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June 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

Motivation and Creativity for the Implementation of A New English Language Strategy

Maritza Núnez Arévalo is a teacher at the University of Matanzas, Cuba. She is interested in speaking and reading skills. She has written and co-written different articles about these topics. She is interested in everything related to ELT. She has 28 years of experiences working as a teacher of English. Email:

Ana Velia Domínguez León, PhD, is a teacher at Granma University, in Cuba. She has 15 years of experience working as professor in the Language Center at the University of Granma. She has co-written articles about reading comprehension, motivation, communicative approach, etc. Her field of research is reading comprehension in the teaching-learning process of English language. Email:

Tania Morales de la Cruz graduated in 1991 as  Bachelor in  Education, specializing in English. Assistant Professor, Master in Education. She has 28 years of experience in teacher training. She works at the Language Center in the University of Matanzas, Cuba. She has participated in international events and has published articles about ELT. Email:



The development of the teaching-learning process of Cuban Higher Education considers the use of English Language of great importance for professionals, starting from the concept that their complete integral formation implies not only the awareness of the professional profile, but the skill of using English efficiently and the most advanced technological tools. English language teaching has gone through many stages, and we have worked with many syllabuses, today a new one is implemented in all Cuban Universities, which is Face2Face Syllabus; it is very well designed but it needs motivating and creative activities to develop a positive teaching learning process. The present work pretends to present some interactive activities as a suggestion to improve the quality of English teaching and it will support the discipline methodological activity for both, teachers and students for the learning process preparation.



 In recent years, the essential priority of educational policy has been aimed at educating citizens with a comprehensive general culture and with a humanistic, scientific and creative thinking that allows them to adapt to the changes in context and solve problems of social interest with ethics and a critical and responsible attitude, in keeping with the needs of a society that struggles to develop and maintain its ideas and principles in the middle of enormous difficulties and challenges. (V National Seminar, 2004)

The epistemological considerations on motivation have been diverse (Da Silva, 2005, Dornyei, 1998; Hussin (2001); Geen, 1995; Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, 2002; Woolfolk, 1996) taking into account the number of authors and variety of currents and theories that have addressed it; Therefore, many procedures and methods have been used, with greater or lesser effectiveness, in the teaching of the English language within the Cuban education system in recent years.

 University students at the last congress (July, 2018)talked about the insufficiences they have in english from elementary to twelve grade, however, should make us reflect on the need to continue the search of ways that promote a better development in the formation of the necessary linguistic skills in learning English as a foreign language. On the other hand, the inclusion of English as a prioritized subject from this course poses new challenges that teachers of this subject can implement when teaching classes.

The following work proposes a series of creative and motivational activities that include educational games, work in pairs, dramatizations, dialogues in chains, role plays, work with songs among others, with the aim of encouraging students, who are not of the English language career, to communicate with greater ease, security, without fear, and turn language classes into a developer environment, pleasant for teaching-learning, using multiple intelligence, because it allows the student to interact with their peers and be really they, each person is intelligent in different spheres so they can demonstrate that intelligence in different ways and also self-evaluate their own learning in an enjoyable way.


Epistemological considerations of motivation

By nature the teaching of languages ​​at an early age is often to see the teacher as the center of the process, because this is the model to correct the use of language as a goal. At the same time, we know that vocabulary and syntax require a lot of practice in the classroom, where time may be limited by several external factors. When the teacher stops being a center and becomes a facilitator guide, the student's disposition flourishes, the student is more active and the communication takes place spontaneously, performing role plays, work in pairs, groups, etc. and They feel safer to experiment and motivated to participate freely.

As Chaney (1998) refers, speech is a process of construction and exchange of use of verbal and nonverbal symbols in a varied context. Speech is a crucial part of a second language teaching - learning. English teachers have continued teaching the ability to speak only as repetition or memorization of dialogues. Therefore, today's world requires improving students' communication skills, because only in that way, students can express themselves and learn how to follow cultural and social rules in each communicative circumstance.

As a general rule, learning a foreign language occurs optimally when the student likes the language they are learning, as well as the people who speak it as their mother tongue, likes the culture of the new language and wishes to become familiar and / or integrate into the society in which the language is used.

According to Geen (1995), in psychology, motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior. In this regard, there is talk of the existence of personality factors that facilitate or prevent the learning and acquisition of a foreign language or a second language (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, 2002). Among these factors are attitudes (openness, will), motivations (intrinsic,extrinsic, instrumental), values ​​(ethical, moral), beliefs (religion, ideology, etc.) and personality factors (optimism, passivity, fear, intelligence). However, given that the first concepts of motivation were developed from conditioning studies in animals, the motivation was explained from a purely conductivistic point of view: the satisfaction of biological needs determined by the behavior andsubsequent reinforcement or reward.

