Creativity has been said to be a natural ability, a personality trait, something that you must be born with. So when it comes to classroom activities that promote creativity, many teachers feel that it is something that cannot be taught. However, some people believe that creativity is a skill that can be learned. There are a few strategies and classroom activities that you can do as a teacher to promote and encourage creativity in your classroom.
1. Design Classroom Space for Creativity
One the easiest ways to promote creativity in your classroom is to design an actual designated space for exploration and creative thinking. A great example of this comes from a fifth grade teacher in upstate New York. She carved out a corner spot in her classroom and called it the “think tank.” This is a place that her students can go to think, explore, and discuss ideas with their classmates.
2. Encourage Curiosity
Find out what your students’ interests are and what really motivates them. When you find out what drives a child, encourage them to look deeper into it. For example, if you find that a student is really into space, then encourage them to read books about space, take a virtual online tour of a spacecraft, or to be innovative and come up what they think a future spacecraft will look like. Take the time to encourage your students, and you will see their creative mind expand.
3. Use Divergent Thinking
Our students tend to use convergent thinking, which means they answer basic questions that do not require any creativity. Divergent thinking is the exact opposite. This way of thinking requires children to be creative. Have children do a lot of brainstorming, encourage students to think differently and explore different perspectives, and help students make connections to their ideas. Try and design lessons that utilize both convergent and divergent thinking.
4. Familiarize Yourself with the Standards
Part of a teacher’s job is to be familiar with the educational standards of their school. However, many educators feel that the standards don’t allow room for any creativity. By knowing the standards, you can find ways to approach a lesson or an activity. You can look at each standard and think, “How can I make this lesson so that it will promote creativity?” Once you know these standards like the back of your hand, it will be easier for you to incorporate creativity into your lessons.
5. Watch a TED Talk from a Renowned Expert in the Field
Consider having students watch a TED talk from a renowned expert in creativity. This can help enlighten students on the power of being creative. Try watching Tim Brown’s “Tales of Creativity and Play” and David Kelley’s “How to Build Your Creative Confidence.” If your students are too young to watch these TED talks, you can watch them to gain insight and promote your own creativity in your classroom.
6. Use the Multiple Intelligences Theory
Tap into your students’ strengths by using the multiple intelligences theory. Find out what kind of learners they are. When students are able to use their strengths, they can tap into their creativity. Creativity requires us to use different parts of our brain, and when using the multiple intelligence theory, it can help foster our creativity.
7. Teach Creative Skills
By teaching creative skills such as how to use your imagination, how to collaborate with your peers, and how to be self-motivated, you are showing students how to use their creativity. All of these skills are a pathway to making good ideas happen.
8. Design Cross-Curricular Lessons
Try and design lessons that can cross over the curriculum. By creating multidisciplinary lessons, students are able to make connections better. Try combining art with history or music with math. Allow your lessons to intertwine, and you will see the wheels turning in your students’ brains.
9. Use a Creativity Model
In order to promote creativity, try using a creativity model. The Osborne-Parnes model helps guide the creativity process. You would guide students through the six strategies: mess-finding, fact-finding, problem-finding, idea-finding, solution-finding, and acceptance-finding. Each step of the way challenges students to use divergent thinking.
10. Recognize Creativity
Recognize creativity when you see it, and create your classroom environment to promote and recognize creativity. Fill your walls and bulletin boards to showcase different ways students can tap into their own creativity. Showcase your students’ creative work. By doing so, you are creating a space that recognizes and fosters creativity, which can be quite inspirational for your students.
These are just 10 of the many ways that you can foster creativity in your classroom. As long as you recognize, encourage, and create a separate space for imaginative and creative thinking, you will be promoting creativity in your classroom.