- convention 2015
Dr. Kathleen Graves
Opening Plenary Session Abstract
TESOL-SPAIN Convention 2015
Creativity is the human capacity to use one’s imagination to think and act in innovative, original and meaningful ways. Or, as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, creativity is “Putting the imagination to work.” In this talk we will explore ways that we can put our imagination to work in the language curriculum.
A curriculum is concerned with what students learn in a course or program. In a language curriculum, as in any curriculum, this means making decisions about what is taught, how it is taught and why it is taught. Language, however, is a unique subject matter. It is a resource human beings use for meaning-making in all aspects of their lives, and thus the language curriculum has the potential to be rich, complex, varied and meaningful. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and so language teachers can feel constrained by the curriculum—materials may not be suitable or interesting for learners, there isn’t enough time to teach everything in the curriculum, or the focus isn’t appropriate for learners’ needs. A creative disposition enables teachers to analyze and evaluate such shortcomings and generate innovative responses. It also allows them to find imaginative ways to alter or enhance the curriculum.
In this talk I will use classroom examples to look at ways that teachers can be creative within the constraints of a curriculum as well as ways they can use their creativity to transform a curriculum.Opening Plenary
Kathleen Graves is Associate Professor of Education Practice at the University of Michigan. She started her career as an English teacher in Taiwan and later taught in the US, Japan and Brazil. She has worked on curriculum renewal and language teacher education in the US, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Japan, and Korea. Her research focuses on the role of classroom practice in curriculum renewal and supporting teachers’ professional development as the key to successful educational reform. She is the editor/author of three books on curriculum design, series editor of the TESOL Language Curriculum Development series and co-editor of International Perspectives on Materials in ELT. She has also co-authored two coursebook series for English language learners.