La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue

Creativity in EFL Exercise Making

Mario Rinvolucri
Pilgrims, UK

Der Autor bespricht vorerst Übungen aus Lehrwerken und didaktischen Materialien unter der Perspektive ihres Beitrags zu einem kreativen Unterricht. Danach macht er einige Vorschläge mit Ideen, die, z.B. aus dem Bereich des neurolinguistischen Programmierens schöpfend, den L2-Unterricht bereichern können. Der Artikel wird mit einem Schema abgeschlossen, welches den Lehrkräften bei der Reflexion ihrer eigenen Unterrichtspraxis behilflich sein kann. (Red.)

Books of practical lesson plans, Teachers Resource Books, are quite extra-ordinary texts. The sentences that sit on the page are, at best, clear, sparse and to-the-point, while at worst they are repetitive, confusing and turgid. Have you ever tried to read such a book for a couple of hours? Grim. These are not books to read through at a sitting.
And yet they are extra-ordinary texts. Extraordinary because half a page of any such book can provide the seed from which a teacher grows a shape within which students come to life and thrill themselves with their own energy and creativity. In a way you might think of these books as packets of seed or bags of bulbs.
You would hardly expect a tulip bulb to, itself, be gorgeous with reds, and pinks and yellows. It simply holds the promise of those colours in the way a page in a Teachers Resource Book may hold the promise of interesting social interaction with a strong language learning or language practice side to it.

Teacher Creativity

And such books are extra-ordinary texts because they give rise to so much creativity.Let’s look at some of the ways this will sometimes flow:


  • The teacher reads an exercise on the page and is reminded of an activity she used to do but has half-forgotten about. She ends up doing an amalgam of the two exercises, thus effectively creating a third.
  • The teacher misreads the exercise and so spawns a new one. This happens more often then one might think. While collaborating on writing a book, I have often goofily mis-read my colleague’s work and sometimes produced a mess, but sometimes something better than they intended
  • The teacher reads the exercise accurately, thinks about this particular class, their level and their mood, and decides to modify the exercise with a view to making it fit into her mapping of the group.
  • The teacher reads the exercise, does it with her class, and, in the light of how she feels it went, changes it in some way before use with other students.
  • The teacher does an exercise chosen from a book and finds that a couple of her students understand her instructions differently from the way the majority do. After some initial puzzlement, she realises that they have invented a new exercise, a better one, maybe.
  • The teacher overhears another teacher in the staff room talking about an exercise she has just done with a group. She thinks: “might try that…” and then goes and does it. [...]

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