Professor Emeritus Tony Wright
Tony Wright is Professor Emeritus of Language Education at the University of St Mark & St John in Plymouth, UK, and Honorary Fellow of the University of Exeter. Although retired, Tony still does occasional consultancies and conference presentations, as well as some professional writing and editing. Tony’s long ELT experience covered teaching, teacher education and professional development. He has worked and lived in many countries and contexts, as well as publishing extensively. Among his many life interests are writing, vegetable gardening, photography and travel.
SHARING OUR CLASSROOMS
Classrooms are one of the several universal institutional spaces of modern society, specifically the places where schooling is enacted. At any given moment, somebody, somewhere in the world is either teaching or being a student, in a classroom. It is a formative experience in any person’s life, for better or for worse. For teachers, it is, arguably, our life. As teachers, we spend a considerable amount of our waking time in classrooms. We define, and are defined by, classrooms. Not only do we engage in a career-long existence in classroom space, we continue to engage mentally and emotionally long after lessons are over. The classroom is very much our niche in society. Classrooms are hidden environments. What actually happens in classrooms is, however, something of a mystery. Typically they are not public places like courtrooms. Even our colleagues may not know what we do there; the parents of children we teach rarely know, either. We teachers are cut off by the architecture of schooling – it may suit us, but in the long run, it can imprison us.
We have a choice – to accept and acquiesce to the status quo, or to question it. I propose the latter. By challenging the inherent isolation of our island classrooms we can enrich many aspects of schooling for students, create opportunities for professional learning, and involve many other concerned people in classroom life.
- Associate Professor Tamas Kiss (Xi’an Jiaontong-Liverpool University, China)
Assoc. Prof. Tamas Kiss
Tamas Kiss has been involved with language teacher education programmes in a variety of countries in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America and South East Asia as a participant, trainer or consultant. His main interests include language teacher education, materials analysis and development, and complexity science. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Exeter / College of St Mark and St John (UK) and a PhD from the University of Warsaw (Poland). He is currently an Associate Professor at the English, Culture and Communication Department of the Xi’an Jiaontong-Liverpool University, China.
PERCEPTIONS, PARADOXES AND PRACTICES : CREATIVITY IN LANGUAGE TEACHING
Creativity is one of the most elusive concepts of language teaching; everybody acknowledges its importance, yet very few are able to articulate what exactly it is or how it informs educational principles and classroom practices. This is strange as creativity has an important role in most 21st century skills educational frameworks. The Partnership for the 21st Century (2009) document and the ‘21st century skills: Learning for life in our times’ by Trilling and Fadel (2009) both promote “creativity and innovation” as skills to be learned. The enGauge21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age (NCREL & Metiri Group, 2003) report calls for “creativity, curiosity and risk taking” under inventive thinking, and Singapore’s Framework for 21st Century Competencies and Student Outcomes (2010a, 2010b) identifies a need for “critical and inventive thinking”. Clearly, creativity is one of the important areas educators should focus on. In this talk, therefore, I will discuss the following questions: