Experiment with “Possibility Thinking”
Pose the question “What if?” in as many ways as possible, helping children naturally think of creative possibilities. This involves a shift from more traditional approaches that encourage students to ask, “Why is this and what does it do?” to “What can I do with this?”.
Provide Opportunities to Explore Individual Interests
Invite children to choose individual projects that hold special interest to them. Why? Creativity blossoms when children feel invigorated by activities they enjoy. For example, if a student loves playing flute, encourage him to write a paper on the history of flute playing or the mechanics of flute building. If a child loves soccer, provide an opportunity for her to do a creative project about soccer.
Develop Five Core Attitudes Associated with Creativity
Nurture the attitudes of mind that generate creativity. Research by Jane Piirto, Distinguished Professor at Ashland University in Ohio, suggests there are five core attitudes of creative people:
Openness to experience
Tolerance for ambiguity
Engage Students in Collaborative Learning
Encourage students to work together in groups. While creativity is associated with individual talent, we draw inspiration from other people’s ideas and from our cultural surroundings. Great inventions and creative breakthroughs are most often the result of collaboration between people who have similar goals, but diverse ways of thinking or seeing the world. Creative processes are at work when students pool their collective talents to solve a problem.
Practice Divergent Thinking
Choose a sentence or short paragraph from a class reading assignment that holds different meaning to different people. Ask students to share as many different ways the words might be interpreted by people from diverse cultures, ages, or life experiences. The goal of divergent thinking is to generate as many different ideas about a topic by exploring a multitude of possible solutions. I
Help Students Make Connections
Give assignments that encourage Metaphorical Thinking to express complex ideas or solve a problem. The use of metaphors helps students gain new insights and challenge assumptions. Students who learn to connect seemingly unrelated ideas, thoughts, and concepts develop the ability to synthesize information in creative ways. Explore other creativity tools at mind tools, but a place where teachers can use their creativity to adapt the many brainstorming and idea-generating tools for their classrooms.
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