Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pie Cutting Event - Report

“It’s all your fault!“  said Little Mind. “You with all your imagination, your images, your colours, your creativity……”
“Actually”, said Big Mind, “it’s your fault, Little Mind! With you and your numbers and your rules and your do’s and don’ts and your musts and your grammar, trying to control me, to restrain me, to suffocate me, to stop me playing!!!”
And our Don Schofield, our excellent speaker, took us on a trip to explore our Big Mind, to help us and, through us, our learners go past the obstacle of Little Mind and enjoy our teaching and learning.
After briefly explaining to us that through creative writing learners can play with language, realize that language is not only used for academic purposes , that  it doesn’t need to make sense (especially in the early stages of writing a poem or story) and, of course, that one can use the language just to play, just to have fun . What our learners don’t realize- and they do not need to- is that they are learning how to use associative thinking- essential to all forms of creativity and the most natural form of thinking for us humans. In this way, language becomes personally relevant, motivation to use it becomes stronger, memory and imagination turn into an integral part of expression and, ultimately, we learn by genuinely enjoying ourselves using language.
Don presented two techniques in his workshop:

a)     10 Xs
Using any publication that is not too technical, bore ten holes  on a sheet of paper on which you have previously marked 10 Xs  at random points, peer through them at any page of the publication and read the words underneath (they can be nouns, verbs, etc). Then write a poem or story where the first word is in the first sentence, the second word in the second sentence and so on. Then go over what you wrote and add, subtract or change to make it more interesting. And then share!!!

b)      I am / I am not
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, creating two columns, Then name the two columns: The first should be positive personality traits (generous, kind, etc. The second one should be negative personality traits (stingy, cruel, etc). Then imagine, for each list, a character that fits these traits. Give your character a name, an appearance, colour of hair, body type, age, ethnicity, food, likes/dislikes, etc. Give them a personal history (where they grew up, parents, other family). Give them beliefs and opinions (political, religious, etc). What you write does not have to be logical or factual but should fit all the traits of the character you’ve created. Then imagine those two characters meeting somewhere, a restaurant, the street, as well as the time. The place can also be virtual, e.g. a social network chat. Then write a dialogue between them.
And then, naturally, share and discuss.

All we participants at Don’s workshop enjoyed it and produced some very original and interesting poems and stories. Certainly our learners will enjoy their meeting with the Big Mind and have fun using their creativity and learning through play with language.

By Georgia Psarra

A short video available at 

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