How to be creative and still learn languages without leaving your home

Issued: Tue, 19 May 2020 10:42:50 BST

If you are a parent or an educator, these days have gravitated around the same questions: how can we keep our children engaged in creative activities and encourage them to learn new things from home? Teaching or learning new language skills can be challenging, as we may not have the mobility to experience new languages through social interactions. Yet, with creativity, we can find new solutions!

On May 6th, 2020, Dr. Lavinia Hirsu, Dr. Sally Zacharias and Dobrochna Futro have delivered a webinar on developing Creative Activities for Language Learners at Home. With a large international audience from 86 countries and the support of the British Council, who funded the research behind these activities, the team shared ideas of activities for learners at home. While the Language Suitcase Toolkit shared by the team was not designed initially in response to the current pandemic, the team explained how the activities, already available online for free download, can be adapted and used under current circumstances. More importantly, these activities can be used independently by the learners themselves or together with their family and carers, thus building on opportunities for intergenerational learning. Some of the activities include designing a language passport, working with idioms in multiple languages and exploring the language of feelings. All activities build on an arts-based approach and on the frameworks of translanguaging theory and pedagogy.

On the blog page of the project website (https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/gc/creativepracticestranslang/), you can find the Language Suitcase Toolkit and more creative ideas tailored specifically to some of the challenges that our learners may currently experience at home. Some of these activities have been translated in Polish and Romanian and, with the support of other language practitioners; we hope to provide the activities in other languages. If you would like to share your own activities, feel free to contact us at Lavinia.Hirsu@glasgow.ac.uk and the team would be happy to add it to the toolkit.

If you missed the webinar and would like to view it, you can access it at https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/creative-activities-language-learners-home

The team wishes to thank the British Council for their support for the research project and the opportunity to share these resources.


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