Kolb (1984) established in his theory of multiple intelligences that there are at least 7 different ways of learning, and therefore there are seven intelligences: kinesthetic, (physical / bodily movement) interpersonal (communication and relationship with other people), intra- personal (self-reflection and metacognition), logic / mathematics (numbers, scientific thinking, inductive, deductive, awareness of spiritual, musical / rhythmic reality (recognition of sound and rhythm patterns), verbal / linguistic (written and spoken words and languages. This intelligence dominates most Western educational systems) and visual / spatial (based in the sense of sight, the ability to visualize objects and create mental images.

The student probably does not dedicate his effort to learn a foreign language if he does not have the need and desire to learn it; However, when he is motivated to do so, he becomes interested and does it willinglly.

Bañuelos (1993) states that we must certainly admit that in the school context teachers value more effort than skill. In other words, while a student expects to be recognized for his ability (which is important for his esteem), his effort is recognized in the classroom. In this regard Hussin (2001) adds that ability (capacity), which for the student is the central element of self-motivation; in many cases it is ignored.

 On the other hand, according to Da Silva (2005), when developing a second foreign language you need more than just a good ear, a good experience, a verbal intelligence, you also need to have a positive socio-emotional variable of motivation, then, the aptitude favors the social context, attitudes, motivation and academic performance of the student influence their foreign language development.

Learning a foreign language is different from learning other subjects; Language is part of the identity of the human being, which implies a transformation. It is not about conventions, but about a new culture, a new way of being. Crookall and Oxford (1988) point out that learning a second language is ultimately learning to be another social person. Similarly, (Gardner 1985) states that languages ​​differ from other subjects because they have to do with the acquisition of skills and behavior patterns characteristic of another community. Consequently, he argues that success is determined in particular by attitudes towards the community of speakers of that language.

On the same topic, Dornyei (1998) suggests his ten commandments to motivate language students:

1. Set an example with your own behavior.

2. Create a relaxed atmosphere in the room.

3. Present the activities appropriately.

4. Bring a good relationship with your students.

5. Encourage linguistic self-confidence in students.

6. Make your class interesting.

7. Promote autonomy.

8. Customize the learning process.

9. Orient your students towards their goals.

10. Familiarize your students with the language culture they study.

Woolfolk (1996) adds another component, teacher’s expectations. This model is a starting point from which a series of motivational principles in teaching are derived, among which we can mention the use of a variety / novelty of activities in a way that keeps the student attentive due to its practicality and reality, emphasis on situations that involve problem solving, cooperative learning (not of competition among students), freedom of expression, self-learning, reinforcement, qualitative evaluation, equal opportunities for all, use of positive messages to support the slow student.

From the pedagogical point of view, the effective practice of language learning needs the study of contemporary research. Studies that can be very useful for us as educators when it comes to bringing students' experiences to classrooms: this can be based on teaching and social dynamics, the role of past experiences in motivation, multiple intelligences, styles of teaching-learning, etc.

To obtain expected learning results:

  • Teachers will confirm and support the development of understanding about what constitutes an effective foreign language classroom.
  • Teachers will understand contemporary studies which have a great impact on language teaching.
  • Teachers will work individually and cooperatively to design creative activities based on recent research.
  • Teachers should meditate on how to integrate practical strategies into workshops in language classrooms.
  • Teachers will actively participate in a variety of creative activities.


Creative activities

Authentic teaching takes place in a comfortable environment, when the student has fun, entertainment, the learning environment is positive, at that time he does not think about using grammar correctly and begin to speak spontaneously, naturally. When games or other activities are used in our lessons, students tend to remember the language they are using, and they practice it not only faster but they tend to retain it easier.

Creative activities and games improve language teaching in a way that students do not feel they are studying, but learn with pleasure, fun.

It has been proven that the brain is much more active when learning by interacting with others. So it can be said that putting into practice interactive games and activities is an effective way to give the student the possibility of using the language in a meaningful and communicative way.

The social nature of the games provides an opportunity for real communication and should be considered as an integral part of the language program. As facilitators of the teaching-learning process we need to determine which objective is most relevant to our students. Our goals should include:

• understanding the skills students need to develop communication.

• creating clear learning objectives that help develop skills.

• motivating students with dynamic, creative, content, contextualized and activities    

  linked to learning objective.


Activities to develop motivation in English classes

1. Figure out…

Using vocabulary the students have learned recently, prepare some cards with one word written on them. During class, select one of the cards without showing the students what is written on it. The students will try to figure out what the word is by asking questions, which you will answer. They may only ask “yes-no” or “choice type” questions such as is it something you can drink? Is it made out of wood / paper? Is it a thing or a person? Is it an animal? Can it move? Is it something we can use? The students can guess what is written on the card whenever they think they have enough information. Anyone who guesses right wins a pencil or another reward provided by you. Then go to the next card.

