Carol Read with YALS representatives, Belgrade, 21.11. 2015
Reported by Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović
On 21 November 2015 a seminar entitled “Creativity inspires both teachers and students“ was held by Carol Read at the Sava Centre in Belgrade. This event, attended by more than 400 teachers from all over Serbia is one of many in the series of events organized jointly by YALS Association of Foreign Language Schools of Serbia and the British Council. It was formally opened by YALS representative Maja Gavrilović, who pointed out that within the framework of advancing quality language teaching and learning by maintaining professional standards for 16 years YALS has made a significant contribution to the continuing teacher training and development in Serbia. The gathering was also greeted by the newly appointed British Council Director of Serbia Clare Sears, who introduced the presenter Carol Read, current IATEFL Vice-president, author of the award-winning title 500 Activities in the Primary Classroom and teacher trainer.
The Seminar consisted of four sessions. In the first one named “The Concept of Creativity“ Carol Read searched for the definition of this elusive notion in the domain of teaching and learning. She explored questions of differences between creative teaching and teaching for creativity, as well as big ‘C’ and little ‘c’ creativity. This session also included the strategies for encouraging creativity in the classroom context. The second part of the seminar titled “How to promote creativity in your classroom“ focused on the methods and specific activities for stimulating creativity at different proficiency levels and ages of language learners. The next session was “The magic of story time“, which dealt with the reasons for using stories in ELT, practical classroom techniques, criteria for selecting stories and tips for reading or telling stories. In the final session called “The power of picture books“, Read talked about the impact of picture books on developing critical and creative thinking skills, intercultural competence and social responsibility, and demonstrated through practical examples how important they are in developing language skills and literacy.
The seminar was extremely positively evaluated by the participants – teachers from both state and private schools, ranging from novices to those with decades of experience. In addition to providing the participants with the valuable theoretical foundation for the importance of fostering creativity in language teaching and learning, Carol Read showed considerable hands-on teaching experience when she, among other things, demonstrated a series of kynesthetic activities for a fingerplay story about Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle, and she especially won the hearts of participants when she modelled how to characterize animals in the Sore Paw Story, for which she was awarded with long rapturous applause.