Problem-solving and creative activities are critical for improving the communicative skills of ESL students. These tasks prompt learners to develop such cognitive abilities as critical thinking, analysis, and formulating conclusions on the basis of evidence; in turn, these abilities enable learners to communicate more effectively. Furthermore, problem-solving and creative tasks can involve various communicative situations such as the need to support one’s arguments. In this case, learners will use language while working on the tasks that are interesting and meaningful to them. They will be more willing to display their communicative skills which can be related to writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
Researchers and educators try to introduce various methods that can help ESL students develop communicative skills. Much attention is paid to the competencies that these people should have in order to improve their speaking, writing, reading and listening. During the conference, I will speak about the ways in which problem-solving and creative activities can enable ESL earners to develop their communicative skills. At first, I will discuss theoretical assumptions that underlie this approach.
In particular, it is important to mention that problem-solving and creative activities can motivate learners to apply their knowledge of the English language in various situations. Additionally, I will focus on the specific examples illustrating the use of this method. The participants are very likely to ask me a variety of questions about the validity of this approach. So, it is important to discuss exercises that teachers may offer to ESL learners (Rivers, 2003).
This topic is important for teachers who should know how to engage these learners in various communicative activities, especially classroom discussions. Furthermore, this issue can have profound implications for children who need to see that the use of language can be critical for their self-expression, gaining support of other people, or ability to acquire the role of leaders within a group.
It is vital to mention that there is a gap in the current literature on this topic. In particular, problem-solving and creative activities can be viewed as the tools for improving students’ academic performance (Ricket & Strohner, 2008, p. 40). This approach has been adopted in various areas such as physics, chemistry, or mathematics. By promoting creativity and problem-solving, teachers can help students acquire their knowledge of these disciplines.
Admittedly, teachers, who work with ESL students, also recognize the importance of problem-solving skills and creativity. In particular, they argue that various language tasks can help learners develop their problem-solving and creative skills (Zheng, 2009, p. 227). Yet, they do not consider the use of problem-solving and creative activities for improving the communicative skills of learners (Zheng, 2009, p. 227).
At first, it is important to consider such aspects as critical skills, ability to look at a certain question from different perspectives, and argumentation. Each of these competencies can help a person become a more effective interlocutor. Additionally, one should mention that creative activities require students to use language in order to express their ideas to other people. For instance, ESL learners may need to formulate a problem or a question that should be addressed (O’Donnell, Hmelo-Silver, & Erkens, 2013, p. 359). Additionally, they need to provide arguments showing that a certain solution is the most appropriate one (O’Donnell et al., 2013, p. 359). In addition to that, individuals may need to discuss the strengths or weaknesses of a certain decision and critique the ideas of other people. Therefore, ESL students will have many opportunities for practicing their communicative skills.
Overall, this discussion will be useful because it will be possible to identify the positive and negative sides of this approach. Additionally, other participants may suggest ways of improving this technique. Moreover, they may explain how this method can be combined with other instructional strategies.
O’Donnell, A., Hmelo-Silver, C., & Erkens, G. (2013). Collaborative Learning, Reasoning, and Technology. New York, NY: Routledge.
Ricket, G., & Strohner, H. (2008). Handbook of Communication Competence. New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter.
Rivers, D. (2003). From the Heart: A Creative Approach to Writing. New York, NY: Pippin Publishing Corporation.
Zheng, R. (2009). Adolescent Online Social Communication and Behavior: Relationship Formation on the Internet: Relationship Formation on the Internet. New York, NY: IGI Global.