2. Find the difference

For this activity, students can work in pairs and each couple is given two different pictures, for example, picture of boys playing baseball and another picture of girls playing basketball. Students in pairs discuss the similarities and / or differences in the pictures. You can use pictures of different topics.

3. Life memories

The previous class the teacher collects info from her students such as family, activities in the summer / winter break, job, school, etc.

At home, the teacher writes one or two sentences per student summarizing their narrative. In this way, she creates a sentence in the 3rd person singular omitting the subject. Students walk around the room asking each other yes / no questions to complete their sentences with the missing subjects.

4. Describing pictures

Another way to make use of pictures in a speaking activity is to give students just one picture and having them describe what it is in the picture. For this activity students can form groups and each group is given a different picture. Students discuss the picture with their groups, then a spokesperson for each group describes the picture to the whole class. This activity fosters the creativity and imagination of the learners as well as their public speaking skills.

5. Find someone who ...

1. _________________ likes studying with a group of friends.

2. _________________ has been studying English for more than 10 years.

3. _________________ have a brother or sister who lives in another province.

4. _________________ ’s favorite painter is van Gogh.

5. _________________ you have completed / wants to complete a master’s degree.

6. _________________ likes Aaron dìaz and his / her favorite work “Tierra de Reyes”.

7. _________________ will be doing something special in the next few weeks.

8. _________________ enjoys reading interesting books.

9. _________________ has four older friends.

10. _________________ has a son or daughter.

11. _________________  has a really good idea to use in his / her class.


6. Reporting

Before coming to class, students are asked to read a newspaper or magazine and, in class, they report to their friends what they find as the most interesting news. Students can also talk about whether they have experienced anything worth telling their friends in their daily lives before class.

7. Musical chairs game

Ask your students if they know any songs in English. If not, then teach them a simple pop song, children’s song, or something suitable for the current holiday season. Make space so that the students can place their chairs in a circle with one chair less than the total number of students. The game starts with the students circling around the chairs, singing the song they have just learned. When you say ‘stop!’ Every student should quickly take a seat. The one student left standing is the loser of this round. As a punishment, he or she must describe some important events in their life to the class and then he / she is out of the game. Remove one chair and start the game again. Repeat until only one player is left. Declare him / her as the winner

8. Listen to a song

Answer with your own words, and discuss with a partner:

1. What is the main topic of the song? How do you know?

2. A. Who is the “poetic voice” (I) in the song? B. Who is the muse?

3. Why did the author says… ..

4. Write down the sentences that contain “past”. Work with a partner and write other sentences taking into account the topic of the song that applies to you, or someone you know.

5. Create your own poem related to the topic of the song. Use your imagination

9. TV Discussion Panel Role Play

This role-playing exercise requires any number of students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. Each student will select and play the role of a current, historical, local or internatonal political figure such as: Fidel Castro, Abraham Lincoln, AgustinoNeto, John Lennon, JosèMartì, etc. You will act as the host of a TV discussion panel in which each of the famous political personalities participate. Begin the discussion by asking one of the students what they think about the future of the world. After the first student has answered, each of the other students can give their opinions. The students should try to enliven their answers by using the person’s typical mannerisms and accent if possible. Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: improve, capitalism, free market economy, thoughts, peace, and get along with one another.

10.Encourage conversation

Every social interaction gives students a new opportunity to practice language. Some of your students might need a little guidance from you to engage in conversations, so spark interactions whenever you can. Ask questions, rephrase the student’s answers, and give prompts that encourage oral conversations to continue.

11. Enter a “question of the day.”

During each school day’s opening activities, ask a question to encourage talk. (You can even write one on the board so your students can read it and start thinking about their answer as soon as they come in.) Start with simple one-part questions like “What is your favorite subject?” If a student doesn’tanswer in a complete sentence, model a complete sentence and ask the student to repeat your model. Once your students are successfully answering these simple questions in complete sentences, move to two-part questions that require more complex answers: “What is your favorite subject? Why?

12.Complete the idea ...

Give your students a sentence to finish, such as “When I was a baby I used to…” Have each student contribute a phrase to complete the sentence (eg, play chess, jump in the bed, ride horse.etc) . Then have your students create a story, using different verbs. You can use this exercise with different topics.



This paper provides a series of very well creative and motivating activities to implement the new English language strategy as a second language in Cuban universities. It facilitates the methodological preparation of the teachers of the discipline to face the new task.Students learn through a new way of teaching.



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