Sign Language Opens the Mind

Friday, 13 August 2010   |   Creativity Challenges

Your creativity challenge for this week is to invent a sign language.  Create a set of 20 words or concepts that you think are the most crucial for a language and assign a gesture to each of them.  Grab a friend and teach them the 20 gestures.  Now try and have a conversation using only your sign language.  Whenever you need to use a new word you need to make it up and work out how to communicate the new gesture.


This game is going to challenge your creativity on several levels.  The first is working out what 20 words are going to be the most useful to you.  This is analytical creativity.  The next is working out the gestures to go with them.  Here you are being creative but you can take your time and think about things.  In teaching it to your friend you also get a chance to reflect on your decisions.  Have you had any new ideas in teaching it to your friend?  Next you are having a discussion and having to make up new gestures on the fly as well as work out how to communicate their meaning.  This has to be done quickly. 

Did you notice that your strategies changed in each part of the challenge?  Were some of them better than others?  Did you find creativity flowed better when it had to be spontaneous?  Have you noticed anything about our language that you previously took for granted?  Would you pick a different base set of 20 words to start from if you had to do it again?

Make sure you spend some time after the activity discussing and reflecting on how you went.


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