Opening talk: Promoting Creative Thinking in Higher Education Classrooms through Engaging Task Design

British Council: Claire Steele and Sarah Smith


What comes to mind when you think of creativity? Complete freedom to express yourself in any way you want? An exceptionally talented musician, an artist, or an architect? While these people are extremely creative and may have an artistic flair, this is a limited view of creativity, and we need to think beyond this when fostering creativity in the classroom. Every human being has the ability to be creative, and every teacher has the chance to nurture creativity in the language classroom. But how exactly do we do this?

Creativity is being able to imagine other possibilities, to be open-minded and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances. It is the ability to use imagination, to wonder, and to solve problems. In this talk, we’ll explore what creativity is, and how to promote creative thinking skills in meaningful, student-initiated task design to really engage our higher-level students. We’ll break down the process of creative task design and material adaptation into five useful steps to help you plan.
In this talk, participants will:

  • take a closer look at creativity (what it is and what it isn’t)
  • explore some ideas and techniques on how to engage students in creative thought
  • look at the criteria for designing/adapting meaning-driven and creative tasks

Friday workshop: Engaging learners in creative and meaningful tasks through material adaptation

British Council: Claire Steele and Sarah Smith


Have you ever found yourself staring at teaching materials and wondering how to make the content more creative, engaging, and meaningful for your students? Have you wondered how to foster creative thinking in your classroom?

In this interactive workshop, we will work collaboratively to apply what we learnt in the opening talk. We will work together to adapt learning activities for students into more creative and meaningful tasks using our five-step framework. We will then reflect on whether the tasks we create meet the criteria introduced in the opening talk and how these adaptations encourage creative thought.

Workshop Round I: Enhancing Tertiary English Education with ChatGPT

Dr. Richard Bell


The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in education has become increasingly important, particularly with the development of advanced language models like ChatGPT. This workshop aims to explore the potential of ChatGPT in tertiary English classrooms, focusing on how educators can harness its capabilities to optimize student learning experiences and outcomes.

Throughout the workshop, participants will engage in hands-on activities and discussions that cover the following topics:

  1. Introduction to ChatGPT: An overview of its key features, capabilities, and limitations, with a focus on the benefits and challenges of integrating AI into English education.
  2. Collaborative Learning and ChatGPT: Strategies for using ChatGPT to facilitate collaborative learning environments, including peer-to-peer interactions, group projects, and writing workshops.
  3. Individualized Instruction and Feedback: Utilizing ChatGPT's adaptive features to provide personalized learning experiences and real-time feedback on student writing, grammar, and style.
  4. Ethical Considerations: Addressing concerns about plagiarism, data privacy, and the potential impacts of AI on student motivation and creativity.
  5. Best Practices: Sharing practical tips and case studies of successful ChatGPT integration in tertiary English classrooms, along with insights on how to overcome common challenges and hurdles.

The workshop encourages educators, administrators, and instructional technologists to share their experiences and collaborate on best practices, ensuring that participants leave with a deeper understanding of how to effectively use ChatGPT to improve English instruction at the tertiary level.

* This proposal was generated entirely by ChatGPT. Actual workshop contents may vary.

Workshop Round I: Successful assessment of vocabulary learned in context

Karen Passmore


It is widely accepted that learning vocabulary in context is an important strategy for successful development and sustainable vocabulary acquisition. However, how can we know this for sure? How can we assess which learning strategies work best for our students?

In this workshop, we want to exchange ideas on the following questions:

  1. What positive and negative experience have you had with students learning vocabulary in context?
  2. Reading is a valued method for learning vocabulary in context. Which other strategies have you implemented with your students?
  3. How should the learning of vocabulary in context be organised and guided?
  4. How should the learning of vocabulary in context be assessed?
  5. Which tools are available to assess vocabulary acquisition?
  6. Are there any advantages or disadvantages to using these tools?

The goal of the workshop is for participants to develop concrete ideas for the use of vocabulary assessment with their own students.

Flow: (90 minutes)

10 min: Introduction to the topic and possible survey of experiences

15 min: In small groups, summary of the entries in the padlet (set up pre workshop)  for questions 1-6

20 min: Presentation and discussion of summaries (3min per question).

20 min: Breakout rooms Tasks check list how would you organise assessment of vocabulary in a particular context (can be chosen by group)

20 min: presentation of results (5 min per group for 4 tasks)

5 min: close

Workshop Round II: AI in contrastive German-English language classes for students of English philology

Susanne Kollmann and Dr. Ingrid Fandrych


The launch of Chat GPT last year has taken the issue of authorship, plagiarism and cheating to a whole new level, and university teachers have been trying to gauge the implications of the ready availability of language models for both teaching and examining. Language teaching, where linguistic accuracy and style tend to take priority over content at times, seems to be particularly vulnerable to the negative aspects of AI technology. The aim of our workshop is to get a perspective on how it can be utilized in a way that both teachers and students can profit from its use in class and for take-home tasks. The focus of this workshop will be on contrastive German-English language classes like translation, mediation, and grammar courses. We will present examples from our own teaching projects with both Chat GPT and translation machines like DeepL and talk about concepts and lesson plans as well as students‘ reactions and results. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for hands-on experiments and practice and is meant to be a forum for teachers to share their experience with AI in the classroom.

