Session 96 – What strategies can be used in class to inspire creative thinking?

3rd May 2012 – Hosted by Paul Hutson @NightZooKeeper.

What strategies can be used in class to inspire creative thinking?

Session Summary
[pullquote]Creativity is not just arts based but something inherent to human nature: risk taking, making connections etc[/pullquote]

 I had penciled in a number of questions I wanted to pose throughout Thursday evening’s ukedchat. Here are a few of them and the responses they received:

Can you teach creativity?

This received a mixed response as some felt that it was unique in certain children and can only be allowed to flourish if you are naturally creative. Whereas, others believed that through structured activities and experience, creativity can be encouraged in students of all ages. A number of great practical ideas came out of this including:

1. Debono’s thinking hats – @MrPryer
2. 20% time off curriculum to run own projects – @nickotIV
3. Mantle of the expert – @sheliBB
4. World box day – @raff31
5. 100 word challenge – @TheHeadsOffice
6. Keep an ideas notebook – @ielserafy
7. Talkingchips – @DavidHunter
The archive below has many more practical ideas.

What type of questioning should teachers use to inspire creative thinking?

Many people felt that planning open ended questions was vital when cultivating a creative environment. Teachers need to allow their students to drive their own learning at times. This sentiment was echoed by a number of people as they promoted the use of personalised learning and 20% passion project time during the school week. A key question that came out of this discussion was: “What would you like to learn?” @toots2106

Is creativity subject specific or is it a skill/behaviour?

Many thought that creativity should be allowed to flourish in all subjects and that it should not be restricted to any specific area of the curriculum. In fact the term ‘creative curriculum’ was dubbed ‘nonsense’ as many believed that there should be the potential for creativity to occur at all times throughout the school day regardless of a label. Topics and themes as opposed to traditional subjects were favoured, with a number of people quoting the success of projects they had delivered in their class and school.

In summary, the main points that I will take from this discussion are as follows: Teaching creativity is possible! We need to spend time ensuring that we are giving students open ended questions and projects to allow them to express themselves. We must reward risk taking and ensure that we are not solely interested in the ‘correct answer’. Time should be given to students to pursue their own interests and personalise learning. A flexible classroom environment needs to be created in order allow for self expression and exploration. Creativity can exist in structured tasks as long as we give children the freedom to select how they are going to produce their outcome.

Thanks to all that took part in this week’s discussion.


@HandTwin5: Creativity definitely can be encouraged through open-ended projects/tasks and adopting a more ‘deep’ approach to learning. #ukedchat
@eslweb: Creativity is also about giving students rich experiences that inspire them and from there they can come up with their own ideas. #ukedchat
@AndrewFarmer80: #ukedchat coming to the end of PGCE and feel morecreative now than at the start. I think creativity needsthe right environment…
@MrEllison1983: #ukedchat Children are fearful of failure, we need to get them to embrace the fact that sometimes, it will happen.
@peterweal: @literacylender #ukedchat why teach a ‘boring’ topic in a new way – why not be ‘creative’ and teach something differnt, or let chn choose?
@nickotkdIV: @nightzookeeper I love Google approach of allowing 20% time to their own projects! #ukedchat

@bramleyapplecc: #ukedchat creativity is not just arts based but something inherent to human nature: risk taking, making connections etc

Paul Hutson is a primary school teacher who has worked in schools in the Middle East and the UK. He is Co-Founder of Night Zookeeper ( a creative children’s website and school project. Paul currently travels the UK delivering Night Zookeeper experiences, which focus on creativity and improving students Literacy, Art and ICT skills. If your school is planning a theme project you can get in touch with Paul on Twitter @nightzookeeper

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