Lateral thinking puzzles and gender: Creative thinking in language education Evan Zelezny-Green English Language Fellow Université Badji Mokhtar Annaba, Algeria Ronda Zelezny-Green PhD Candidate Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom MATE Conference 28-31 January 2013
Outline of presentation What are lateral thinking puzzles? Why should you use them in your language class? Adapting the puzzles to your context and the gendered classroom Example of a lateral thinking puzzle How do gender and lateral thinking puzzles relate in English language teaching?
LTPs: History Lateral thinking (Edward DeBono, 1967): a way of thinking “outside the box” that allows people to restructure their thought patterns and avoid thinking in old, clichéd ways Lateral thinking puzzle (Paul Sloane, 1991): a type of game for small groups...
LTPs: Process Players: • 1 "Puzzle Master" • 1+ "Detectives" The Puzzle Master narrates a story with a strange, mysterious or unlikely element. The Detectives try to explain the story.
LTPs: Process (continued)The Detectives can ask an unlimited number of closed (yes/no) questions.The Puzzle Master can give one of four responses: • "Yes" • "No" • "Irrelevant" • "I dont know"If the Detectives are having difficulty, the Puzzle Master can give them a clue.
What is an example of a lateral thinking puzzle?Once upon a time, there was a woman andher daughter driving on the highway...
Why should I use LTPs in my language class?LTPs are one answer to the most important question that language teachers should ask themselves:“How can I create an effective foreign/second language environment, given the particular complexities of my personal teaching context?”
Why should I use LTPs in my language class? (continued)LTPs allow for many of the characteristics ofan effective second language environment: exposure to comprehensible input (i+1)(Krashen, 1985) pushed output (Swain, 1985) meaningful, convergent tasks(Dörnyei, 1994)
Why should I use LTPs in my language class? (continued)LTPs allow for many of the characteristics of an effective second language environment: interaction and negotiation of meaning (Donato, 1994) noticing the gap in one’s ability (Mackey, 2006) content-oriented processing (Groot, 1994)
Why should I use LTPs in my language class? (continued)LTPs allow for many of the characteristics of an effective second language environment: form-oriented processing (R. Ellis, 1990) communication and learning strategies (Westhoff, 1991)
Why should I use LTPs in my language class?They can serve as a base for encounteringand practicing: • various linguistic structures (e.g. interrogatives, negative forms, various tenses, etc.) • pragmatic aspects of language (e.g. turn- taking, maxims of quantity, relation, manner, etc.) • intercultural communication (moving beyond assumptions)
Why should I use LTPs in my language class? (continued)Their bizarre and absurd situations can: • awaken the interest of the learners • increase the saliency of new linguistic elements (Slobin, 1985) • and facilitate the formation of associations with existing schema (N.C. Ellis, 2003)
Why should I use LTPs in mylanguage class? (continued)And best of all, they are NOT dependent onlots of materials!This means LTPs are extremely flexible andcan be adapted for many different contexts.They are ritualistic, so “instruction time“ iskept to a minimum.
How can I adapt lateral thinking puzzles to my context? What factors do I need to take into consideration? • Age? • Class size? • Time? • Content of stories? • Gender-based power dynamics? • Riddle tradition in the culture?
How does gender figure into LTPs? Gendered language Pronoun usage Appropriate profession names in English as to create gender equality in the world of work Encouraging girls and women through English language teaching
Discussion: LTPs, Gender and Language Education How do you think use of LTPs can benefit your teaching situation? What implementation challenges with LTPs do you think you would face in your teaching context? How might gender dynamics in your classroom impact or be impacted by LTPs where gender “surprises” are used?
Where can I find lateral thinkingpuzzles to use with my learners? If you are interested, put your name and email on the list, and Mr. Zelezny-Green will send you a list of websites with examples of lateral thinking puzzles.
QUESTIONS?Thank you for attending our presentation! CONTACT: Evan Zelezny-Green firstname.lastname@example.orgRonda Zelezny-Green email@example.com