8 ways to build creativity in your students

8 Ways to Build Creativity In Your Students

In a time where testing becomes more ubiquitous than ever, and creativity and innovation – though theoretically highly valued in the ‘real world’ – are left behind in our classrooms, it’s time for teachers to look at ways to promote creativity in their students. There are tons of lists out there about what ‘creative people’ do and how you can be more like them, but integrating daily rituals into an already jam-packed classroom schedule probably doesn’t sound very doable to most teachers.

That’s why we like the handy infographic below: While it does ostensibly give you some habits (like meditation) that may help both you and your students in the long run, if you extrapolate on some of the suggestions you’ll find yourself with some incredible guidelines for how you teach and encourage students in your classroom, all of which will push them a little further down the creative pathway.

Building Creativity in the Classroom

Meditate: Encourage Quiet Time

What, you can’t see your classroom full of meditating students? You can’t quiet your own mind, nevermind figure out how to guide a classroom full of students to do so? Fear not, you don’t need to. Ensuring that your students have at least a small amount of quiet time in the classroom can help them focus. This could be as simple as having a quiet ‘entrance’ to your classroom each period, rather than letting the students chatter and whatnot, then having to wrangle them into silence for a lesson.

Be a Sponge: Exposure to New and Different Things

Too often we find ourselves in a rut. Our students can end up that way too. Work to consistently expose them to new ideas, foods, places, music, concepts, and more. Help them see value in the differences that they see. If they can learn to be open minded and seek out new things, inspiration will come in places they (and you!) never expected.

Trust Yourself: Encourage Self Esteem

This may seem like a no-brainer; Of course you want your students to have good self esteem! How to encourage this? Ensure a solid mix of solo and group work. Offer opportunities to work solo and then bring the product to a larger group. Constant group work may teach students they need to rely on one another, while solo work that is then an integral piece of what a larger group is doing helps the student see their value. Students that see their value in a group environment are less likely to give up.

Model The Greats: Look for Successful Patterns

Teaching your students that going with the herd isn’t always the best way can be a nearly insurmountable task, especially because students tend to want to be accepted by one another. Tell them stories of successful people, and demonstrate some of their attributed. Have your students learn to ask “What are smart people doing, how are they doing it, and what can I learn from that”?

Pay Attention: No Really, Pay Attention

Not just in class, but quite generally – paying attention, being present and patient can help you (and your students) more fully understand the problem or process at hand. Working to understand the concept rather than simply looking for an answer can help your students think things through more thoroughly and have a better understanding of the topic and task at hand.

Say, “Yes, and…?”: Think Forward

Even if your instinct is to shut something down right away because you “know” it is wrong, learn to say “Yes, and…?”. This opens the door for further explanation (and potentially a greater understanding of WHY something may actually be wrong). It can help teach students to keep thinking forward, creatively,  and be open minded to what may be said or done next.

Push Back: Don’t Argue

Teaching your students to push back and ask for further information and elaboration is an important task. Ask students to question their assumptions, find new pathways of thinking, and new and different solutions. Ask open ended questions. Make sure to create an environment that praises risky or different thinking so that students know that they’re safe to bring up a potentially wild idea and they won’t be criticized. An expectation of criticism will surely stifle their creative thinking.

Get Moving: Don’t Be Lazy

Studies show increased productivity in workers who move about and do something as simple as going for a walk regularly throughout the day. Get your students moving too – even if it is just group work within the classroom where they’re required to move around and do things.


Featured image via Flickr

Written by Katie Dunn

Explorer, eternal learner, animal lover. Perpetually drawn to the ocean. Adventure ready. Suffers from wanderlust. Likes chasing things down the sink with the little sprayer thingy.

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