Every child has the ability within them to be creative, and this may manifest itself in many different ways. The role of the teacher is crucial in providing a safe environment where a child feels as though they are able to express their creativity, explore it, and understand its significance too.It is only in recent times that creativity has been understood to be a noteworthy part of a child’s development, and research has proven that creativity is a useful tool for expression, and for understanding one’s own thoughts and feelings, as well as those of others.Creativity, however, cannot just happen in its own accord, it needs to be coaxed out, to be cultivated, and it is the role of the teacher to encourage and allow time for that to happen with each and every student.
Why is creativity so important?
How can teachers learn to promote it as part of their standard teaching practice?
- Emotional development- Creative expression in a child, and in fact in an adult, is often catalysed by a surge of emotion. Younger children often express their true emotions through play: it helps them explore the world around them, test boundaries and gather evidence to make sense of their surroundings.With older children, encouraging creativity can lead to expressing emotions and opinions through art projects, music, theatre or any other creative outlet that may otherwise have been kept under wraps. Those who can express their emotions in this way tend to be happier and freer as a result.
- Communication- Creativity can be used as a tool to communicate with others, and to have a shared experience with a person or people that we might not otherwise have connected with. Communication, empathy and understanding between students is so important, so creating a classroom environment where there is plenty of opportunity for shared learning, group problem solving, and innovative thinking will get students opening up to one another, helping one another and connecting to one another through a shared creative experience.
- Future opportunities-In recent years the job market has changed, there has been a significant shift in the job market, where a creative person is preferred to someone with a specific skill set. Innovation and ‘thinking outside the box’ are now some of the most desirable attributes in a prospective employee. Candidates who know how to be creative and can express this easily will be way ahead of the competition, so learning this skill early on is important.
Encouraging a creative classroom environment
The classroom environment is hugely important when it comes to promoting creativity within schools. Teachers must pay attention to each pupil, to adapt their learning style to ensure that each student feels confident that they can express their creativity without fear of judgment or ridicule.
Each student needs to feel as though their individual voice matters so teachers should promote informal discussion, encourage students to try new ideas and use creative concepts themselves to inspire learning.
Teachers must make sure they allow time for children to be creative, perhaps by setting aside a ‘creative’ hour each day where students can only focus on creative tasks — they can inspire them with ideas and introduce new concepts, but also allow this time to be student-led, giving them the opportunity to show their teachers where their interests and passions really lie.
Finding ways to allow students to be creative is imperative, and requires teachers to be creative themselves.
If creativity is successfully introduced into a classroom the students will benefit greatly from it. It is therefore hugely important that this becomes a fully integrated part of the school curriculum, and encouraged by teachers in classrooms of all ages.