Let’s just say it from the outset: School should be fun. It should be a place where students not only gain knowledge but also develop a curiosity for more of it. Replicating 20th century classrooms, with row upon row of student desks, a teacher’s desk as the central focus and monotonous work labeled as “learning” should be unknown to today’s teachers and students. Besides, it’s more than time to replace those tedious test prep lessons and mind-numbing lectures with discovery, exploration and innovation. That’s fun!
That’s also why I love anything that boosts students creativity and their opportunities to express it. And for all those teachers who like to say, “I’m not here to entertain them,” my response is, “Perhaps you’d like to consider another profession.” Learning should be all about enjoying the process. So, with all this in mind, here are my three ways to infuse your school with creativity:
Teachers need the freedom to be innovative. As you will recall if you’ve taught for a while, teachers once had that freedom. Focusing on the curriculum as the overall goal, teachers had the autonomy to teach in whatever way best suited their students. For creativity to flourish, we need to get back to that, to trusting teachers as education professionals.
Include all Stakeholders
Not only does creativity or innovation have to be a schoolwide initiative, but all stakeholders, including parents and other community members, need to buy into the idea, embracing and supporting creativity in all its forms as well. With everyone on the same page, there’s much greater chance of success simply because the concept is accepted.
Step back and let students explore, discover and create. The results will be spectacular as students realize the value of directing their own learning as well as the liberty to express and represent that learning in new and creative ways. In the end, students learn not only the intended content, but also many “soft” skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, empathy and individuality, among others.
Learning that is fun and engaging shouldn’t be available only to students fortunate enough to have innovative teachers while other students endure total boredom. Together, these three elements can make creativity a way of life for all students. And that’s definitely an enjoyable way to learn.