According to Henriksen and Mishra (2013), creativity is often highlighted skill essential for success in the 21st century. This is evident wherein 90% of finalist and winners of National Teacher of the Year in the US highlighted “creativity” as their key teaching theme and practice creative teaching. Having known this idea that creativity plays an important role in fostering children’s creative learning, makes me wonder how am I in this area or particular skill. But before I delve into that matter, I just want to highlight that there are certain qualities being possessed by creative teachers and this are; Curiosity and Questioning stance, Connection and Making, Autonomy and Ownership, and lastly Fostering Originality. Furthermore, to fully understand this concept, terms like creative teachers and creative teaching are also defined. Creative teachers as being defined by Cremin (2013) are individuals who are aware of themselves as creative beings and sees the development of creativity and originality as a distinguishing mark of their teaching. On the other hand, based on Cremin’s definition, creative teaching is about making learning more interesting and effective and makes use of imaginative approaches in the classroom.
Curiosity and Questioning Stance
I believe that if a teacher is curious, then she must have acquired a wide range of personal interest and passions and knowledge of the wider world and most likely would be able to share his/her knowledge to his learners. Thus, as a future teacher and creative teacher, I sense that in order to practice this skill, I must make use of large framing questions and employ speculative stance in the classroom regardless of what is the age of the learner. As suggested by Cremin (203), when asked to respond to a children’s question, I must employ a reverse questioning and that is passing back the responsibility on the part of the learner. Like when a child is having difficulty in understanding a problem, I might ask him/her a reverse question like “what do you think you can do to solve this problem”. In this way, I am letting my student think creatively or critically and helping the student learn at the same time. By doing this would mean that I am supporting the individual without the fear of being judge.
The importance of making connections or making sense on what is being taught is central to both teachers and learners. The ability to relate ideas to another idea would strengthen their “schema” or stock knowledge, thus would lead to widening children’s perspectives and will help them easily retain new information. Added to this, I believe that there is nothing wrong if a teacher won’t be able to follow religiously the curriculum as long as the intention of doing so benefits the learner.
Autonomy and Ownership
Teachers, as well as students, know that both should be responsible participants in the learning process. Collaborative learning won’t be possible if teachers don’t give time what interest the learner and what can earn their trust as learners. For me, the work of the teacher here is just to encourage the learner is his own way of learning without sacrificing the quality or output of their own work.
As a creative teacher, there is always a need to encourage students to constantly be inventive and evaluative in their own understanding. One way of doing this is ensuring that the students and the teachers both are involved in the learning process. If a student was able to make an outstanding output in class, this must be shown or displayed in the whole class as a way of celebration and affirmation of creative thinking.
On the other side of the coin, in employing out-of-the-box teaching strategies (Innovativeness), I will be using Henriksen and Mishra (2013) 5 approaches or guidepost for creative strategies. These are; connect your interest with your teaching, link lessons to real-world learning, cultivate a creative mind, value collaboration and taking intellectual risks.
Connect your interest with your teaching
One way of doing this is tapping into teacher’s interest and hobbies. For example, I can incorporate in my teaching of History lessons a topic regarding my passion for “universe” and how this affects my understanding of the evolution of mankind and life.
Link lesson to real-world learning
Lessons that is being linked to the real-world application is very useful as this can give a more realistic approach to learners. They can easily grasp new concepts and ideas upon relating to them real-world applications. By allowing them to “experience” events that they rarely experience would be an innovative kind of teaching and learning.
Cultivate a creative mind
One can cultivate a creative mind by being open-minded. By allowing my students to ponder on things around them or relate it to the lesson that we learned would be a way of practicing and cultivating creativity.
Teachers must constantly seek out colleagues, ask questions and share ideas or lessons to one another is the ultimate sign of collaborative work. Being able to share and gather new ideas can create an impact or inspiration in each other’s work of teachers.
Taking Intellectual Risks
If one is open to mistakes as part of the work progress, then one is taking an intellectual risk. Allowing my students to make mistakes more is important as this is a start of assessing their intellectual understanding of the world. As being emphasized earlier that teachers must encourage students to learn at their own pace without the fear of being judge.
Overall, for me, creative teaching is proven and tested approach to effective learning. It makes use of our imagination and unlimited source of inspiration. By just relating concepts to another subject can ease the learning process. It all starts with a question and curiosity of mind and ends with a unique and original kind of output or work. It is student-centred as it allows the student to become active learners and above all value collaboration among the learners and the teachers.
Cremin, T. (2009). Creative teachers and creative teaching (Chapter 3). In A. Wilson (Ed.), Creativity in Primary Education (2nd ed.) (pp. 36–46). Southernhay East, Exeter: Learning Matters. Available at http://www.steveslearning.com/Teacher%20Training%20resources/cremin.pdf
Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2013). Learning from creative teachers. Educational Leadership, 70(5). Available at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Learning-from-Creative-Teachers.aspx