Hands Tied or Hands-Free? Creativity in Constraint


Session: Plenary/Workshop
Duration: 30-60 minutes
Audience: Teachers (all levels of experience)
Free Preview: Hands Tied or Hands-Free?
The growing interest in learner autonomy in language education in recent years has led to a parallel trend towards autonomous, ‘bottom-up’ teacher development. For many teachers an element of choice is integral to professional development, however too much choice can have a detrimental impact upon teachers’ workload, levels of stress and decision-making abilities.
In this session I make the case for an alternative approach: professional development through the use of constraints upon planning and teaching practices. With reference to a wide range of tried and tested examples, I will demonstrate how placing limitations upon time, language and materials can serve to scaffold and support teachers’ learning, whilst simultaneously combating decision fatigue and promoting creative thinking. Participants will select constraints to apply to their own teaching practice, as well as reflect upon their wider application in their own educational contexts.
The session will cover:
– The historical use of constraints in other creative fields/domains
– The limitless potential of using constraints for CPD
– The process of constraint selection and application
– Evaluating impact and sharing successes


As a reflective practitioner, I am very open to constructive feedback. I’d love to hear from you if have attended this workshop. What did you take away? How could I do better? Would you recommend me?


Let me know…