Do you ever feel like you are running dry on creative ideas?
That happens to all of us from time to time, and it certainly is a shame when it does. After all, great lessons thrive on creative ideas. Creativity makes everything more interesting and fun for students. But, let's face it, no matter how creative we are, none of us have a never ending pool of creativity to tap into whenever we want. It just doesn't work like that. Creativity has more like a flow and ebb to it. It comes and goes, and how we are, or feel, have a lot to do with that. The good news is there is a lot we can do to improve it. Creativity might seem innate, but it is actually a balance of a natural condition and something that can be acquired. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced, and doesn't necessarily depend on a natural condition. There are things we can do to improve our creativity. Take a look at these tips on how you can rekindle your creative spark.
Here's How You Can Improve Your Students’ Creativity With These Ideas
Keep Your Students in Mind
So, let's imagine you are preparing a lesson and nothing new comes to mind. A popular approach to creative thinking is to think about your students and how they will relate to the lesson you are preparing. Ask yourself these questions:
- What do they really need to learn and how?
- What are they sick of doing?
- What are the problems they have and what problem might they encounter with that particular lesson?
- What do your students do? What are their professions?
- What do they enjoy doing in their free time?
These questions and more like them, can give you precious insight on your students, where to direct the lesson and what to avoid.
Don't Be Afraid to Mix Things Up
We all tend to go down the old beaten path, once and again. Once we have tried something and it works, we are often reluctant to change. Well, I am sorry to tell you that this is murder on your creativity. Change is good, do things differently from what you would normally do. Don't be afraid to ask your students and also, to share your ideas with them. Otherwise, you will never know if your ideas will work out or not. Keep in mind that some of your ideas will work and others won't, but that doesn't mean it's "right" or "wrong". Some things work with some people and not with others. Also, your students will definitely appreciate your trying to make their lesson more appealing. After all, it is a great way to show them you truly care about their learning.
Sources of Ideas
Creative ideas can come from a lot of different places. Fortunately for ESL teachers , there are a million ways and even more to find ideas and information for our classes, and chances are someone before you has already come up with a great and very creative idea. That's why it's important to chat with other teachers to see what they are doing or how they might handle a specific task. Or better, compare your ideas with those theirs to see what they think. This is great because the help there is mutual. In addition to sharing information with fellow teachers, you can find a lot of amazing ideas on the web. Sites like busyteacher.org are absolutely priceless when it comes to creative ideas. So, don’t be afraid to do a little research.
Do You Feel Burned Out?
Stress is the mother of all creativity killers. Spending too much time confined, stressed, or pressurized will not help anyone become more creative. If this happens, you need to move to another location or move around a little. Perhaps even get some exercise or go for a walk. Sometimes when we feel more relaxed ideas come more readily. Since there are certain factors that may stimulate your brain to make connections between brain cells, it is also a good idea to change what you are doing temporarily just to give your mind a break. Many say that music is very useful here. If you feel stressed, soothing music can calm you down. On the other hand, if you want inspiration, faster-paced music can be much more useful.
Get Enough Rest
Teachers are human beings, and many of us are juggling more than one activity at a time. So, with that in mind my last advice is to rest as much as you can. If you feel exhausted, it is not very likely you will be able to squeeze out something creative from your head. When you're drained, everything you do will lack luster. Don't be afraid to take a break, or even a nap. Have some coffee or tea and watch a little TV. You're ideas will be better when your mind is fresh. Also, creative ideas will come more easily. Often, we view breaks as a waste of time. What we really have to keep in mind is how much time you waste when you can't come up with fresh and creative ideas because you are too tired.
Being creative doesn't have to be a problem and it is definitely something all of us can improve with a little work.
Keep in mind that your creativity in class can inspire your students to be creative as well. As Dr. Seuss said, “Think left and think right, think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”