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Creativity in the Classroom: Unlocking Potential in Students and Educators

Updated: Mar 25

“To be creative you actually have to do something.”

-Sir Ken Robinson-




Creativity in the classroom

Educators face reservations and practical challenges when considering the shift towards a creativity in the classroom. This is primarily due to potential resistance from stakeholders, concerns about time constraints, standardised testing goals, and resource limitations.


However, abandoning creativity is not a solution, as emphasised by Sir Ken Robinson. Overcoming these challenges requires a strategic approach involving adequate resources, targeted professional development, and effective communication to foster a supportive school culture.


Misconceptions about Creativity

Addressing misconceptions is crucial. It's essential to clarify that creative thinking extends beyond creating artistic products. Equally, creativity is not an innate talent. It can be nurtured and taught through exercise and practice. Students demonstrate creativity by generating unique ideas, regardless of whether the ideas have existed before. Individual creativity needs to be distinguished from general creativity.


The Use of Creative Arts in Learning

Creativity is not limited to aesthetics; the Reggio Emilia schools showcase the importance of various expressive languages, such as drawing, painting, movement, and music. This comprehensive approach engages different parts of the brain and inspires greater student involvement. For instance, drawing during maths or movement during physics offers diverse perspectives.





Content and Creativity

Contrary to the notion of discarding content, creativity involves connecting ideas in unique ways. World-renowned thinker, Edward de Bono, stresses the importance of knowledge and ideas as a foundation for creativity. Students must engage with a variety and depth of content to enhance creative thinking.


Creating a Safe Environment

Establishing a safe space is imperative for creative thinking. A culture where students feel free to express ideas without fear of judgment provides a supportive atmosphere. Building upon each other's contributions enhances creativity in the classroom. It is also important to celebrate student successes.





Activities to Encourage Creative Thinking

Practical exercises like challenging students to 'repurpose' objects and 'merge' unrelated items or animals promote imaginative thinking. For example, prompting students to explore alternative uses for everyday items like a soft drink bottle, encourages diverse ideas, while merging unrelated objects inspires boundary-breaking creativity. Students love working together and group work can be a game changer. One way to improve group work is to combine classes. That way two to three adults can work together to oversee groups engaged in problem solving and the creation of products.





The Link Between Creativity and Innovation

Drawing on David Epstein's insights from "Range," educators can showcase how innovation stems from drawing on diverse disciplines. Integrating various modes of learning, such as drawing during maths or movement during physics, encourages students to explore varied perspectives.





The Curriculum as a Question, not a Summation

Posing questions or problems instead of merely presenting information enhances active thinking, especially when students collaborate. Incorporating movement, materials, conversation, experimentation, and design into learning increases engagement.


Benefits of Creative Thinking in Education

Engaging in activities that stimulate creative thinking enhances student enjoyment and active participation, contributing to improved behaviour within the classroom. A positive learning environment, fuelled by creative thinking, fosters a harmonious educational experience.


By integrating engaging activities and providing a safe environment, educators initiate a ripple effect, enhancing both learning outcomes and classroom behaviour. The journey towards a creative curriculum promises transformative rewards, including enhanced student engagement, a vibrant classroom atmosphere, and the celebration of diversity in learning styles. Embarking on this captivating journey turns the classroom into a canvas for inspiration and innovation. Embarking on the journey towards a creative curriculum promises transformative rewards, including enhanced student engagement, a vibrant classroom atmosphere, and the celebration of diversity in learning styles.


Benefits for Educators

A creative curriculum does not only benefit students; educators can reap substantial professional rewards by implementing such a program. Engaging in ongoing professional development opportunities focused on creative teaching methods can enhance educators' pedagogical skills and broaden their teaching repertoire. Teachers can establish themselves as innovative leaders when they design a collaborative learning environment. Implementing and documenting a creative curriculum opens doors for educators to share their experiences through workshops, conferences, or publications, further elevating their professional profiles. Embracing creativity provides educators with a fulfilling and dynamic professional trajectory, marked by continuous growth, recognition, and a positive impact on both students and peers.


Lili-Ann Kriegler (B. A Hons, H. Dip. Ed, M.Ed.) is an education consultant and award-winning author of Edu-Chameleon for teachers, and Roots and Wings for parents. Lili-Ann’s primary specialisations are in early childhood education (birth-9 years), leadership and optimising human thinking and cognition.  She runs her consultancy, Kriegler-Education. LFind out more at https://kriegler-education.com 




 

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