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World Book Day: creativity and teaching during COVID

Snake lady

On World Book Day (March 4) this year, Warwick’s student teachers will be in an online lesson of their own, using books and bookmaking to inspire ideas and creative methods of teaching, while they look forward to getting back into a real classroom later this spring.

The past twelve months have been challenging and topsy turvy for us all, but the continuation of education for children and young people has been one of the biggest hurdles. Parents have become teachers and teachers have delivered lessons virtually. But how about those teaching the teachers, and how are the trainees learning to be creative during their time in school and at University?

The University of Warwick’s Centre for Teacher Education trains over 500 newly qualified teachers every year, with over 90% of them going on to teach within the region. This year lockdown may have impacted some of students’ training, but tweaks to the normal programme mean they will now be joining newly re-opened schools later this spring.

Professor Des Hewitt from the Centre for Teacher Education explains: “Normally most of our course takes place in schools, so it has been important that we do everything we can to continue placements. Our students have been learning online at the University – and yes – this does present challenges but there are so many positives for them to take away and now, with the planned reopening of schools ahead of us, they are really looking forward to return to schools and put into practice what they have learned over the last few months.

“Warwick, like all Universities has been dynamic in its response to the pandemic, implementing online, interactive teaching, whilst also maintaining high quality placements in schools. The University and partner schools have worked together to make this happen.

“Our style is to concentrate on constructive engagement – so doing something creative and purposeful which absorbs our students as individuals and they can then transfer those skills into the classroom.”

Snake ladyThis year’s World Book Day presents exactly that opportunity for trainee teachers to use a creative hook to deliver learning across a range of subjects. This year Warwick CTE is delivering a training day full of ideas and teaching methodology but also creativity and fun, including a book making session led by PGCE student Alice Mallinson.

Alice explains: “I am an artist and I wanted to use art to help children access education and learning and that is why I enrolled on the PGCE. I’m thrilled to be asked to share what I do with the rest of the students and that they may be able to use the ideas in their future careers as teachers.”

Alice has made a simple folded book templates which can be illustrated and used in storytelling. She has also drawn templates of characters which can be printed off and used in the task.

Alice adds: “This task is not just for teachers to use in the classroom either – it can be done easily at home and I hope that it encourages families to share a creative moment and find joy in making a fun little story book together, using simple, inexpensive materials.”


Step 1

Take a sheet of A4 paper. Fold in half down the long length. Then fold the long rectangle in half to make a shorter rectangle, and then in half again. Unfold your piece of paper – you should have eight rectangles.

Step 2

Make the original fold again along the long length and then concertina fold along the shorter creases, until you have a zigzag effect folded book which reveals four facing ‘pages’.

Step 3Arrange your book so it is folded up and you can reveal each panel by flipping the top panel over away from your body. Begin drawing different parts on each leaf, head first. Make sure each body part joins up to the next. As you flip over a leaf you should reveal the neck and upper body, then the middle, then the legs and feet. Make up a story as you go about how your fantasy animal ended up with the face of a bull, a giraffe’s neck and chicken’s feet – or any combination you like! Be adventurous.

Step 4Colour in your artwork and start telling your story to your family!



March 1 2021


Professor Des HewittProfessor Des Hewitt is Head of Primary and Early Years Teacher Education at the University of Warwick, and has over 25 years teaching experience in schools and Universities.

Alice MallinsonAlice Mallinson is an artist and PGCE student at Warwick's Centre for Teacher Education.


Images credit: Alice Mallinson

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