Careers & Education

What is creativity in education?

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Here are ideas to understand what is creativity in education and what sparks it

We all long for them...someone to guide us on our journey of learning. Who hasn't watched Dead Poet's Society and longed for a Mr. Keating to help guide them in their education? 

We need teachers and mentors who understand that creativity in education is the key to sparking a life-long love of learning. We want teachers who think outside the box and help us to see things in a new way. 

But what makes an educator pass from mediocre to inspiring? This article explores what constitutes creativity in education.

Inquisitive Instruction

Creative instructors understand that inquisitive minds are eager minds. Questions are a good way to encourage understanding. Socrates understood this; his method of education, the Socratic Method, involves the asking and answering of questions in order to stimulate thought and debate. Unlike rote methods of education which utilize repetition and memorization to ingrain information, the Socratic Method encourages students to ask questions, apply the answers they receive, and to absorb the theory and not just the result. 

Outside the Box

Creative instructors also realize that education does not merely take place in the classroom. In fact, stepping outside the box (and outside the classroom) can actually help some students learn better. Science does not have to be limited to a lab; students can conduct experiments in an outdoor classroom and interact with the world they are studying. Music classes are another class that can benefit from outdoor instruction as music merges with nature. Physical education is another class that is a natural fit for an outdoor classroom. Forget running laps, though, consider parkour.

Show Your Style

Creative educators embrace the fact that not everyone learns the same way. Some students are visual learners, while others learn better by listening to lectures. Hand-on demonstrations helps others to learn, while some prefer lessons that draw on the mind-body connection. By preparing lessons that draw on as many of these learning styles as possible, teachers can find creative ways to help reach their students.

Keep it Moving

A wise individual once said, "Lecturers should remember that the capacity of the mind to absorb is limited to whatever the seat can endure." Educators should heed this warning and find ways to implement micro-breaks in their classroom which encourage movement and action. 

While studying Ireland, include a short lesson on traditional dance. During your unit on geometry, have students stretch rubber bands into the various shapes. Find ways to keep students moving and keep them thinking.

Shut Up and Listen

Perhaps the simplest way to structure a creative educational environment is to allow adequate time for students to discuss the lesson, to ask questions, and to provide them with a thoughtful answer. 

Too often, the questions are rushed through and the answers given are dismissive. If a student does not feel comfortable asking for answers or asking for clarification they will stop asking. When a student stops asking questions, he stops learning. 

There is nothing creative about a classroom where an instructor presents the lesson plan and hurries off to make the next point before the bell rings.

Foster Their Creativity

Creativity breeds creativity. By fostering your students' creativity, you are also fostering your own creative process. Whether you encourage your students to keep a Writer's Journal, have them rework popular songs to describe a historic event, or utilize creative dance to illustrate a concept in physics...make the lesson creative and memorable.  

As Albert Einstein said, "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge" and, by crafting a nurturing place for creative education to take place, the teacher is mastering that supreme art.


Learning Styles: Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligences 

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