When you think of creativity, you may think of excelling in the arts. While this is certainly an aspect of creativity, there is much more to it. Being creative is about finding innovative ways to solve problems, generating new ideas and finding ways to make things better to name a few. Research has shown that enhancing student creativity may offer benefits academically, developmentally and emotionally. The traditional education model has been criticized as hampering this type of thought. However, these characteristics will serve students well from their formative years all the way through completing a digital arts program. If you are a teacher, there are lots of activities you can do and strategies you can adopt to get the creative juices flowing.
Word games are a great way to encourage creative thinking because it allows children to make connections and establish relationships between different words. For example, you could provide a list of words all linked by another and have the children figure out the base word. If the word was ‘’bag’’, the accompanying list could be ‘’sleeping, shopping, trash and vacuum.’’ Another good game is ‘’Connect”, where students name a word associated with the word given by the previous student.
Visual Thinking Games
Games that employ the use of visual thinking are great because they encourage visualization and the use of imagination—two important aspects of thinking creatively. Show the children an abstract image and ask them to tell you what they see, what the image looks like to them. Have them look at it from all different angles and perspectives. No judgments on answers—you do not want to do anything that will hamper their thinking process.
Certain types of drawing games can help students build on existing concepts, knowledge and ideas, another key aspect of creativity. For example, you could hand out sheets of paper with a squiggly line drawn on it and students—either on their own or in pairs—could use this as a starting point to make their own drawing. Afterwards, they can guess what other students drew and discuss how they came up with their own picture.
Another great drawing game involves giving children pieces of paper with circles drawn on them; the circles serve as a base to create a drawing. The children can do this in groups, pairs or as individuals. Ask the children to select a set number of their drawings and build a story around the images. Afterwards, everyone can share their stories.
Teaching Tips to Enhance Creativity
Besides utilizing specific games, you can enhance creativity through the way you teach and interact with your students. Whenever possible, let students pick their own topics for presentations, projects and writing assignments; this will jumpstart creative thinking.
Asking certain types of questions during lessons is also a great way to get their imaginations churning. Depending on the subject matter at hand, you can ask students questions regarding different ways to accomplish a particular task, how something might be improved, other uses for a particular object, different ways of accomplishing a particular task, what might happen if a certain element of the situation was changed, etc…
Encourage group collaboration as much as possible; this is an important skill that will serve them well later in life. Working with others and being exposed to their creative process can also help in building a student’s own creativity. These are just a few of them any ways you as a teacher can foster creativity in students.
Encouraging creativity in students will not only serve them well while they are in school, it will help them develop skills that will serve them well as adults. Creativity is not just about being good at drawing or some other creative art form. As a teacher, you have an opportunity to help students develop something that will enhance all aspects of their life.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in education topics among others. Visit GetaRealDegree.net for a comprehensive listing of traditional and online programs for a masters degree in education or any other discipline.
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