It’s hard to speak about creativity due to the subjective interpretation and manifestation. What is creativity? How can one tell if a person is creative or not? Is it possible to nurture creativity in any individual regardless of their personality?
Innovation – the basis of the world’s development – is tightly connected with creativity, and helps encourage out of the box thinking. The more we care about each student’s individuality today, the more opportunities we provide them to improve our world tomorrow.
So how can we nurture creativity in every child, when they are working in a group? Here are five ways you can turn your classroom into a creative space for everyone.
1. Set the Atmosphere
A creative surrounding is key to setting a mood which helps your students feel inspired and at ease.
Here are some basic tips to inject inspiration into your classroom:
- Find posters online with inspirational and motivational quotes: Or, as a group project, you can ask your students to making encouraging posters themselves.
Source: Canva and JwickDesign
- Set a place for group chat and discussion: Designate a space where students can sit together and discuss their projects or ask for advice. It can be a table in a corner, or a carpet on the floor for sitting, or even a tent.
Source: Cult of Pedagogy
- Make a goal board: Simply use pins, pictures, cards, stickers, and notes to encourage your students to set up their goals and track their progress. You can also make a wish board – a place for all kinds of dreams and wishes.
Source: We Are Teachers
- Find the optimal classroom layout: Flexible learning environments are the best option for teachers who have many students in their classes, and must manage individual tasks, along with group tasks. By changing desk positions, you can set the right mood for the planned activity.
Encourage your students to use different colors while taking notes or doing homework – it will stimulate brain activity and will improve their ability to retain information.
2. Use Different Formats for Assignments
Assignments don’t have to be hard and boring! Let your students’ creativity burst into the learning tasks, allowing them to choose the format of their liking.
For example, let’s look at an anatomy class and its assignment on blood types. Rather than writing a long, typical essay, your students can gather information and:
- Create an infographic
- Create a video of an interview, animated clip, or short film
- Make a model of the circulatory system
- Deliver a presentation
Source: Stanford University
This is much more interesting than simply rewriting information from a book, right? Moreover, they will remember much more information this way. You can allow your students to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that will be thrilling for them – just ask them what they prefer.
3. Put your Students in Charge
Giving students an opportunity to make decisions – even small ones – can make a significant difference in the way they approach the learning process.
For example, let them:
- Make an anonymous suggestion or complaint, via a suggestion and complaint box
- Have a say in the next lesson topic
- Schedule extracurricular activities
Empower your students to be in charge of some activities and take responsibility. Your students will enjoy being involved in study plan designing, and will appreciate your consideration of their thoughts and feelings.
4. Reward Effort and Celebrate Wins
Many students feel desperate when no one recognizes the effort they put into their work. By encouraging and rewarding students, you can motivate them to express themselves and be more involved in the learning process.
Rewards are a great example of how you can boost the self-confidence of your students. You can use the following tips as well:
- Give personalized certificates of appreciation
- Make a board of accomplishments with each student’s name
- Thank each student individually or in a group for the effort they made
Celebrate with your students when they successfully finish their projects or pass tests – this will let them know that you notice how hard they try and appreciate them.
5. Consider Different Learning Styles
Many students can’t unleash their potential through one-size-fits-all teaching.
According to VARK Model by Neil Fleming, people are divided into groups by the types of learning:
- Reading and Writing
Each of these groups requires different learning systems. By determining what group each of your students belongs to, you will understand what type of content and methods are best suited to them.
You can easily recognize what exact group your student belongs to by analyzing his or her achievements on an assignment. This way you can help your students unlock their potential.
When you have a group of students with different types of learning, it’s hard to follow the syllabus and still adjust your teaching methods to every type. To solve this problem you can:
- Deliver information using different channels by accompanying lessons with pictures, infographics, models and presentations.
- Divide your students into groups by the type of learning curve they fall under and give them corresponding tasks or learning materials.
While you think a particular student is not creative, you may just not know what he or she is good at.