Tinker, Tailor…: Creativity in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching
The word creativity has recently won great popularity in numerous contexts, showing both positive (“creative writing”) and negative (“creative accounting”) connotations. The concept itself has many meanings as it may refer to the end product of one’s activity, the cognitive processes involved in the creative act, the personality of a creative person, the development of creativity across the life span, and also the factors that either stimulate or inhibit the process of creation (Łukasik, 2015; Simonton, 2000). There is also a distinction between exceptional creativity, manifesting itself in important works that are significant for a given society, and everyday creativity, which can be observed in everyday life activities that involve a degree of originality. In addition, creativity is no longer perceived as an individual propensity only but as a characteristic that all humans share but may not be aware of its potential. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the role of creativity in learning and using foreign languages. It brings together three perspectives on creativity, that is the psychological, the linguistic, and the educational. These three domains are extremely important for facing present-day challenges and understanding the meaning of creativity in life. Therefore, first the definition of creativity proposed by cognitive psychologists is discussed along with a variety of approaches to the phenomenon. Second, the creative nature of language is touched upon and the place of creativity in education is highlighted. Finally, the foreign language classroom is focused on as a nest of creativity. Learning a new language requires learners to create utterances they may not be confident about, yet they take the risk of producing them. Moreover, teachers may introduce many creative tasks and activities that are motivating, involving and rewarding and give learners a sense of joy, excitement, and fulfilment.
KeywordsCreativity Linguistic creativity Foreign language learning Creative classroom activities
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