Creative Thinking and Why It’ll Skyrocket Student Learning

Creative thinking and why it'll skyrocket student learning
This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series creative thinking

Teaching creative thinking will enable the next generation of learners to develop new solutions for future work

Creativity is not limited to artists. Almost all of us can get it at some point when the need arises. Some people are more adept at exercising these creative muscles than others we just need to exercise them. The ability to think creatively enables students to come up with novel ways to solve problems. 

Let’s look at it this way.

Have you ever experienced a lightbulb moment?

Perhaps you were trying to figure out a problem for hours, days, or even weeks. All of a sudden, in the depths of your mind, you see a distant light that holds the solution to all your problems. Over time, as you meditate over the idea, the brighter the light in your mind becomes.

Creative thinking and why it's important

Developing creative thinking requires nurturing. It is an incredibly valuable skill for students since it will help them in their future careers. Creative thinkers can develop new ideas that others may not see, allowing them to think outside the box.

Students can learn to think creatively, but it may not come naturally. The more familiar students become with creative thinking, the easier it will be to overcome life’s challenges in the future. 

Students who have experienced art and music often have an easier time coming up with original ideas and solving problems. Another way to inject creative thinking is to have students play games like chess or checkers, which encourages them to find new ways to think.

Students who are taught creative thinking at school find it easier to think outside the box than those who are not. Creative thinking helps students build their confidence and self-reliance. They learn to think for themselves and become less dependent on their teachers, which we all strive for in our students. 

A New Teaching Strategy is creativity

Five types of creative thinking

Changing students’ perspectives is the first step to increasing students creative thinking. This innovative thinking can be categorised into five types of thinking: Inspirational, divergent, lateral, systems and aesthetic.

  1. Inspirational thinking are those light bulb moments of insight. Students need to imagine a variety of possibilities in order for them to be inspired. So, why not start with something as simple as asking a group of students to arrange a display of their work in an interesting manner. Pick a different group each time there’s a display to set up. Besides saving you time, this will be a lot of fun.
  2. Divergent thinking involves students in spontaneous brainstorming. Why not get students to brainstorm what to do on different parts of the hike excursion you need to plan? If you combine the ideas from each group, you’ll end up with a great hike that they planned and want to do. Plus, it will save you all that planning time.
  3. Lateral thinking enables students to use their imagination to look at a problem freshly and create new solutions. For example: Grab a large jar of paperclips and get each student to take a handful. Ask them to think about what they can do with those paper clips. Let them play and have fun, and you will see some wonderful and unusual results.
  4. Systems thinking is used regularly in our students’ daily lives. Have students observe the systems they use to get from the classroom to the computer lab or the sports shed. Then have them observe how different classes do this, so they can see there are different ways of creating and using systems, and no one way is correct.
  5. Aesthetic thinking encourages students to appreciate the natural wonders of shape, line, shades, and pictures. Let students gaze at a painting and try to draw a simple line drawing in 5 to 10 minutes. They will notice more things about the painting after they have had time to handle it. Or ask students to design a class logo or create a digital magazine to see how different layouts affect different readers.  

By encouraging students to generate new ideas, perspectives, and solutions to problems, they can learn to think creatively. New ideas begin to form, they start to think differently, and their perspective changes.

Thinking Skills - Three methods for thinking outside the box

Three methods for encouraging kids to think outside the box

For students’ thinking to stay sharp, creative thinking needs to be constantly exercised. It is no different from practising sports, playing an instrument, or writing.

Here are a few tips on setting up your class with some creative spark in just 30 minutes or less!

  1. Create something. By creating something new, students are stimulating their minds to think creatively. See what they can do with playdoh or modelling clay. They could bake something (especially bread dough that they could knead themselves). Your objective is to get your students’ hands moving.
  2. Get outside – preferably in a green space. Many studies have shown that exposure to green spaces stimulates the brain, including the areas associated with creativity. Take students to the nearest park and let them experience the outdoors. Consider taking them on a nature trail if you’re feeling adventurous. Does the school have space to use? Have them get outside and garden. 
  3. Try something new. Get students to experiment with a new skill to stimulate parts of their brains that they haven’t used before. It creates new connections in their neural networks, which are necessary for creative thinking.

As teachers, let’s be doers, not just tell our students what to do. So don’t forget to develop your creative thinking powers. Everyone is creative in some way. It’s just that some have exercised that creative muscle more than others.

Creative thinking is the key to innovation

A key component of developing creative thinking is engaging students’ minds with something new or interesting. Coming up with new ideas involves looking at a problem from a different perspective. To understand a topic or issue well, you have to be open-minded and imaginative. 

Consider using whatever ignited the spark and pay attention to what works. It will keep the creativity flowing throughout the year!

Series Navigation<< Why Creative Thinking: Unlocking Imaginative Potentials in EducationCreative Skills and advice how to teach them >>
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