Creativity and Talk in Languages Education

The DELTEA study has found ways to support teacher learning about creativity and talk in languages education.  This aligns with Voice 21’s ongoing work to foster the development of spoken language which has been linked to children’s learning and life chances.  


DELTEA teachers’  conceptual understanding of creativity and its links with empathy have improved considerable through our professional development programme (statistically significant increases; large effect size). 


“I see that the creative elements of my language lessons tend to be to do with how to present something rather  than intrinsically to do with the language so it was interesting to think of a different aspect of creativity. Being flexible, dealing with challenge… all really good things that i hadn’t really associated with creativity.” 


Teachers are experimenting with giving children opportunities to talk about values, emotions, perspectives, solidarity, tolerance and celebrating difference through engagement with multimodal stories in French and Spanish.  They’re being encouraged to reflect on others’ experiences and their own with the aim of fostering creativity and empathy. 

This work is proving to be an interesting journey for researchers, teachers and the children involved in our project.  Our teachers are already experimenting with not only ways to use talk to foster creativity and empathy but also to design activities which offer variety in how learners can respond to questions (e.g. through visuals, gestures, talk).  This recognises the importance of talk and makes links to other semiotic tools which supplement communication.  It aligns with the views of the Oracy Education Commission who deem speaking and listening as essential “human skills”  in a technology focused world. 


 Creativity is a crucial part of the teaching and learning process – allowing innovation and adaptation of materials and tasks to suit the learners. It is as relevant to teaching languages as it is to F1 literacy. It is important that we do not lose the playfulness and experimental elements because we are pushed for time.” 


Our results and data are still coming, so watch this space for further developments! 


DELTEA practice takeaway:  Research tells us we can teach and model empathy in classrooms! Think about fostering creativity by varying response types and encouraging talk about what makes us human. 

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