserved.
Stav 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 »