Modern language teaching often relies on traditional assessments like written work and grammar tests to measure student performance.
However, a team of Modern Languages academics are inspiring teachers and students to adopt new and creative ways of researching language and assessing language learning - through art.
The team have launched the Creative Modern Languages Hub, a free online resource which provides examples of creative assessment and artistic research from the UK and beyond.
Dr Sarah Pogoda, Lecturer at Bangor University, co-leading the project, explains:
“Usually in modern languages teaching, we measure language skills and cultural knowledge of students by setting an essay or an oral examination. However, we want to inspire teachers and university lecturers to think outside the box and beyond traditional formats. Our online hub shows a wide-ranging collection of creative assessment examples from across the UK and demonstrates how artistic creativity is already diversifying how students and teachers engage with modern languages. It shows how we might transform the way we teach and assess our students.”
Dr Alex Mangold adds:
“Creative student exercises and artistic research can include blogs, podcasts, short films, art installations, graphic novels, poetry, painting, photography, theatrical monologues, clowning, animations, digital performances and music.”
“These methods invite students to do things in different and more interesting ways, and could ultimately encourage more students to study modern languages at our universities.”
The collection of examples will hopefully inspire colleagues and students to experiment towards new and creative forms of assessment. The Hub also offers a collection of artistic research in the field of Modern Languages, demonstrating how the arts generate knowledge on language and cultures often hidden to traditional academic methodologies.
The team delivered a workshop at Bangor University. Dr Sarah Pogoda reports:
“Engagement with and responses to our workshops show that most colleagues are really keen to experiment with creative approaches to learning and assessing modern languages. From what we’ve heard, staff and students are grateful for learning about practices, procedures and quality assurance from other colleagues.”
The project was funded by the British Academy Talent Development Awards 2021.
The Creative Modern Languages Team consists of Dr Alex Mangold (Aberystwyth University), Dr Sarah Pogoda (Bangor University) and Fernando Castellano-Banuls (Aberystwyth University).
The Creative Modern Languages Hub is available online at https://creativemodernlanguages.uk