Creative Teaching Ideas

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What is creative teaching and why is it important?

Creativity is key to both personal and professional development. Children who are innovative problem-solvers and ideas-generators who can think outside the box, are likely to go on to achieve great success in later life.  

Creative teaching ideas can demonstrate how effective teaching helps these valuable skills to flourish in the classroom.  

Desks and creativity: classroom layout ideas

Use your classroom layout – from the desks to the decoration – to facilitate creative thinking and generate ideas among your pupils.

Consider the position of desks within the room. Are they ideally suited to the lesson you are going to teach? It can be difficult to communicate or maintain engagement with one another when all the students are facing forward.

Try orienting your classroom so that your pupils are facing each other to enable free and open discussion, or push the tables together for group work.

For a debate that includes the whole class, arrange the desks in a hollow ‘box’ shape that allows all your students to face each other.

When your students are sat facing different directions, such as in group work, it is important that you move around the classroom yourself in order to maintain a dynamic teaching presence. You won’t be able to communicate effectively if part of the class constantly has its back to you.

Classroom display ideas to boost creative teaching

Using classroom decorations in order to facilitate learning is another way to improve your students’ creativity. A bland classroom environment communicates to students that what they are learning is equally dull, so try to avoid this at all costs.

Displaying students’ work on the walls fosters a sense of achievement and pride. Students are often motivated to work harder and more enthusiastically if they know that their work is valued.

A flexible classroom is conducive to learning. Keeping the same posters or displays on the wall all year round will create a sense of stagnation, not freshness and originality. With this in mind, regularly rotate your displays to create constant stimulation in your teaching space.

Use any space not dedicated to classroom displays to put up your own decorations. Create an interesting sensory space with hanging lanterns and fairy lights, or play quiet ambient sound during silent work activities or as your students come into the room. You could also bring plants in to purify the air and create a pleasant atmosphere.

Above all, make sure that you tailor the classroom structure to support the message you are trying to communicate – that learning is an intrinsically creative, inviting and exciting process.

Project based learning ideas

Project based learning is an ideal way to inspire creativity. It involves students working for longer periods on a complex project, ideally relevant to a real-world challenge or question. They can do this either singly or as a group.

For instance, if the project were to build a garden as a class, this could involve:

  1. Planning the layout of the garden to scale using design software (IT and mathematics)
  2. Researching which wildlife are drawn to which flowers and how flowers are pollinated (biology)
  3. Building the garden, digging and filling pots (PE)
  4. Researching the role of gardens throughout history, from Moorish gardens to Victorian garden cities to modern urban gardening and beekeeping projects (history/culture)
  5. Reading about the depictions of nature in literature such as The Secret Garden, The Return of the Nature and/or the work of nature poets (English literature/language)
  6. Cooking with the produce of the garden (food technology)

If your pupils are struggling to find a subject stimulating, project based learning that combines it with other subjects is a helpful strategy.

Research becomes more complex and meaningful to students as they seek solutions through a variety of means. Project based learning tasks give students the opportunity to make use of technology, including any tools and applications that may inform their thinking.

Project based learning increases innovation by broadening the scope of students. Rather than seeing subjects as isolated blocks, they have the opportunity to integrate their skills in order to provide meaningful answers to their questions.

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