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6 Novel ways in which educators can teach creativity

Innovation helps us solve present and future challenges. There seems to be a general agreement that there are many benefits of creativity in the classroom such as promoting a problem-solving mindset, improving focus and giving students a sense of purpose. At the same time, we ask students to be more creative but don’t do so in our lessons or assessment methods.

So what can teachers do in this context? How are you to be supportive of students’ creative endeavors while making sure that they’re learning what they’re supposed to? Here are some ideas that can help teachers nurture creativity in their classrooms:

  1. Challenging the belief that being creative is not for them

    A belief that being creative is reserved for a few select people is not OK. Children are naturally curious and original in their own way, but might not think of themselves as “creative”. Instead, teachers should reinforce the idea that everyone has the potential to improve their creative abilities.

  2. Distinguishing between creative teaching and teaching for creativity

    Most teachers love to be creative and design great activities for students. However, teaching for creativity is encouraging students to be creative themselves, not just “consume” activities created by the teacher. It means involving them even more in lessons and letting them lead from time to time.

  3. Nurture intrinsic motivation first

    The research is clear: creativity is linked to intrinsic motivation. In other words, you can’t have one without the other, although it’s not so clear cut whether rewards for creativity are good or bad. To achieve this, teachers can stop grading some assignments that require a higher level of creativity and can give them feedback for improvement.

  4. Have a supportive attitude

    Sure, the obstacles could seem minor for teachers, but for students not succeeding at a more creative task can be very frustrating. It’s all about making them understand that failure is a part of the process. Supportive teachers are willing to listen to their students and trust that each of them can achieve their potential.

  5. Openness towards unexpected answers

    Instead of dismissing unexpected ideas as disruptive, try to build on their answers by asking more questions such as “why do you think that?” and “what we can learn from this?” It also shows that their opinions are valued and that they should ask questions more often.

  6. Know that perfection’s not the answer

    Perfection is the enemy of creativity since we can’t grow and get our hands dirty (sometimes quite literally) if we strive for perfection. Sometimes teachers might confuse perfection with having high standards for students, which in reality is a whole different thing. Students that fear judgment will never be comfortable sharing their creative work.

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