Live Session on Creativity & Breathing New Life into Language Teaching Materials, and ELT Creatives

Last Thursday, Miguel Miguez from OnthesamepageELT, one of the most creative teachers and bloggers in our ELT world, and I held a live stream on our new ELTcreatives page on Facebook to share ideas on how to make ELT materials and classroom activities more creative, discuss some digital tools that can come in handy in the process, and inspire teachers to create or revamp their materials for this new academic year. (If you were unable to join us, you can watch the recording here).

Why creativity? We thought that in the digital era, when many impossible things have become possible, and we’re able to create a wide range of materials, including listening comprehension and video-based materials, among others, on our own, it is expertise and creativity that should be the focus. With many worksheet, lesson plan, and text generators growing like mushrooms after a rain, giving the illusion that a ‘good’ prompt is enough, creative and critical thinking becomes a top skill for both educators and students. Otherwise, we are in for an avalanche of subpar materials that have already flooded the Internet and an illusionary belief that AI will do the job for us.

We planned to make this session as practical as possible and show practical examples of why we do what we do and how we do it. This session did not focus solely on the abstract noun ‘creativity’.

Miguel provided 8 invaluable tips and strategies on how to embed creativity into language learning materials. They are actionable and work for both newly designed materials and for revamping already-used materials.  

I shared some of the tools I’m currently using to create my materials and showed a few handy ‘tricks’ that might help teachers when designing or re-designing their images, listening comprehension activities, or video materials.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind: the real secret sauce of creativity is having a clear concept in mind from the get-go. So, always start with your idea or concept before you begin using the tools. This should also come with knowledge or experience in writing materials. Have you ever tried to bake a cake without a recipe? It’s exactly like that. You might use all the necessary ingredients, but the chances of getting a good, edible cake are not really high (speaking from experience here)). What you expect and what you actually get can and in most cases will be quite different.


However, when you do have that creative concept and knowledge, these digital tools can take your creativity to a whole new level and help you create teaching materials that are rich in learning opportunities.

Our journey into the world of creative materials design is just getting started. We’ve covered some ground in our live session, but there’s a lot more to explore. If you’re excited about exploring creativity further, we’d love to have you join our ELTcreatives group on Facebook. Let’s keep this conversation going and inspire each other to make our teaching materials even better.

Happy New Academic Year!)

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