Creativity is one of the most fundamental and in-demand 21st-century skills students need to thrive. Given this reason, educators worldwide focus their learning targets around teaching strategies that boost students’ creativity. Educationists believe that every child has a creative side, and the teacher has to assist them in exploring their creativity and sparking their imagination. The teacher plays a vital role in encouraging them to think of new and unconventional ways to solve problems.
Creativity is the ability to view ideas, concepts, and theories differently and explore new opportunities. Moreover, creativity represents using imagination to solve complex problems and generate original ideas. According to World Economic Forum, creativity is the third most crucial work-related skill. For this reason, educators greatly emphasize nurturing students’ creative skills and designing classroom activities that encourage creative thinking skills among learners.
Let’s explore some ways through which schools can develop students’ creativity.
Overlook Classroom Instruction
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Foster a Positive Classroom Environment
Today, the classroom environment plays a significant role in developing students’ creative thinking and problem-solving skills. The educators’ responsibility is to cultivate a classroom environment that instills creativity and innovation skills in learners. Given this, the classroom layout, theme, and the material posted on the bulletin boards all play a significant role in helping learners think creatively. Experimenting with various physical classroom setups like U-shape, T-shape, and sitting in a circle allows learners to collaborate, and this in return encourages creativity. In addition, following interesting class themes that captivate the learners’ attention engage them in thinking creatively.
Teachers also use visual aids to keep the learners’ creative juices flowing. Visual aids break away from the monotony of learning from books and stimulate and sustain creative thinking skills. Moreover, they help retain content and connect prior knowledge with new knowledge. Likewise, engage learners in sharing ideas for planning and designing classroom displays and encourage them to think deeply.
Offer Students Autonomy
Studies suggest that autonomous learning boosts creativity. When learners are provided with the freedom to choose, it leads to intrinsic motivation. Consequently, when learners are intrinsically motivated, their academic achievement improves. Offering learners the voice and choice substantially motivates them to continue learning, stimulating their creativity. What’s more, students feel a heightened sense of belonging when they are put in charge of their learning. More importantly, they do not hesitate in experimenting and are not afraid to make mistakes. They feel more confident in thinking and voicing their opinions.
Learners feel empowered when they are in charge of their learning. So, teachers should design activities that require learners to think creatively and carry out activities based on their choices to help them gauge and reflect on their progress. As a result, when students become active participants in their learning, their ability to think creatively increases.
Provide Meaningful Feedback
Feedback and creativity are interrelated. Giving timely and meaningful feedback is vital in encouraging students’ creativity. Teachers can enable their students to continue to improve their performance by providing feedback regularly on their performance. Constructive feedback and evaluation elements are considered essential components for enhancing performance, serving as clues or reinforcement for the learners.
Feedback enables students to apply their imagination to generate better ideas, experiment with alternatives, and evaluate their ideas, leading to improved creative thinking skills. Therefore, giving timely feedback helps learners realize their creativity and find ways to incorporate creative skills into their learning.
Encourage Inquisitive Learning
Questioning is a fundamentally essential teaching and learning approach in all areas of learning. A thought-provoking question can compel students to optimize their mental cognition. When teachers foster a classroom culture where learners are encouraged and trained to ask questions, their classroom engagement increases, boosting their creativity. Learners feel confident in questioning without the fear of getting snubbed. However, teachers must devise strategies that generate thought-provoking questions that lead to more probing questions and encourage learners to go further in their thought processes.
Teachers should develop questions that stimulate complex mental processing responses to encourage creativity. Moreover, teaching learners to formulate their questions is also a stimulating activity. Learners reveal their current thinking when they create questions all by themselves. Therefore, encouraging learners to become inquisitive develops their curiosity, stimulates their thinking, and assists them in seeing things from different perspectives. In addition, learners explore ideas and use their imagination to generate possibilities when developing their questioning skills.
Incorporate Teaching Strategies That Support Creativity
Finally, designing and implementing creativity-enhancing strategies play a significant role in boosting students’ creativity. Creativity-boosting activities allow learners to find multiple ways of solving a problem, formulate and respond to questions, and suggest possible solutions for real-world issues. Open-ended tasks having many possible outcomes encourage creativity. Furthermore, problem-solving and inquiry are fundamental techniques to develop creativity.
Project-based and inquiry-based learning approaches involve learners using reflective, creative, and critical thinking skills to collaborate with others. These approaches allow learners to explore, experiment, and think through the problem and use their creative thinking skills to look for possible solutions. Creative thinking routines like Visible-Thinking are also helpful in encouraging learners to be creative in their classroom.
In short, educators play a defining role in boosting students’ creativity by creating a school culture that welcomes and celebrates students’ creative thinking skills. Educators can enhance creativity by valuing and celebrating learners’ creative and innovative contributions in school. They can guide learners to recognize misconceptions and manage their learning by involving them in their learning process. Moreover, educators can encourage creativity by asking thoughtful questions, understanding different perspectives, and analyzing problems to find possible solutions.