“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” By William Pollard
It is a simple question you need to ask yourself as an educator; are you helping to inspire your creativity or are you stifling them? Are you allowing the students voice and choice or are you (the teacher) always needing to be in control? Are you asking the right questions through exploration or are you demanding right answers? See what happens when third grade students think there is a correct answer:
Interesting isn’t it! If we give our students a safe learning environment with a foundation but allow there to be no ceiling, they have room to be creative and still master standards. If you have not seen Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? It is a must watch.
How can you foster more creativity in the classroom? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Allow student voice and choice on assignments
2. Model creativity.
3. Incorporate Genius Hour into the schedule
4. Help students believe in themselves to be creative (sometimes we stifle this by setting limits without meaning too – such as rubrics)
5. Think about how you ask the question and what your expectation is for the students to answer
6. Encourage Design Thinking (Here is a previous blog post on this)
7. Assess in different ways. Allow students to show mastery through an iMovie or Skit, it doesn’t always have to be paper/pencil.
8. Allow for mistakes and a safe learning environment
9. Not everything needs a grade. Create some assignments to help students master a skill but don’t grade them, use them for feedback and improvement which fosters creativity.
10. Get out of the students way
Further reading on creativity:
Why Creativity Now?
Fundamentals of Creativity
Sparking Student Creativity: A Practical Ways to Promote Innovation Thinking and Problem Solving