Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creativity For Survival

A Speaking Scenario

More often than not, students in my class tend to be cool (or cold?). "Engines" have not been "warmed up" yet. Minds do not seem to be in class, they are "somewhere else".  When it comes to doing a speaking activity, e.g. the situation "What is the most important quality of a good citizen?".

Candidate A's task: He has to say 'patriotic", candidate B should say 'heroic' and so forth ... Oftentimes the students would say, "Sir, ... blur ...." Although the situation and the task items look so simple. These are one-worded tasks, but are still daunting and the students seem to be at lost. "No idea!" is what they will say, "Blur!" ... and so on.  Their minds do not focus on the tasks- maybe we can call that - the early morning "blur" syndrome!

One way, that's it - one way, and not the only way to overcome this "cold engine" problem is: students could play a simple game called "Tangram". In this game the students' creativity is being honed to a higher level as creativity can help to alleviate the "cold engine" syndrome.

Some students may have experienced tangram in certain motivational courses where motivators or 'faci.s' encourage them to play that game as often as possible so that they train their brains and minds to be more creative. With creativity they can 'twist and turn' their way around and about problems and solve them. We can find quite a number of sites in the web that explain tangram, its origins and history, etc.

(example) The game of Tangram: What do they 'see' in a triangle: A nose? A tree? A cone? Roof of a house? A stealth bomber? An arrow tip? As you can see the mind will start to work and wake up from its 'sleep'. Our minds can be trained to look at a problem as something that should be solved, not to be stared at bleakly.

In MUET they should approach their tasks, whether in Speaking or Writing, with a certain degree of maturity inherent in Pre-University students and not with simplistic avoidance.  Do you see what I mean?