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The C Group: Creativity for Change in Language Education

Csilla Jaray-Benn's picture

Introduction
Created two years ago by joint coordinators, Chaz Pugliese and Alan Maley, The C Group describes itself as “an independent and informal grouping of EFL professionals. It aims collaboratively to share information, promote reflection and inquiry, and encourage action through more creative and open teaching practices.” Group members are dedicated to diffusing information about creativity, taking action to promote creative teaching, supporting creative professional development, reflecting on various questions and lobbying for creative solutions in teaching.

The C Group is represented at this year’s conference by 28 sessions given by different group members, including Jill Hadfield, Jamie Keddie and Adrian Underhill. Tonight’s general meeting was open to everyone and was aimed at encouraging new members to join the group.

Achievements to date
Alan Maley opens the evening by thanking IATEFL for the venue and Pilgrims for producing the group’s brochure. He then sums up the group’s main achievements since its creation in 2013:

  • Establishment of a website, where you can also read the group’s Manifesto (http://thecreativitygroup.weebly.com/manifesto.html);
  • Publication of a number of titles, thanks to the work of Brian Tomlinson and Hania Kryszewska, and including a special issue of the HLT Magazine (April 2015) dedicated to creativity;
  • Imminent publication of a special collection of articles focusing on creativity published by the British Council;
  • Collaboration with several institutions on creativity projects.

Coordinating Committee
The C Group is not a Special Interest Group (SIG), neither is it a charity. It’s simply a group of people who share ideas. The group has been growing organically and today it has reached a point where it needs to function in a more structured way. Indeed, one of the objectives of tonight’s event is to set up a coordinating committee, which will ensure the stability of the group in the future.

With some of the major roles already accounted for, Alan Maley then invited expressions of interest from the audience for the following positions:

  1. Online Coordinator to set up webinars and ensure online presence through social media;
  2. Publications Coordinator to take care of placing articles written by group members in other publications;
  3. Various membership responsibilities to develop the group in different regions around the world;
  4. Events Coordinator to organise events, including joint events with other associations, etc;
  5. Liaison Officer to make links with other organisations and publishers;
  6. Liaison Officer  to coordinate between the group and IATEFL at the next IATEFL conference;
  7. Editor to handle the various C Group publications;
  8. Treasurer/Legal Advisor to take care of finances and the legal status of the group (it currently doesn’t have any type of legal status).

Possible Joint Events
The audience then brainstormed possible joint events both within IATEFL and with other local organisations:

  • Having joint events with IATEFL’s Global Issues SIG, the Teacher Training and Education SIG or the Teacher Development SIG would be a natural step for the group;
  • The group could also try and participate in local conferences on creativity, such as those in Malta and New Zealand (organised by CLESOL, an IATEFL affiliate), and do a pre-conference event;
  • Charles Hadfield, member of The C Group, will be giving an IATEFL webinar on Creative grammar in the near future.

Possible Future Projects
Other ideas discussed during this evening’s event included:

  • Designing a T-shirt, together with the Global Issues SIG;
  • Creating a calendar of special (awareness raising) days, e.g. Earth Day. The Global Issues SIG already plans to publish a calendar on their website in time for the 2016 IATEFL Conference. Teachers will be encouraged to post information about activities they organised on that day, including their students’ work;
  • Announcing a C Group scholarship;
  • Approaching onestopenglish.com  to establish a common creativity scholarship;
  • Implementing a mentoring service provided by someone who has written or worked on creativity;
  • Submitting articles on creative work from colleagues;
  • Considering non-verbal creative works, such as photography, video or multimedia productions;
  • Setting up a C Group YouTube channel linked to the website.

Jim Wright, Director of Pilgrims, already offers a scholarship enabling someone to attend a teacher training course that focuses on creativity. Conclusion With a final thank you to Pilgrims, the event ends with laughter, optimism and many creative ideas to think about.

To learn more about the C Group, go to their website: http://thecreativitygroup.weebly.com

If you would like to join The C Group, send an e-mail to Chris Lima – chrislima90@yahoo.co.uk copied to Alan Maley – yelamoo@yahoo.co.uk and Chaz Pugliese – chaz.pugliese@gmail.com