10 Things Teachers Promote to Cultivate Creativity

Some teachers do not view themselves as creative.  As such, they may have difficulty understanding how they can help their students develop creativity.  If you are such a teacher, do not fear or fret.  You, too, can do things in your classroom to help students grow their own creativity.  

Author A.J. Cropley shares the following ten things that teachers can promote in their classroom to facilitate the development of creativity in the article Fostering Creativity in the Classroom: General Principles (appearing as a chapter in the book The Creativity Research Handbook, Vol. 1):

  1. General Knowledge – Students need to have a broad, general knowledge base to draw upon.  Teachers can facilitate general knowledge by discussing a variety of topics from day-to-day.
  2. Specific Knowledge – Students need to take a deeper dive into some content areas of interest in order to maximize creativity.  Teachers can facilitate specific knowledge by learning student interests and allowing some space in the curriculum for students to explore those interests.  
  3. Imagination – Students need opportunities to let their active imaginations run free.  Teachers can facilitate imagination by asking open-ended “what if” questions and having students generate similar questions.  
  4. Problem Recognition, Discovery, or Invention – Students need experiences in framing the problems that require creative solutions.  Teachers can facilitate problem recognition, discovery, or invention by modeling these when teaching. 
  5. Convergent Thinking – Students need opportunities to bring all the pieces together into a single, correct resolution.  Teachers can facilitate convergent thinking by sharing information and asking students to find a single solution.
  6. Divergent Thinking – Students need opportunities to use materials in new ways and to articulate a number of possible solutions. Teachers can facilitate divergent thinking by sharing a prompt and asking students how many different ways they can get to the prompt. 
  7. A Variety of Problems and Solutions – Students need exposure to a variety of problem types and solution possibilities.  Teachers can bring in a variety of problems from real-world issues and can share all the different ways those problems were solved. 
  8. Accommodation of New Knowledge – Students need to reorder what they already know when encountering new information.  Teachers can facilitate knowledge accommodation by introducing large concepts and adding more specifics along the way. 
  9. Self-Evaluation – Students need the ability to assess their own work as it relates to their overall learning goals.  Teachers can facilitate self-evaluation by having students generate rubrics related to their projects and by having student-lead evaluation conferences related to projects. 
  10. Communication – Students need the opportunity to share their results with others and respond to questions that may arise. Teachers can facilitate communication by developing projects that require presentations or by creating classroom TED-style talks.  

As you prepare for next week, think about how you can incorporate one (or more) of these ideas into your classes.  Your students will be glad you did!

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