A Creative Mind
“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have" - Maya Angelou
We have all heard creativity being used so often in conversations. It could be when someone said "you're so creative" or " that is such a creative idea" or "let's be more creative." The word "creativity" has so many connotations attached to it. Is it a skill? Is it an outlook? Is it a tool to enhance an existing idea? Does creativity always lead to a solution for a problem at hand?
At Mountain Village Foundation, we describe creativity as an original way of thinking that has the power to influence change directly or indirectly. This could lead to the creation of an object or communication of an idea.
The real question is why is creativity so important? Creativity gives us a chance to solve problems around us. It helps us to add new perspective, to ways in which we think. It encourages us to have an open mind. In short, it is the fuel that allows us to continuously grow and create new realities that were once only imagined. And isn't this the very essence of an educated mind and the foremost responsibility of a school?
Creativity in a traditional educational setting took shape in the form of drawing, poetry, story writing, plays, etc. No doubt, these are powerful mediums to express an original idea that has the power to influence minds and build perspective and critical thought. But what is of utmost importance is for educators to understand that creativity can be unleashed and enhanced when the child has the space to build an original thought or an idea and express it freely not just share an already expressed idea beautifully.
What are simple ways in which an educator like a teacher allows creativity to be explored and enhanced within a classroom? It is simple. Firstly, by accepting and acknowledging that all children already have original ideas and just need a space to express them freely. Secondly, by celebrating such effort even if the new idea differs from what you think and how you think. Thirdly, by making creativity a part of daily classes.
Here, we are sharing with you some simple and easy practices that we have seen encourage creative thinking in children:
1. Make something useful from waste lying around you: This encourages children to use existing resources in an original way. We celebrate children by letting them know that what they have created is unique and will be difficult to find another exact copy in stores, in the markets. This boosts their confidence and motivates them to create newer useful products.
2. Games: Games are helpful in building soft skills and games like Pictionary encourage a lot of creative thinking. What we do is slightly different. We encourage children to create their own rules to play existing games so they don't get bored of the same games and find it exciting to challenge themselves through original new rules. And what's easy about this. Children already do this. We have all, already done this, but when they see this encouragement from a teacher, it makes them value their already existing creativity even more.
3. Challenge yourself: There are several activities that encourage creativity. One that we have seen highly effective is "find 1000 ways to use a particular object." This allows children to view an object in so many different ways and is an easy way for them to use this skill in other areas like debates, drawing or poetry.
4. The first step to creativity is curiosity: We have adopted this practice from educators who use this often. Always ask WHY! Ask more WHY if needed! This simple way is an automatic stimulus to use your own thinking and be creative.
Why did we want to share these with you? We believe that these practices are simple to understand and easy to execute during everyday class time or in between lessons as fillers or end of the class rewards and in our experience, children find them fun. Albert Einstein said, "creativity is contagious" and we hope that through small practices like these you and your students can see the magic it creates and its ripple effect in their lives and lives of others around them.
Lastly, if you'd like to set up a wall full of posters of these practices in your classroom or teachers' room, feel free to write to us for free poster size printables and we'll be happy to share them with you.