Why is Creativity Important for Students?
By encouraging creative thinking, students benefit in a huge variety of ways. Although there are numerous advantages of creativity for students, I decided to highlight four that make the biggest impact on students.
Outlet for Expression
Creativity has long been enjoyed by all due to its being an easy and accessible outlet for expression. Students and adults alike can express their feelings, emotions, and unique thoughts and ideas through creative activities. Be it writing a story, sharing a personal poem or narrative, or composing a song set to music, creative expression is a unique experience that can be heard and enjoyed by others while instilling feelings of accomplishment and value in those sharing their personal ideas and emotions.
Additionally, creative expression allows students to be heard in a different way, and it allows the most timid of students (who would generally shy away from self-expression) to share their thoughts and feelings.
Increases Student Engagement
Let’s face it; being creative is just plain fun! Creative activities generally produce feelings of excitement and joy. Students are especially susceptible to this “side effect.” Students want learning to be fun, and when it is, they automatically want to take part.
The same can be said of creativity. When teachers employ its use, students are much more likely and even excited to participate in classroom assignments and projects. Also, when teachers employ creative activities, there are truly no limits to what students can come up with. This fact alone can help those less-than-enthusiastic students want to participate.
When students express themselves through creative means, they begin to develop a better sense of self and increase their self-confidence. As stated before, there are no right or wrong answers when thinking creatively; thus, students are less afraid of failure. When this happens, students are able to freely think and discover greatly possibilities. This helps students find the value in their own thoughts and ideas, and, in turn, this helps to build their level of self-confidence and inner strength.
Enhances Cognitive Skills
One of the best aspects of creativity is that it enhances cognitive skills in students. Creativity requires students to “think outside the box,” and that statement could not be more true! Creativity fosters problem solving and critical thinking skills. Creativity can require students to make something out of nothing, develop solutions to problems, or invent better methods of doing something! All of these activities require students to dig deep and explore their options which strength their cognitive abilities. These improved cognitive skills are equally important as students enter the workforce!
What are the Benefits of Student Collaboration?
Interestingly enough, creativity and collaboration share many of the same student benefits! When students work together, there are no limits on what they can achieve. Let’s outline a few of the advantages of student collaboration:
Increases Student Engagement
As with creativity, when something is fun, students are more likely to participate. When students are given an opportunity to work with classmates and friends, this greatly encourages student participation! When students are excited for an activity or project, the quality of their work generally increases, too.
Enhances Cognitive Skills
When utilizing student collaboration, I tend to group particular students together on purpose. I like to include a mixture of ability levels in each group and include students with different strengths and weaknesses. Why?
- This provides a learning support for struggling students. Students who struggle developing their own thoughts and ideas can learn from and expand their thinking by listening to the ideas of others.
- This provides opportunities for leadership for students with stronger cognitive skills. Those students who naturally share their thoughts and ideas without fear are generally the ones who “take the lead” in group collaboration. Those students help foster and grow ideas in others by leading and directing the group conversation; thus, creating an optimal situation for growth of creative thinking skills.
As with creativity, collaboration increases self-confidence in students. As stated previously, students learn from one another during times of group collaboration. Because of this, students gain a higher sense of self and increased self-confidence as they can find support for their ideas within their group. This also helps to validate student thoughts and opinions.
How to Explore Creativity Through Collaboration
Creativity and collaboration produce an amazing combination that all teachers should take advantage of within their classrooms. As outlined, their positive impact on students is undeniable! Here are some ways that you can implement them in your classroom:
Create a Story
A classic student assignment that requires creativity is to have students write their own stories! This activity can be adapted easily for collaborative group settings. Students should come up with a story together. Then, once it is completed, they will act it out for the class!
This activity can also be completed virtually by employing the use of breakout rooms in Google Meet or Zoom. Students can create their stories and use a screen-recording app, such as Loom, to record their performance of the story.
TikTok for the Classroom
TikTok is an app that most students use on a daily basis. For this activity, students can work in groups to create and record a TikTok video about a topic being covered in class. Groups should be challenged to present the content uniquely using visuals and music to make the video stand out.
Build a Model
Another classic assignment that has been used for years is to require students to build a model of something that is being studied. For instance: life cycles, water cycles, the solar system, cell structure, etc. For this activity, teachers add a twist of creativity and collaboration to make it slightly more challenging.
Students should be placed into groups and tasked with building a model of a particular topic. Groups must construct their models from a varied selection of unusual materials supplied by the teacher. Students must use their creative skills to brainstorm possibilities on how to use the materials to accurately depict the topic. To make this activity even more challenging and exciting, teachers can add a time limit for group work.
Construct a Picture Collage
Regardless of the topic being studied, visual art can often be incorporated in learning. Groups can construct painted collages to help further their understanding of classroom topics. Students can complete their own painting individually before compiling group paintings together for the finished product, or groups can work together to complete each section of the collage together.
Overall, opportunities for creativity and collaboration create a win-win situation for teachers and students!