Interview with Hetal Ascher
1 Can you tell us a bit about your approach to teaching with creative writing?
Creative writing can be a daunting task for many English learners. Displaying a photo provides a language scaffold for students. This Photo Prompt Warm-Up activity builds confidence while showing students how fun writing can be.
2 Why did you devise your approach to creative writing?
Sometimes English learners feel that creative writing in English is too hard for them, but in fact, creative writing can be a very interesting process that everyone can practice. Through this process, students can utilize vocabulary in a creative, innovative way and reinforce their descriptive writing skills.
3 What sort of feedback have you had from students?
Students like doing warm-ups. I used this creative writing teaching method in online classes during the Covid-19 outbreak. Online teaching can make students feel isolated, but such an interactive and interesting class can make students feel like they are part of a community with a good atmosphere.
4 Can you tell us about your experience of online teaching?
Online teaching has many advantages. For example, students have time to find resources, they can pause a video and look up more information. In addition, we can use channels like TEAMS to continue group work and assign students to different groups for discussion and activities. Working within the limitations of teaching online during the epidemic, I was able to organize the students to write and perform a radio drama, making full use of voice to express the story. Some students also created sound effects with their own voices in the story, which is fascinating and creative. The process was very engaging and helped the students to expand their vocabulary.
I also published an article on TESOL website, sharing my online teaching experience, with the hope of helping teachers who are currently conducting online teaching due to the epidemic.
5 How do you find teaching students at Dulwich International High School Suzhou?
I think our students have a great appreciation for artistic language. Because of their Chinese cultural background, they love beautifully written language such as poetry, so the way they write is very poetic.
6 Any advice to English learners?
Learning by rote is very boring. On the contrary, Creative writing is an interesting process and you can practice it on your own. You can write a story to express yourself, without too many rules. In this way, in addition to English that can be learned in books, students can have more fun learning English, which is also helpful for studying abroad in the future.
More information on Hetal, please click here to check her teacher in the spotlight article.