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

July 13–17, 2020 • Synchronous 1-week online institute


NOTE: The following description comes from the 2020 Summer Institute program
to give you a general idea of the content of the institute.
This information will be updated for 2021 by mid-November 2020.

Anne Cummings Hlas and Amy Young

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.


  • This is a synchronous online institute that will run from 9 am-4 pm CDT. The schedule includes many synchronous presentations throughout the day as well as time for independent or partner/group work and a break for lunch.
  • You must be available to participate for the entire day Monday–Friday.
  • Make sure to review the tech requirements for this institute.


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.


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 published by Cognella Academic Publishing.

Amy Young is the English Language Specialist for School Support at the Minnesota Department of Education. 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.

Target Audience

This institute is designed for foreign language, ESL, and immersion teachers at the elementary through the postsecondary level. The institute is not intended for teachers in pre-K/K teaching contexts.


Quote MarksRight quote marksThis summer institute was just what I needed to help me take the next step in my teaching career. I’m walking away from it with my head full of new ideas.
—Jonah Weisbond, 2019 Participant
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