Teaching for Creativity

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Course Welcome

Welcome to Teaching for Creativity! I am so glad you've taken an interest in completing this course. Not to worry - this course is meant to benefit ALL teachers, of any subject or grade level. My most fond memories from my own K-12 education are those that allowed me to be creative. That creative spark is what has inspired me in my own career, and it is my hope to help you feel inspired to help your students grow their creativity skills, too. So, what will you learn in this course?

Teaching for Creativity was designed with the everyday teacher in mind. Most teachers face constraints related to time, curriculum, or materials when it comes to incorporating creative learning activities in the classroom. This course aims to inspire "out of the box" (or "inside the box!") thinking by educators to encourage their students to develop and exercise their creative potential. Participants of this course will learn about what creativity actually is, research-backed benefits of exercising creativity for educators and students, and strategies for implementing more creativity into the classroom.

So grab your crayons or colored pencils, and let's get started!

Needs Assessment

The Educational Problem and Opportunity

Creativity is largely known as one of the most essential skills in the 21st century, and is a skill sought after by employers everywhere. There is a misconception that creativity is an innate quality. In reality, it is a skill that can be developed, so long as opportunities to engage in creative thought and practices are provided. Unfortunately, several constraints limit teaching for creativity in the classroom, including time constraints and a lack of teacher training on promoting creative thought among students (Anderson et al., 2022; Bullard & Bahar, 2023). This presents a unique opportunity to develop professional development courses to provide teachers with simple, effective ways to teach for creativity.

The Learners/Participants

The intended learners are in-service or pre-service teachers who are interested in promoting creative thinking among their students.

Existing Efforts to Address this Gap

In an ideal world, classrooms in the K-12 public school system have the time, materials, resources, and training to teach for creativity. The reality is that many teachers face anxiety over promoting creativity in the classroom due to their own learning experiences, pressure to perform, fears of being judged, and fears of not meeting educational standards (Anderson et al., 2022; Bullard & Bahar, 2023). Studies have been conducted to analyze perceptions on teacher and student creativity, and the integration of STEAM activities into classroom environments. However, there are not adequate resources available for teachers who want to promote and foster creative thinking among their students.

Intent Statement

This mini-course is meant to provide teachers with a foundational understanding of creativity, and simple, effective ways to teach for creativity.

Performance Objectives

At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of creativity in the classroom, for both students and teachers
  • Reflect on ways creativity can be fostered in the classroom
  • Design lessons that utilize creative thinking related to real-world scenarios

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1- What is Creativity?

Upon completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Define creativity
  • Identify common misconceptions about creativity

Participants will complete a KWL chart in relation to their knowledge about creativity throughout the first unit. Participants will also complete an exercise to analyze their perceptions of their own creativity.

Unit 2- The Ideal Learning Environment vs. Our Reality

Upon completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Sketch an ideal learning environment that promotes creative thought
  • Compare and contrast ideal educational environments that promote creative learning with the realities of the education system as we know it today

Participants will complete a Venn diagram to compare the ideal educational environment with the realities faced in the current education environment.

Unit 3- Teaching for Creativity

Upon completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Identify their creative strengths
  • Summarize ways to encourage students’ creative thinking and abilities
  • Explain the difference between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity

Participants will complete a brief quiz to identify their creative strengths. Then, participants will learn the differences between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity, and engage in a collaboration tool to describe what they have learned.

Unit 4- Dreaming Up the Future

Upon completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Redesign an existing lesson plan to promote creative thinking among students
  • Implement teaching for creativity strategies into their own lessons

Participants will adapt a lesson plan from a pre-determined list. Participants will then choose an existing lesson from their repertoire and adapt it to include an element that encourages creative thinking among students.

Course References

Adobe Create. (n.d.). Creative types. https://mycreativetype.com/

American Federation of Teachers. (n.d.). Interdisciplinary project ideas. https://www.aft.org/education/igniting-fire/project-examples-resources-and-websites/interdisciplinary-project

Anderson, R. C., Katz-Buonincontro, J., Bousselot, T., Mattson, D., Beard, N., Land, J., & Livie, M. (2022). How am I a creative teacher? Beliefs, values, and affect for integrating creativity in the classroom. Teaching and Teacher Education, 110, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2021.103583

Bullard, A. J., and Bahar, A. K. (2023). Common barriers in teaching for creativity: A literature review. Journal of Creativity, 33, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yjoc.2023.100045

Cassani Davis, L. (2018, December 17). Creative teaching and teaching creativity: How to foster creativity in the classroom. Psych Learning Curve. https://psychlearningcurve.org/creative-teaching-and-teaching-creativity-how-to-foster-creativity-in-the-classroom/

Cengage. (n.d.). Knowledge building. Encyclopedia.com. https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/knowledge-building

Conradty, C., & Bogner, F. X. (2018). From STEM to STEAM: How to monitor creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 30(3), 233-240. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2018.1488195

Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Creativity. In Dictionary.com dictionary. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/creativity.

Hunt, K. (2021, July 14). This simple word test reveals how creative you are, scientists say. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/14/health/words-creativity-test-scn-wellness/index.html

Kaufman, J. C., & Beghetto, R. A. (2009). Beyond big and little: The four C model of creativity. Review of General Psychology, 13(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013688

LiveTiles. (2021, April 7). 20 clever student engagement strategies to increase creativity. https://livetilesglobal.com/20-clever-ways-teach-creativity-classroom/

Lopata, J. A., Barr, N., Slayton, M., & Seli, P. (2022). Dual-modes of creative thought in the classroom: Implications of network neuroscience for creativity education. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 8(1), 79-89. https://doi.org/10.1037/tps0000317

Parrish, N. (2022, November 17). To increase student engagement, focus on motivation. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/to-increase-student-engagement-focus-on-motivation/

Richardson, C., & Mishra, P. (2018). Learning environments that support student creativity: Developing the SCALE. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 27, 45-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.11.004

Sawyer, K. (2015). A call to action: The challenges of creative teaching and learning. Teachers College Record, 117, 1-34. https://keithsawyer.com/PDFs/Sawyer%202015%20TCR.pdf

Spencer, J. (2016, January 19). Thinking inside the box: The power of creative constraint [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/lGyjGwSQXpg

Spencer, J. (2016, March 7). We need a bigger definition of creativity [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/MTCOExd0hDk

Stahl, A. (2018, July 25). Here’s how creativity actually improves your health. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2018/07/25/heres-how-creativity-actually-improves-your-health/?sh=5dcf4ee113a6

Stone, W. (2021). STEM content vs. a sense of wonder and joy of learning: It shouldn't have to be a choice. International Journal of the Whole Child, 6(2), 55-63. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1328378

TEDx Talks. (2015, September 11). Creative power of limitations: John Spencer: TEDxPennsburgED [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/_hxl049rcQc

TEDx Talks. (2018, May 4). The theory of creativity: Duncan Wardle: TEDxAUK [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/_8MwiGYzlyg

TEDx Talks. (2020, January 30). The myth of being creative [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/Hav54GuQs6E

University of San Diego Professional and Continuing Education. (n.d.). 8 classroom design ideas + best practices to follow. https://pce.sandiego.edu/classroom-design-ideas/

Zhabanova, K.S. (2019). Editorial: Developing creativity through STEM subjects integrated with the arts. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Construction, 4(1), 1-15. https://scholarworks.uni.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1046&context=journal-stem-arts