How Important Is Creativity In The Classroom?

In his extremely popular Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson promoted the importance of creativity in education and stated, “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Is it? Is creativity as important as literacy? Let’s throw out a few points.

  • We are all innate creators.  A stifling of that internal desire that never allows external application can limit potential.
  • Innovation is essential for progress and creativity is essential for innovation.
  • Releasing the creator within also causes a desire to learn and do more.
  • Regular bouts of creativity can help us to become better communicators. Often we communicate through our creations.
  • Creative classrooms teach students that there are many ways to acquire education.
  • Creative expression assists with emotional development.

So how do we encourage creativity in the classrooms? Here are 5 tips.

  1. Make Learning Fun

The use of storytelling, role plays, games, team building activities, game-like quizzes and more can help students to feel less pressured about learning despite the fact that that is exactly what they are doing.

  1. Allow Students to Freely Express Themselves

The “sage on the stage” method where an educator speaks for an hour doesn’t work for 99.9% of students. Admittedly I just threw that percentage out but it’s got to be close right? Do you want to sit and listen to one person’s thoughts and instructions without the opportunity to interact by sharing your own thoughts and ideas?

Besides simply opening to Q&A and thought sharing, we educators can be even more pro-active by setting up for whole room discussions or even debate. As it is with projects across the workspace, in the classroom, people take ownership when they feel like they have contributed.

Taking ownership improves learning.

  1. Encourage Exploration

It’s not just about looking outside of our sphere. but we can find something new to learn every day in the very environment that we are used to being within every day.

There is physical exploration of an environment, exploration of learning materials (get students to see if they can prove an accepted teaching as wrong,) and exploration of the student’s own thoughts, beliefs and emotions regarding the topic.

  1. Create Space for Creative Thinking

Ask open-ended questions. Have brainstorming sessions. Ask students questions and task them with thinking up the most creative response they can muster. 

  1. Utilise the Power of Eustress

Some will say “eliminate stress” but if you do that you can short-change the students. You want to eliminate chronic stress and mitigate acute stresses but eustress is basically good stress. It’s the helpful stress that enables you to meet challenges. Think of tackling a big guy on a rugby field. Think of an exciting project that you have a timeframe to complete it within. When we’re “under the pump” we often come up with the most creative solutions.