Professional Development

Being creative in the classroom with Alan Maley

Alan Maley

Alan Maley, author of Alan Maley’s 50 Creative Activities, one of the Pocket editions in our Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series, explores how you introduce creative activities in to your classroom so that your students develop more critical and exploratory mindsets.

In his introduction to the book, Maley talks about why more creative approaches are needed: “Creativity is widely regarded as a desirable quality in many fields. Yet for all the talk of creativity, there is relatively little of it to be found in educational contexts. I passionately believe creativity to be central to learning, including language learning, so this book is intended to offer […] resources for teachers who are interested in implementing more creative activities in their classes.”

This week, we have an exclusive preview of one of the book’s 50 practical activities, about using English proverbs as the basis for a creative classroom activity.

As Maley notes: “All languages have many more or less fixed expressions which capture wise observations about life. Proverbs and sayings are both highly culturally specific and universal. So this is an area of figurative language use worth exploring with students.”

Proverbs classroom activity

proverbs classroom activity













Extension activity

extension activity












Proverbs in real language use

Maley advises caution about over-using proverbs in real language use. He remarks: “Though proverbs are part of the texture of the language, they are relatively rarely used. And when they are, we rarely complete them. For example, Too many cooks… is enough to trigger reference to …spoil the broth. It is as if we need to know them so as not to need to use them!”

Get more ideas for classroom activities from some of our other World of Better Learning articles.

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