Why do we highlight creativity in playing Bumper Cards™?
Do you think language is just a communicative tool?
Do we just passively use language? Or can we create it?
Creativity can be simply described as the ability to see ordinary things differently or an incremental change to something that already exists. Creative skills are important across many disciplines, including the working environment and various life situations. Creative thinking helps us to see alternatives, solve problems more easily, and think in a more independent way.
Although it is very important, however, creativity is not an area often addressed in language teaching. Teaching languages in a way that enhances creative thinking can facilitate these abilities to develop. That is why Bumper Cards™ helps. With Bumper Cards™, children’s creativity is encouraged: Children are not only asked to create real, everyday words, but also novel ones. Thus, the game stimulates both convergent thinking (regular learning) and divergent thinking (thinking of multiple solutions for a problem). Throughout the process, children’s language skills are also encouraged, in either one language or two, so they will be more likely to express themselves more flexibly and creatively.
Traditional methods of teaching language might not think highly of encouraging children to come up with what seem like “silly” answers, even with good explanations. This is highly praised and stressed in playing our Bumper Cards™ game. One plus one does not always equal 2. Language is flexible and creative! Creativity is not for geniuses only; all kids can be creative if they are given enough opportunities. Parents usually think that creativity refers to the abilities to create artworks or pictures. And creativity in language simply means giving good speeches or writing good essays. This is not true. Imagination or creative thinking is enhanced through drawing and creating words. It is not necessary to wait until kids acquire a certain level of language or literacy to encourage them to be creative. This can be initiated in a fun way much earlier with our Bumper Cards™ game!
It is understandable that some of you may not feel comfortable with encouraging children to create novel words or vocabulary concepts if you don’t have the background knowledge in literacy learning. Don’t worry! Creating novel words is absolutely a manifestation of creativity! You should be proud of that. Moreover, many influential studies in Chinese (e.g., McBride-Chang, Shu, Zhou, Wat, & Wagner, 2003; Shu, McBride-Chang, Wu, & Liu, 2006; Zhang, McBride-Chang, Tong, et al., 2012) and other languages (e.g., Kim, Guo, Liu, Peng, & Yang, 2019; Zhang, Lin, Wei, & Anderson, 2014) consistently demonstrate that children who have greater abilities to create novel words perform better in word reading, vocabulary knowledge, and reading comprehension. So, start embracing creativity using Bumper Cards™ with your kids today!
Kim, Y. G., Guo, Q., Liu, Y., Peng, Y., & Yang, L. (2019). Multiple Pathways by Which Compounding Morphological Awareness Is Related to Reading Comprehension: Evidence From Chinese Second Graders. Reading Research Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.262
McBride-Chang, C., Shu, H., Zhou, A., Wat, C. P., & Wagner, R. K. (2003). Morphological Awareness Uniquely Predicts Young Children’s Chinese Character Recognition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 743–751. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06220.127.116.113
Shu, H., McBride-Chang, C., Wu, S., & Liu, H. (2006). Understanding Chinese developmental dyslexia: Morphological awareness as a core cognitive construct. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 122–133.
Zhang, J., Lin, T.-J., Wei, J., & Anderson, R. C. (2014). Morphological Awareness and Learning to Read Chinese and English (pp. 3–22). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7380-6_1
Zhang, Juan, McBride-Chang, C., Tong, X., Wong, A. M. Y., Shu, H., & Fong, C. Y. C. (2012). Reading with meaning: The contributions of meaning-related variables at the word and subword levels to early Chinese reading comprehension. Reading and Writing, 25(9), 2183–2203.