Developing Creativity in Classroom
There is time in the classroom when students are expected to conform to certain norms and time when they should show their creative side. More often the classroom environment is full of logics, analytics, and rigidity, and creativity is pushed aside as something frivolous and playful. As we learn more about the human mind however, we realize that creativity is just as important as analytics when it comes to child's development. The two actually balance each other out and the result is a well-grown and developed adult. Teachers that encourage creativity in the classroom know how to motivate students to be more creative outside of the classroom in real life. As artist and educator Stacey Goodman explains,
“Studies suggest that, as children, our divergence capability operates at a genius level, but that our ability to think divergently decreases dramatically as we become adults. Perhaps this is as it should be to a certain degree, and as teachers and adults we would be concerned if our middle and high school extended imaginative play into everyday life as would a four-year-old. Yet, many teachers at some point in their teaching career become frustrated by their students’ inability to think creatively, and others – as best exemplified by Sir Ken Robinson’s famous Ted Talk1, blame schooling itself for killing the imagination.”
We soon learn that to encourage out-of-the-box thinking that will pave the pathway for our society’s future, we need to give our students back the creativity that they have lost. Here are some useful tips to help you to encourage creative thinking in your class.
Put the Learning Process in the Hands of the Students
In view of the limited amount of time teachers have with their students and the massive amounts of material they need to cover, teachers usually present students with a preapproved list of questions and answers. This practice gives the student the impression that the answers to those questions are all they need to know about a subject. A more creative approach would be to have the students analyze a problem from real life and then assist them to find the solutions on their own. A trait of a great teacher is the ability to allow students the freedom to discover and solve problems on their own. Finding the answers to questions like how would you feed the hungry, or how to recover from the last disaster opens up their minds and allows them to navigate through real life in the future.
Incorporate the Arts Into Your Lessons
It’s okay to use music in your classroom setting. It creates an atmosphere that supports free-thinking. Don’t you bond closer with people that share the same interest in music with you? Part of the reason for this is because you relate emotionally to the music you are familiar with. Few people listen to music, read literature, or share in artistic values of cultures and environments that are not their own. Opening doors to these variations will foster more acceptance between cultures and slowly diminish the lines drawn between different ethnic groups. Incorporating creative arts in your classroom can open unknown doors for students in the future.
Let the Student Speak First
Rather than launching right into a classroom lesson, present a visual representation of the next phase of the lesson. Allow the student time to observe, analyze and then ask questions. This develops a sense of anticipation, reflection, and it prepares their minds for the lesson to come.
Failure is Not an Option
The problem that often shuts down the student’s desire to try new things is not the fear of failing. What really closes a student’s mind to creativity is not the fact that they were unsuccessful but it is our reaction to it. When you can show them that failing is not something to be ashamed of or a negative mark of who they are, they will be more willing to try new things in the days, months, and years to come. Teaching them how to analyze where they went wrong and how to find ways to correct the problem builds up the creative mind; a wrong answer is not the end of the problem, it is only one step. This continues until the problem is solved.
By introducing creativity in the classroom, you are preparing your students for a promising future. A class full of analytics, rules, and limitations is pigeonholing them into categories that they may not be well suited for. Once you’ve released their creative minds, you’re releasing them into a future of endless possibilities.