Creativity in the Language Classroom: Fostering Student Learning Through Creative Language Experiences

July 15–19, 2019

Anne Cummings Hlas and Amy Young

Thank you for your interest in this CARLA summer institute.
This institute is FULL for 2019! You may add yourself to the wait list.

Creativity is a way of thinking about learning and teaching that emphasizes collaboration, problem-solving, intrinsic motivation, discovery, and an openness to new ideas. Designed for world language, ESL, and immersion teachers who want to promote creativity in their classroom while simultaneously improving learner's target language proficiency, this institute will examine the connection between multilingualism and creativity, and explore strategies to increase engagement in the classroom. Strategies will emphasize auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile learning through novel student-centered projects, targeting language objectives at each student's interest and readiness level. Teachers will also learn how to inspire creativity in their students and integrate it meaningfully into daily lesson plans.

Program Schedule (9am-4pm)
Day 1 Connections: Creativity and Language Learning
  • Creativity and 21st Century Skills
  • Multilingualism and Creativity
  • Collaboration and Creative Problem Solving
Day 2 Promoting Creativity through Auditory Tasks
  • Vocabulary Development with Poetry and Music
  • Communicative Functions through Games
  • Peer Interaction and Puzzles
Day 3 Promoting Creativity through Kinesthetic and Tactile Tools
  • Improvisational Techniques and Humor
  • Tactile Learning and Information Gap Activities
Day 4 Promoting Creativity through Visual Tools
  • Acquisition-Rich Environments
  • Literacy Development
  • Film in the Classroom
Day 5 Promoting Creativity through Technology
  • Technology for Creativity and Collaboration
  • Reflection and Lessons to Take Home

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Identify key elements from research foundations supporting the use of creativity to promote learning and language development;

  • Describe meaningful strategies to support creativity in the language classroom;

  • Apply improvisational techniques to improve creative flow;

  • Use targeted language functions, forms, and vocabulary to support creativity;

  • Create interactive group activities requiring creative thinking skills; and

  • Plan a collaborative language lesson involving kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and tactile tools.


Amy Young is the English Language Specialist for School Support at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Previously she was the EL/Migrant Education Coordinator and a principal in Owatonna, MN. Dr. Young worked at New York University in their Multilingual Multicultural Studies program, and lived for over 15 years in Mexico where she founded and was the national director of a creative problem-solving organization. Her research interests include strategies for facilitating learning in multilingual settings through collaborative dialogue, peer interaction, and integrating language and content.

Anne Cummings Hlas is Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where she teaches methods courses for future language teachers and Spanish language courses. A veteran teacher, she regularly incorporates improvisation and creative thinking techniques in her classes to promote interpersonal communication and collaboration. Her first book, Practical Creativity: Activities and Ideas for your Language Classroom (2019), was recently published by Cognella Academic Publishing.

Target Audience
: This institute is best suited to foreign language, ESL, and immersion teachers at the elementary to postsecondary level. The institute is not suited to pre-K/K teaching contexts.


Quote MarksRight quote marksI always seek out professional development opportunities and this has been one of the best! In a week I've been able to learn so many strategies to refresh my language teaching. Feeling renewed to enter my 10th year of teaching!
—Kelly Grucelski, 2018 Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414