This post is sponsored by Adobe. It was independently conceived and created by Ditch That Textbook's Matt Miller.
Creativity isn't a trait that only special people are gifted. It's a skill set, and it's adaptable over time.
If you've ever said, "Well, I'm just not one of those creative types," then we have good news for you!
We hear lots of talk about classroom creativity, and much of it centers on developing creativity in students. This is very valid, as creativity can elevate lots of crucial academic skills.
But teachers get to be creative, too!
When teachers flex and build their creativity muscles, students benefit. The creative lessons produced by those teachers impact the students. But they also demonstrate to the students that the teacher is willing to take some creative risks, too.
The result: A culture of creativity begins to bloom.
How do we do it, though? Where do we start? What does it look like?
Thankfully, there's a masterclass in teacher and student creativity. And it's FREE.
The Creativity for All online course is a one-hour course that's part of the Adobe Education Exchange. In it, you'll find ...
- Several 5- to 7-minute videos to demonstrate key concepts
- Classroom inspiration ideas to plug in your classroom
- Educator insights from creative educators doing the work
- A library of distance learning resources
- Dozens of educator-created creativity projects to browse
- Online collaboration groups
- ... and more!
Plus, you can do a creativity project to extend the course to three hours, earning you professional growth points and a badge as an Adobe Creative Educator Level 1.
10 teacher creativity tips
So ... what will you learn in the Creativity for All online course? Here are 10 of my favorite tips straight out of the course! The course goes in depth on all of these topics, so if you're interested in learning more, enroll in the course for FREE here.
1. Creativity happens in all content areas. It doesn't have to be confined to art and music classes! As Claudio Zavala Jr., digital designer at Burleson ISD in Texas, put it, "Every learner should have the opportunity to explore creativity in all content areas. By doing so, it will help the learner themselves see that they can have a creative mindset." Mindset is critical. When students see themselves as creative -- or possessing a creative skill set -- how they approach learning and life changes.
2. Creativity helps students see the world differently. Sometimes, when students see ideas from a fresh perspective, it changes their outlook and their motivation. "A creative mind looks at things differently, in fun and unique ways," said Dr. Alane J. Starko, professor of educational psychology at Eastern Michigan University. "It's naturally more engaged. It's more adaptable to any situation. It's able to solve more problems within any discipline."
3. Frameworks can help drive creative thinking. These are the road maps, the stepping stones we can use to walk through creative processes. Creative thinking frameworks include: design thinking (desirability, viability, feasibility), engineering design processes (structure, adeptness, trade offs), and artistic design process (balance, contrast, emphasis).
4. Social and emotional skills can be developed through creativity. Creative work and thinking builds traits that help create socially and emotionally resilient students. It demands persistence, Starko said. Students must keep going through obstacles. They must cooperate with other people to solve problems that are complex enough that no single person could do them on their own.
5. There's a difference between teaching for creativity and creative teaching. This is a key mindset shift. As I mentioned earlier, there's more in this space than just student creativity. Teaching for creativity is developing creativity in students. Creative teaching is teaching in a creative way. To spot the difference, we must ask: "Who is doing the creative work?"
6. Develop creativity in students in three steps. This process is suggested in the course by Dr. Karen Sutherland, lecturer at University of The Sunshine Coast. First, she said, identify a problem that requires a creative solution. Second, research the audience the solution communicates with. Third, brainstorm and collaborate with others to find a creative solution. This process can be replicated in lots of different classes to spark creative thinking.
7. A creative culture requires three things. Want to put students in a position to succeed in creative thinking? Put an emphasis on these three things, said Tanya Avrith, educator, author and Adobe Evangelist.
1. Provide students with an environment that encourages risk taking.
2. Provide students with exemplars or help them find them to see what's possible.
3. Provide a ton of quality feedback that's timely.
8. Make the most of creative tools. There are lots of tools we can use to unlock creativity -- and not all of them are high tech. With creative tools, our job is two-fold: learn to use those creative tools ourselves and teach those tools, skills and processes to our students. The first requires us as educators to grow. The second requires us to pass skills along to students.
9. The learning environment drives everything. The space where students do creative work is crucial -- and it's not just the physical classroom space, said Rebecca Hare, art educator and author of The Space. You need a space where everyone can take risks. It needs to be safe, supportive and non-judgmental. Plus, it's cultivated by celebrating our risks and reframing our failures as evidence of growth. "We work toward it everyday," she said.
10. Get inspiration outside of education. The education system can be very slow to evolve. Watching what's happening in business, technology and other sectors can drive us forward, said Michelle Dennis, Head of Digital Learning and Innovation, Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School. "To help students look at content in new ways, I often look at what's happening in the real world. What's innovative? In schools, we tend to work in silos. People in the real world learn from each other all the time. Show examples to students so they can see that there's creativity in every area -- even in the ones where you wouldn't expect to find them."
Get started on your creative journey
Get the tools, the skills, and the motivation you need to start teaching more creatively -- and to foster creativity in your students.
Enroll in the Creativity for All course on the Adobe Education Exchange. Complete the course and earn your Adobe Creative Educator Level 1 badge.