Summary of 24 tips for teaching creativity (part 2)

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13. Identify Obstacles
To help your students deal with obstacles, remind them of the many creative people whose ideas were initially shunned and help them develop an inner sense of awe of the creative act. You can suggest that they reduce their concern over what others think, but it is tough for students to lessen their dependence on their peers.

14. Teach Self-Responsibility
Teaching students how to take responsibility means teaching students to (1) understand their creative process, (2) criticize themselves, and (3) take pride in their best creative work. Unfortunately, many teachers and parents look for an outside enemy responsible for failures.

15. Promote Self-Regulation
After forming initial creative products and awakening the joy of creating in your students, teach them strategies for self-regulation.

1. List multiple ideas for an assignment, 2. Assess ideas for creativity and pursue one, 3. Defend your choice, 4. Develop plans for completing the assignment, including how and where to find information, and how and when you will finish the project, 5. Keep a daily log of progress, roadblocks, and how you surmounted problems, 6. Participate in daily class discussions regarding progress on the report and physical distractions (e.g., being hungry or tired), 7. Discuss teacher feedback on finished projects, and 8. Assess a classmate's project and review and discuss peer evaluations.

16. Delay Gratification
Students must learn rewards are not always immediate and that there are benefits to delaying gratification. Give your students examples of delayed gratification in your life and in the lives of creative individuals and help them apply these examples to their lives. By working on a task for many weeks or months, a student learns the value of making incremental efforts for long-term gains.

Hard work often does not bring immediate rewards. Children do not immediately become expert baseball players, dancers, musicians, or sculptors. And the reward of becoming an expert seems far away. Children often succumb to the temptations of the moment-watching television or playing video games.

17. Encourage Creative Collaboration
Encourage your students to collaborate with creative people because we all learn by example. Students benefit from seeing the techniques, strategies, and approaches that others use in the creative process.

Finding practical ways to encourage creative performance in groups of students is essential because you cannot work with students one-on-one all of the time. Because life often involves working with others, it is worthwhile to give students the chance to work collaboratively and to make the process of collaboration more creative.

18. Imagine Other Viewpoints
An essential aspect of working with other people and getting the most out of collaborative creative activity is to imagine ourselves in other people's shoes. We broaden our perspective by learning to see the world from a different point of view, and that experience enhances our creative thinking and contributions. Encourage your students to see the importance of understanding, respecting, and responding to other people's points of view. Many bright and potentially creative children never achieve success because they do not develop practical intelligence. They may do well in school and on tests, but they never learn how to get along with others or to see things and themselves as others see them.

19. Recognize Person-Environmental Fit
What is judged as creative is an interaction between a person and the environment. The very same product that is rewarded as creative in one time or place may be scorned in another.
In The Dead Poets' Society, a teacher whom the audience might well judge to be creative is viewed as incompetent by the school's administration. Similar experiences occur many times a day in many settings. There is no absolute standard for what constitutes creative work. The same product or idea may be valued or devalued in different environments. The lesson is that we need to find a setting in which our creative talents and unique contributions are rewarded or we need to modify our environment.

By building a constant appreciation of the importance of person-environment fit, you prepare your students for choosing environments that are conducive to their creative success. Encourage your students to examine environments to help them learn to select and match environments with their skills.

20. Find Excitement
To unleash your students' best creative performances, you must help them find what excites them. Remember that it may not be what really excites you. Helping students find what they really love to do is often hard and frustrating work. Yet, sharing the frustration with them now is better than leaving them later to face it alone. To help students uncover their true interests, ask them to demonstrate a special talent or ability for the class. Explain that it does not matter what they do (within reason), only that they love the activity.

21. Seek Stimulating Environments
To encourage students to develop skills in selecting environments that enhance creativity, choose some environments for the class to explore and help your students connect the environments with the experiences, creative growth, and accomplishment. Show students that creativity is easier with environmental stimulation.

Plan a field trip to a nearby museum, historical building, town hall, or other location with interesting displays and ask your students to generate and examine creative ideas for reports. Get students involved in role-playing.

You cannot reach into every nook of students' lives, nor can you directly control their creative development in the years to come. But give them a lifelong gift by teaching them how to choose creative environments that help ideas flow. Knowing how to choose a creative environment is one of the best long-term strategies for developing creativity.

22. Play to Strengths
Any teacher can help students play to their strengths. All you need is flexibility in assignments and a willingness to help reluctant students determine the nature of their interests and strengths.

23. Grow Creatively
Once we have a major creative idea, it is easy to spend the rest of our career following up on it. It is frightening to contemplate that the next idea may not be as good as the last one, or that success may disappear with the next idea. The result is that we can become complacent and stop being creative. Being creative means stepping outside the boxes that we-and others-have created for ourselves.

24. Proselytize for Creativity
Once you have mastered a few of these techniques to develop creativity and made them part of your daily teaching routine, spread the word. The virtues of teaching your students in order to develop their creativity and your own multiply from reinforcement. Make the difference by telling your colleagues, associates, administrators, principal, school board members, and everyone else how important it is to develop creativity in students.

Use examples of creative student work, particularly from students who are not gifted in traditional academic abilities, to demonstrate the difference it makes to teach for creativity. Describe how every student can be reached with patience and a few techniques for developing creativity. Tell your colleagues that student projects are more interesting once students have experienced explicit creativity training. Richer, funnier, wilder, and generally far more interesting assignments, book reports, and projects make our lives less boring. It is, in fact, a good example of enlightened self-interest for teachers to give students creativity training, because creative students are more motivated and more involved with their schoolwork, and their work becomes more interesting.

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