Developing Creativity in the Classroom

Source: ASCD website, Dec 2008

Creativity expert Robert Epstein, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego, has identified four competencies essential for creative expression:

  1. Capturing—preserving new ideas.
  2. Challenging—giving ourselves tough problems to solve.
  3. Broadening—boosting creativity by learning interesting new things.
  4. Surrounding—associating with interesting and diverse things and people.

Modeling Creativity in the Classroom

In their book How to Develop Student Creativity, authors Robert Sternberg and Wendy Williams state, “The most powerful way to develop creativity in your students is to be a role model. Children develop creativity not when you tell them to, but when you show them.”

Making Mistakes Meaningful

Creative exercises should not be confined to disciplines such as music and art.

“Creativity is at the heart of problem-solving,” Epstein says. “Students will always have problems to solve, both in their personal lives and work lives. If you help them develop creative competencies, they will be better equipped for the world.”

She says her students sometimes pushed back against solving problems on their own because they feared making mistakes. “Kids don’t want to make mistakes; they want to be told how to solve the problem,” she says. In these instances, teachers must give students permission to make mistakes.


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