Today’s blog is a guest post from Daniela McVicker who is a freelance writer. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in Psychological Science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.
People tend to believe that creativity is something you are born with. Either you have an artist within you or you don’t. But that’s actually not the case. There are ways in which you can bring out creative thinking even in people who seem not to have that ability.
As a teacher, you have the power to help your students by motivating them to think in a creative way. Simple efforts and ideas can make a world of difference in how your students feel and think. If you want to help them improve, try out the following tips on how to enhance their creative thinking.
1. Decorate classroom space for creativity
The way your workspace or in this case the classroom looks and feels can make a huge difference in how your students think. Blank walls and depressive colors will automatically kill all the creativity.
Brighten up the classroom by adding some colorful posters, creating a vision board, adding a few plants, or anything else that will bring out the positive energy. You can team up with your students and decorate the classroom together. In this way, it will be even more special and personal.
2. Keep your classroom layout flexible
A basic classroom layout can separate students in terms of cooperation, especially when it comes to group work. If there is a possibility to include different seating arrangements so that students can face each other, feel free to make that happen.
It can also be great if the students would switch up and sit with a different person from time to time. By talking to different people, they will have an opportunity to hear various opinions which can inspire them.
3. Use divergent thinking
In most classrooms, students only use convergent thinking. Convergent thinking is answering questions without using any creative thinking. That is why you should also emphasize the importance of divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking allows them to explore various possibilities, connect different ideas, and come to new conclusions. It enables them to use creativity in order to come up with an answer.
4. Encourage curiosity
Always allow and encourage students to ask questions. If you limit their thinking to textbooks and content which is imposed by the educational system, there won’t have any room to express their curiosity.
For example, you can give them homework to write five questions which really interest them but which are appropriate, of course. Then you can discuss what you think the answer is and lastly find the answers together.
5. Talk about their hopes and dreams
One of the ways to enhance creative thinking is to encourage your students to dream. Having a goal and a motivation in life is crucial for many things and creative thinking is one of them.
Maybe they don’t have anyone with whom they can talk to so expressing this in a video can feel liberating. You can agree to film a video diary where they say what they want to achieve without holding back and you can mail that video to them in a few years.
6. Listen to stimulating music
Music can make a world of difference. The important part is that you play happy and relaxing music which won’t distract them. According to some study, people who listened to happy music scored higher on the tests for divergent thinking.
Try to play music which doesn’t have any words because the words can distract them from what they are doing. They can also make a suggestion about what type of music they want to listen to.
7. Include creative activities
Think outside the box and include some creative activities on a regular basis. You can even ask your students to make a suggestion which will make their creative juices flow. For example, you can do an exercise in which they have to create a story by following up on what a previous student said.
In case you need some help with coming up with fun activities you can even find a professional writer who is an expert in creative thinking. Use online services such as TopWritersReview to find exactly what you are looking for.
8. Let them write about anything
Enhance their creativity by allowing them to express their thoughts. Limiting their writing on specific topics can shut down their creative energy.
Instead of giving them the same basic homework, you can let them write a short essay, around 500 words, on any topic they feel passionate about. Or give them creative writing topics with a time limit based on an image or statement.
9. Support journaling
Here is another amazing writing activity which will inspire their creative thinking. Encourage them to start journaling by writing 1-3 pages about anything that comes to their mind.
This can be the first thing they do when the class starts. It will only take a few minutes but it will allow them to let out all the troubling thoughts and make room for creative thinking.
10. Encourage them to read different content
Help your students to expand their opinions by consuming content that’s outside their comfort zone. Assign them to read books that are not their usual choice of genre or read blogs about topics which they normally wouldn’t inquire about.
Later on, you can discuss their thoughts about what they read and how that expanded their vision. In order to grow creatively, they need to explore topics which are beyond their usual interests.
Teachers can sometimes be hard on students. That is why it is important to grasp that being a student is a very confusing time and they need help to reach their true potential.
These ten different ways can be your tools which will bring the best out of your students. It is much easier to enhance their creative thinking when they have someone who believes in them and supports them through the process.