19 Tips to develop your students’ creativity

grow creativity

1. Model creativity:

Don’t tell students to be creative but show them how to be so.

2. Build the feeling of achievement:

Help students believe in their own ability to be creative. Give them the opportunity to experience making something new. Don’t put limits on their potential accomplishments.

3. Encourage questioning:

Make questioning a part of the daily classroom exchange. It is more important for students to learn what questions to ask and how to ask them than to learn the answers. Discourage the idea that only you ask questions and simply get the answers from them. We need to encourage students to ask first and then teach them how to ask the right questions (good, thought-provoking and interesting ones)

4. Encourage defining and solving problems:

Promote creative performance by encouraging your students to define and redefine problems and projects. Encourage creative thinking by having students choose their own topics for papers or presentations. Choose their own ways of solving problems.

5. Encourage generating ideas:

Once the problem is defined or redefined, it is time for students to generate ideas and solutions. The environment for generating ideas must be relatively free of criticism. Praise your students for generating many ideas, regardless of whether some are silly or unrelated, while encouraging them to identify and develop their best ideas into high-quality projects. Teaching students the value of generating numerous ideas enhances their creative-thinking ability.

6. Encourage integrating subjects:

Stimulate creativity by helping students to think across subjects and disciplines. Creative ideas and insights often result from integrating material across subject areas not from memorizing and reciting material.

7. Allow time for creative thinking:

Most creative insights do not happen in a rush. We need time to understand a problem and to toss it around. If we are asked to think creatively, we need time to do it well. If you stuff questions into your tests or give your students more homework than they can complete, then you are not allowing them time to think creatively.

8. Assess creativity:

If you want to encourage creativity, you need to include at least one task or exercise for creative thought in assignments and tests. Ask questions that require factual recall, analytic thinking, and creative thinking.

9. Reward creative ideas and products:

Reward creative efforts. For example, assign a project and remind students that you are looking for them to demonstrate their knowledge, analytical and writing skills, and creativity. Let them know that creativity does not depend on your agreement with what they write, only that they express ideas that represent a synthesis between existing ideas and their own thoughts. Some teachers complain that they cannot grade creative responses with as much objectivity as they can apply to multiple-choice or short-answer responses. However, research shows that evaluators are remarkably consistent in their assessments of’ creativity.

10. Tolerate unusual ideas:

A creative idea tends to come in bits and pieces and develops over time. But the period in which the idea is developing tends to be uncomfortable. When a student has almost the right topic for a paper or almost the right science project, it’s tempting to accept the near miss. To help students become creative, encourage them to accept and extend the period in which their ideas do not quite converge. Ultimately, they may come up with better ideas.

11. Allow mistakes:

Great thinkers made contributions because they allowed themselves and their collaborators to take risks and make mistakes. Schools are often unforgiving of mistakes. Errors on schoolwork are often marked with a large and pronounced X. When your students make mistakes, ask them to analyze and discuss these mistakes. Often, mistakes or weak ideas contain the germ of correct answers or good ideas. For the teacher who wants to make a difference, exploring mistakes can be learning and growing opportunity.

12. Encourage identifying and confronting obstacles:

When a student attempts to surmount an obstacle, praise the effort, whether or not the student is entirely successful. Point out aspects of the student’s attack that were successful and why, and then suggest other ways to confront similar obstacles. You can also tactfully critique counterproductive approaches by describing a better approach, as long as you praise the attempt. Ask the class to brainstorm about ways to confront a given obstacle to get them think about the many strategies we can use to confront problems; a procedure which develops problem- solving skills.

13. Teach Self-Responsibility

Part of teaching students to be creative is teaching them to take responsibility for both success and failure. Teaching students how to take responsibility means teaching students to (1) understand their creative process, (2) criticize themselves, and (3) take pride in their best creative work.

14. Delay Gratification

Part of being creative means being able to work on a project or task for a long time without immediate or interim rewards. Students must learn rewards are not always immediate and that there are benefits to delaying gratification. Many people believe that they should reward children immediately for good performance, and that children should expect rewards. This style of teaching and parenting emphasizes the here and now and often comes at the expense of what is best in the long term. Projects are clearly superior in meeting this goal.

15. Encourage Creative Collaboration

Collaboration can spur creativity. Encourage your students to collaborate with creative people because we all learn by example. Students benefit from seeing the techniques, strategies, and approaches that others use in the creative process. So, it is worthwhile to give students the chance to work collaboratively and to make the process of collaboration more creative.

16. Imagine Other Viewpoints

An essential aspect of working with other people and getting the most out of collaborative creative activity is to imagine ourselves in other people’s shoes. We broaden our perspective by learning to see the world from a different point of view, and that experience enhances our creative thinking and contributions. Encourage your students to see the importance of understanding, respecting, and responding to other people’s points of view.

17. Find Excitement

To unleash your students’ best creative performances, you must help them find what excites them. Remember that it may not be what really excites you. People who truly excel in a pursuit,  almost always genuinely love what they do. Certainly the most creative people are intrinsically motivated in their work.

18. Seek Stimulating Environments

Help your students develop the ability to choose environments that stimulate their creativity. Choose some environments for the class to explore and help your students connect the environments with the experiences, creative growth, and accomplishment. Plan a field trip to a nearby museum, historical building, town hall, or other location with interesting displays and ask your students to generate and examine creative ideas for reports. Get students involved in role-playing.

19. Play to Strengths

Show students how to play to their strengths. Describe your strengths to your students and ask them to declare their strengths. Any teacher can help students play to their strengths. All you need is flexibility in assignments and a willingness to help reluctant students determine the nature of their interests and strengths.


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