Workshop Round II: Investigating peer feedback processes in the university context: an experimental writing group

Grainne Baker and Merle Willenberg


Over the last three semesters, we have been running an experimental, extracurricular Peer Writing Group in the Institute for English Studies at MLU Halle. Taking an action-based approach, we asked our students to submit drafts of their own English-language creative writing every fortnight. They then received both written and oral feedback from their peers on these drafts, who were all students of English Studies, English teacher training, or Intercultural European and American Studies from all semesters. In addition to analysing the written feedback comments made by students, we also conducted semi-structured interviews with several participants individually. This data set allowed us to address the questions of what kind of feedback comments students made on each other’s work, to what extent the writing group influenced their own writing processes and motivation, and how students perceive extracurricular peer feedback at the university level in comparison with teacher feedback. As well as presenting our findings, this talk will also discuss the practicalities of setting up an extracurricular writing group in the university context and share the lessons we have learned about attracting participants, keeping students engaged, and making it a worthwhile experience for those involved. 

Workshop Round III: Which English(es)? Attitudes towards target varieties at a German university

Anita Geppert and Jennie Meister


In recent years, a considerable amount of research has been published on the development of Global Englishes and the changing nature of English through its use as a lingua franca by speakers all over the world. The concept of "ownership" of English by native speakers and the notion of the native speaker in general have been questioned in this context. The Companion Volume to the revised Common European Framework of Reference of 2018 removed all mention of the native speaker from its descriptors of phonological control, for example, and makes clear that the highest CEFR level, C2, is not to be equated with native speaker proficiency. At the same time, studies show that many learners and institutions remain focused on "native speaker English", and particularly on British and American English, as supposedly "standard" varieties and as targets for language learning.

We aim to investigate how students in our own learning context at a Bavarian university perceive British and American English and the extent to which these varieties are still considered to be (the only?) appropriate norms for students and future teachers of English in Germany. We would like to invite discussion of the role of Global Englishes and target varieties at other universities in Germany. Which English(es) are we teaching and why? Which English(es) do our students wish to learn and why?

Workshop Round III: Welcome to the Playground: Creative Writing

Olivia Hambrett


Creative Writing has a long, well-established tradition in education in the Anglosphere. I can remember, very well, my own primary school experiences with Creative Writing, something that was further encouraged in the syllabus in high school and something I ended up doing my Master of Arts in. When we write purely for the purpose of expression, we use language differently. We deepen our understanding of what certain structures can do. We come to understand conventions and how to subvert them for effect. We move away from what we ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ do and inhabit the language in a way that makes it work for the world we want to create.

What does this mean for learners of English as an additional language? Convinced CW can be a powerful tool in the EFL/Sprachpraxis classroom, I decided to try and find out. My students are all studying their BA in Education at the University of Flensburg with English as one of their two main subjects. They come from an education system that doesn’t, historically, include expressive writing in school to any significant extent, and they are studying within a tertiary education system that makes little to no mention of Creative Writing.

I would like to show fellow GASP attendees exactly how I ran a CW workshop (and what I did differently the second and third time around) and what my main takeaway messages were. Then I would like to lead attendees in some of the writing prompts my students did, to further illustrate how the class worked and how it can work in the future.

Workshop Round IV: Balancing disparate English-studies needs and goals in the Anglistik Sprachpraxis classroom

Carol Ebbert-Hübner and Jenny Skipp


Description: In comparison to many other EAP classroom settings, Anglistik Sprachpraxis classes at German universities are comprised of students with similar aims. Most students have the same L1 and most are English studies majors or minors, or future teachers of English, which means the classes they take to receive their degrees will all have similar expectations. However, despite this similarity, our students often do have different goals in terms of what language skills and other skills they need for their future professions, particularly when looking at education students in comparison to Bachelor of Arts majors and minors. We aim to discuss with fellow Sprachpraxis professionals to what extent we can or should take these differing aims into account in terms of grading matrixes, assignment setting and overall expectations, and whether anyone teaches in programs that do take these differing aims into account. Ideally, we will be able to determine best practices in balancing the needs of universal program aims with the goal of providing individual support for our students’ personal language development.

Workshop Round IV: The design and implementation of a 'Grand Moodlification Project' (C1) in Sprachpraxis

Yannick Stark, Chris Bunyan, Dan Honert, and Hank Rademacher


The aim of our project is to develop a moodle course that complements the department’s practical language courses and which serves as preparation for the language proficiency exam “Language & Use Intermediate”. Many instructors use moodle and cover what time allows in the lower-division language courses, but there is no overarching moodle course in which a fixed set of grammar and vocabulary topics are covered and made available for use by all instructors.

Moodle quizzes allow users to create digital tests including gap-fills, true or false questions, drag and drop exercises, and much more. Other moodle features include monitoring student quiz and assignment attempts and providing various forms of automatic feedback.

H5P is an open-source software which allows users to create, share and reuse interactive content in moodle courses. H5P provides easy access to many different formats which can be selected and adapted without requiring coding skills. While H5P also permits the creation of tests, it is best used for integrating media along with interactive tasks, vivid explanations, and supplementary comments in order to build a coherent and interesting lesson.

This workshop will provide an overview of the moodle quizzes and H5P content used in our new overarching moodle course, with a strong focus on their practical implementation in a language teaching context.