Three Things Teachers Can Do to Grow Student Creativity

creative happy childrenCreativity should be a core component of classrooms.  There exists a rich body of literature that demonstrates creativity is an important link to learning and student engagement.  In the article Creativity on the Brink? Author Alane Starko discusses these links and identifies three things teachers can do to grow student creativity within their classrooms:

  1. Develop a Creativity-friendly Classroom.  Think about the physical environment and the emotional climate of the room.  Think about daily practices and procedures.  Think about problem solving.  Are all of these leading toward flexibility?  Flexible environments encourage creativity and help students develop ownership.  As they develop ownership, they find more joy in their work, and ultimately they become more intrinsically motivated. 
  2. Teach the Skills and Attitudes of Creativity.  Teach brainstorming, SCAMPER, and other creative thinking methods.  Examine the lives of creative people and pay particular interest to the challenges that were overcome.  Help students see that there will be obstacles in their own lives and encourage them to persist and seek solutions.
  3. Teach the Creative Methods of the Disciplines.  Each content area has its own unique challenges, and teachers should expose students to a variety of methods for addressing challenges within the content areas.  Teach students about the application of convergent thinking (How-How Diagram, Evaluation Matrix, Pair and Share) or divergent thinking (5 W’s and an H, Reverse Assumptions) within content areas.  Teach students to ask a variety of questions and examine items from a variety of perspectives.  They will benefit greatly.   

These three elements working in combination can produce tremendous learning gains.  As you prepare for next week, think about how you can apply these three things to your classroom practices.  You and your students will be glad you did!


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