Creative Multilingualism

From 2016-2020 we worked with approximately 600 French and German learners in year 9, and, of course, their teachers, from 16 secondary schools across England.  We collaborated on a classroom-based research project to explore the impact of using poems and authentic texts (on such themes as love, death, migration) and different teaching approaches (‘creative’ versus ‘functional’) on learners’ language development and attitudes towards languages.

Classes were allocated to a text type (literary or factual) and a teaching approach (creative or functional) for use in their year 9 language lessons, using materials that we designed in collaboration with teachers. Broadly speaking, the creative teaching approach involved activities that asked learners to respond imaginatively and emotionally to the texts, while in the functional approach they focused on learning grammar and vocabulary and gaining factual information from the texts. We found that our materials helped learners’ vocabulary knowledge and their general creativity, but that how they were used was important.  To find out more, read on!

Since then, we’ve been busy sharing the findings and resources that arose from that project. Read on if you:

  • are interested in learning about how creativity can be developed through language lessons
  • would like to get some new ideas and innovative resources for working with authentic materials
  • would like to find out more about the latest research findings in this area

We have produced a set of materials to help you understand what creativity is, how it is related to language learning, and how to plan lessons and materials to develop learners’ general and linguistic creativity through some practical activities.  You can also find out more about our research project and what we discovered about creativity and language learning.

Project team:

Suzanne Graham, Linda Fisher, Julia Hofweber, Heike Kruesemann