Session 3A
Title: Creativity in the development of critical skills in the classroom

This session is designed for teachers to share what they already know and then to work with others to add a twist of creativity so that the classroom can be a more exciting learning environment. Teachers will rediscover creativity in the teaching of critical skills and be able to apply this to revitalise any classroom. There will be a focus on working creatively within the curriculum to improve students’ critical skills. With course texts as a starting point, teachers will re-imagine current approaches and activities.

The session will have three main parts:
1. Introduction, including activities used and found to be successful in teaching critical skills
2. Teachers will share their own ideas and activities used, and discuss any problems and/or successes experienced.
3. Teacher workgroups - adapt and develop ideas by putting a creative spin on them. Develop innovative ways we can use current ideas and materials to stimulate students in our classroom to think more critically.

Teachers will leave the session with new ideas and a fresh approach to teaching critical skills through creativity. By exploring the use of multimodal material, encouraging the transfer of critical skills from the student’s L1 into English and developing students’ awareness of how these skills can used in academic study and their daily life, teachers will discover how to create an interactive classroom, increase student motivation to encourage more participation in class activities and develop critical skills at the same time.

Wendy Onslow-Mato has more than ten years’ experience in teaching English as a second language at Academic and General levels both in Australia and overseas. Her qualifications include a Bachelor specialising in modern languages, English writing and Psychology as well as post-graduate qualifications in Communications and Journalism - University of Technology Sydney (UTS), TESOL – Cambridge CELTA and Certificate IV in TESOL for Adults. She is currently completing the final unit of a Masters in Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University. Wendy has also worked as an IELTS speaking examiner at Macquarie University IELTS Centre. Further to her teaching, Wendy has worked in other areas such as journalism – radio, print, photo and policing as well as recruitment and training. In addition, as one of eleven participants in the 2014 English Australia Action Research program, Wendy (in partnership with another ELC colleague) has been working on methods to improve critical reading in the EAP classroom and presented at the 2014 EA conference. It is anticipated that Wendy’s work will also be published as part of a SiLT volume through Cambridge in the near future.