How modern foreign language teachers can teach creatively


Creativity is central to modern foreign language teaching and forms a key component of engaging and inspirational lessons for primary school and secondary teachers alike.

From exploring new ways to experiment with words and sentences to instilling a passion for learning among pupils, creative resources and activities are must-have for any MFL teacher.

Add in the vast and complex nature of languages, and it quickly becomes evident that there is a multitude of teaching methods available at a teacher’s disposal.

The role of creativity in MFL teaching

Given that modern foreign languages are built on communication, secondary teachers have ample opportunity to showcase their passion and energy for their subject too, while developing cultural awareness among their pupils.

Factoring creativity into lesson plans also enables MFL teachers to promote higher order thinking in their lessons, allowing pupils to question what they are learning while also cementing their understanding.

Promoting the use of imaginative scenarios means pupils can use the basics of languages as building blocks to enhance their learning, be that in a written or verbal format.

Ways of teaching modern foreign languages creatively

Worksheets and text books are among the resources that can promote the basic theory of language, but using words in different situations and contexts can often help to enhance understanding.

For instance, an MFL teacher may wish to introduce elements of drama or acting into their class, with language at the centre of each scenario.

Recreating real-life scenarios can make it easier for pupils to grasp the basics of any language, and to question whether they can express what they are trying to say differently.

Role-play offers a fun and active alternative to being sat behind a desk, which may also help to make that particular lesson content more memorable.

Thinking outside-of-the-box

Another option is to create imagery and word pairings games so that pupils can relate certain words and terms to images they see.

Secondary teachers may also wish to use visual aids depicting different animals, vehicles or foods for example, before asking pupils to create sentences that include several of the things they see.

Alternatively, an MFL teacher could add an element of design to their language lessons, by asking their pupils to create a ‘Wanted’ poster or a foreign language newspaper front page.

Pupils could also be encouraged to rewrite famous quotes or poetry in a certain language, to record their versions of famous songs or to dub renowned film clips – all of these teaching methods are likely to use words that they do not regularly come across, enhancing their learning.

When it comes to language teaching it’s important to think outside-of-the-box and to recognise the vast array of different media and resources at your disposal.

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