Creativity in the classroom provides a more relaxed and open environment for the students to freely express their opinions and to learn faster. Here are some tips for helping teachers add creativity to the curriculum.
Be passionate (passion is contagious).
To make your classroom creative and innovative, you have to become a role model for the students. Demonstrate passion toward your subject and it will reach your students.
For example, instead of monologue lectures and textbooks, show TED talk videos or documentaries whenever applicable. Demonstrate concepts using real objects. If it is a botany class, bring plants and show how to grow them correctly. The innovative approaches make digesting new information easier and more visual.
Allow flexibility in the classroom. Organize group activities and let the students move around, change places, or sit in front of each other. This helps with creating a more relaxed and friendly environment, which serves as a good way to exchange ideas and to open creative discussions.
When giving lectures, discuss real-life examples from prominent people to inspire the students. Bring examples of characters from the books and movies or famous people and situations that happened to them in their stories. After, organize activities that would challenge your students to solve problems in real-life situations based on life examples of the characters.
Establish an emotional connection.
Creating a comfortable environment for open communication is key to boosting the creative process among students. They have to feel connected to be invested and motivated to cooperate. Celebrate different cultural holidays. This will help not only with broadening students’ mindsets but will also let them see things from different perspectives.
Try to organize team-building activities and exercises. Film a classroom video diary and hang inspirational posters around your classroom.
Make devices work for you.
Organize games, interactive Q&As, and quizzes with your students. Tools such as Swift Polling allow you to create real-time polls and voting via text messages or online. Use these tools to give everyone an equal opportunity to participate and express their thoughts. Even the shy students will be able to contribute to discussions and generate fresh ideas.
Try reverse instruction.
One of the most famous sayings is that “We never stop learning,” so switch places with your students by allowing them to teach you something new. Give them the freedom to choose from any topic they are passionate about and make a presentation. You will be surprised how much new information they will provide because their research topic is something they are excited about. Let them choose how to present: Maybe one of them wants to have a constant conversation with the audience without using slides and another wants to bring a pet to the classroom.
Encourage and reward only active students.
Because the academic system is standardized, not all students are able to keep up with the program’s pace. Some students are bored; others struggle to digest the information. As a result, some students participate very actively and ask lots of questions, whereas the others are shy to express opinions or are afraid to talk. Sometimes, students are afraid that their questions will sound stupid or that they will be bullied by their peers. When teachers encourage and reward the active students, leaving out those who are quieter, they create an imbalance. To provide an equal amount of attention, try using the tools discussed above.
Limit assignments only to one format.
The academic system is designed in a way that limits students’ imagination and creativity because it dictates certain obligations and restrictions. For example, at the end of each semester, students are often asked to turn in a final paper that will be about a given topic and will have a certain word count. Or they have to do research and report the results in their paper, without being allowed to express their own opinions or arguments.
Instead of putting the students into frames and giving specific instruction for their homework, give them the freedom to turn in a speech, a presentation, or even a documentary to share with the whole class.
Be innovative, passionate, and open to new ideas and you will inspire your students as well.