Creativity is essential for teachers. But as we all know, sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. You’re trying so hard to come up with an idea for a lesson, but the opposite seems to happen. The harder you try, the more difficult it gets.
Creativity is like a muscle, it needs training.
If you want your muscles to keep working, you have to use them regularly. That’s how creativity works, the more you use it, the better it gets.
But that’s not all of it. If you want to be even more creative, you have to push your mind out of its comfort zone.
What does it mean?
Whenever you have to come up with an idea or a solution to a problem, don’t just think of one or two. Write down at least 20 or 30 of them. You need to give your mind the chance to get rid of all the obvious and boring ideas first before it can start coming up with the more original and better ones.
How to put it into practice?
Here’s a quick creative task you can try.
Set yourself a challenge. For example, come up with ideas on how to use a blue piece of paper in your lessons.
Now, sit down and force yourself to come up with 30 ideas to use a blue piece of paper in your lessons. Write them down (it’s important!). It will be hard! But don’t give up. And don’t worry at this stage whether these ideas are good. They won’t be! Some of them will be really bad. But don’t worry about it at this stage.
When you’ve finished, so when you have 30 ideas written down (not fewer!), go through them and cross out any which you definitely won’t be able to use in a lesson.
Whatever is left should give you some inspiration for new activities. Even if they don’t involve using a piece of blue paper!
Do it regularly. Devote some time to work on your creativity. It could be once a day or once a week. 15-30 minutes is enough. And each time set yourself a different challenge. The tasks could be directly connected with teaching or they could be something completely unrelated. They will both bring you inspiration for lesson activities.
In 30 Creative Weeks we have 60 general tasks for you and 30 tasks in which you directly generate ideas for activities. They will help you boost your creativity over 30 weeks with regular practice.
What else can you do to boost your creativity?
Take breaks and relax. It can be challenging to come up with new ideas when you’re stressed and overworked. Taking regular breaks, practising relaxation techniques and focusing on doing tasks that you enjoy can help you clear your mind and boost creativity.
Keep a notebook. Jot down your ideas as they come. So when you need an idea, you know you have this notebook full of things you can use as a reference for your creative endeavours.
Collaborate with others. Collaborating with other teachers, students or even professionals from different fields can inspire new ideas and approaches. Have you ever tried working on a lesson plan with another teacher? It’s a great process and will give you so much inspiration!
Experiment and take risks. Creativity often involves taking risks and trying new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new teaching methods or materials. Even if they don’t work, they’ll inspire you in different ways and give you new ideas.
Do creative activities not related to teaching. Try painting, playing music or writing. These activities will boost your creativity in general. And this, in turn, will be useful for your teaching.
Remember, creativity is not something that comes naturally to everyone but it’s a skill that can be developed and improved over time with practice. So keep at it!