This strand considers alternatives to the prevalent emphasis on language learning for functional purposes, and investigated the extent to which creative approaches to language learning may enhance foreign language learning in the UK, both within schools and beyond. It explored the impact on learners of different kinds of written texts (literary and non-literary), using both functional teaching approaches and ones that involved creative personal responses from learners such as drama and creative writing. The project  focused on the development of learners’ reading and writing skills in the foreign language, their vocabulary knowledge, their general creativity, and their motivation for and conceptions of language learning.

Blog posts on Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning

Research update: Linguistic creativity in the language classroom

Are creative or functional teaching approaches more effective in the language classroom?

Does the image of Germans in the UK press affect whether pupils want to study the language?

Learning a language is like ... crossing an ocean

Gardening - a metaphor for language learning?

Bringing languages to life


Graham, S., Fisher, L., Hofweber, J. and Krüsemann, H. (2020) “Getting creative in the languages classroom”. In: Kohl, K., Dudrah, R., Gosler, A., Graham, S., Maiden, M., Ouyang, W.-c. and Reynolds, M. (eds.) Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto. Open Book Publisher, pp. 151-176. ISBN 9781783749294 doi: 

Hofweber, J; Graham, S. “Linguistic creativity in language learning: Investigating the impact of creative text materials and teaching approaches in the second language classroom”. Scottish Languages Review. 2018, 33, 19-28

Creativity and Learning Modules (Online)

Title text with logos from Creative Multilingualism, University of Oxford, University of Reading

Three modules designed to take you through a set of materials to help you understand what creativity is, how it is related to language learning, and how to plan lessons and materials to develop learners' general and linguistic creativity through some practical activities. You can also find out more about our research project and what we discovered about creativity and language learning.

Linked Projects

The work of Strand 7 has fed into a project funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Oxford and led by Robert Woore at Oxford’s Department of Education, in collaboration with Suzanne Graham, Henriette Arndt and Clare Savory. The team, working with secondary school learners and their teachers, has identified a set of online learning resources that provide learners of French with access to interesting and culturally-rich materials that are accessible on a linguistic level. 

Access the Online Language Learning for All (OLLA) materials here.