Creativity Workshops For Teaching and Learning

Exploring Creativity

Creativity is a process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts, and their substantiation into a product that has novelty and originality. From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both “originality” and “appropriateness.” An alternative, more everyday conception of creativity is that it is simply the act of making something new (New World Encyclopedia).  The most creative people find ways around obstacles because they see them not just as roadblocks but also as opportunities. Creativity expands our perceptions and along with expanded perceptions come new ways of problem solving. This workshop will explore some of those possibilities by:

  • Discovering your natural capacity for creativity through a range of hands-on activities
  • Exploring creative thinking strategies and how you can apply these strategies to teaching and learning
  • Experimenting with ideation tools that supersede traditional brainstorming in a fun, inspiring action-filled environment

Connecting the Dots

The challenge to find new ways to engage students to connect the dots to learning may entail teaching and learning in ways we never utilized previously. However, bidding farewell to the traditional notion of teaching and learning is one of the most difficult behaviours to set aside.  This interactive workshop will explore some creative ways to connect the dots by allowing learners to mind-map their class notes in ways that make meaning for them. It will also showcase how group-work can make use of technology to move from boring to exciting in real time connections. Students learn how to develop the mental processes necessary to connect new information with prior knowledge; organize information into patterns and relationships; and formulate personal landmarks that make information processing automatic, fast, and predictable. Through reflective awareness and visualization teachers can provide learning opportunities that stimulate and develop cognitive structures in 4 pivotal areas: build caring relationships with students, encourage students to be reflectively aware, assist students to use their imaginations to visualize and teach students to use cognitive structures to process information.

Putting Creativity to Work

Re-ignite your creative spark. Creating a creative atmosphere institutionally can be very difficult.  There may be pockets of practice and a fragmented approach to the integration of creativity in the curriculum.  Providing a growing understanding and making explicit what creativity means institutionally is the first step in engaging with this challenge. There are pedagogies for the creative development of teachers. Activities (including co-curricular experiences) that engage learners with the unfamiliar, perplexing, complex and unpredictable, that encourage them to take risks and not be penalised if they do not succeed, and involve them in challenges that demand new understandings, meanings and capabilities, are more likely to require them to use their creativity than activities that only require them to replicate what they already know and can do. Our learning ecologies, ‘the process(es) we create in a particular context for a particular purpose that provide us with opportunities, relationships and resources for learning, development and achievement’ are an important expression of creativity. This workshop will:

  • Build creativity and innovation capabilities at the personal level and within your organisation
  • Identify and remove barriers to innovation
  • Present your ideas, get people on board, and turn your ideas into action
  • Develop strategic design-thinking skills
  • Map an execution strategy

Using Heutagogy for Creativity in Teaching and Learning

Heutagogy is the study of self-determined learning.  It is also an attempt to challenge some ideas about teaching and learning that still prevail in teacher centred learning. Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most every day acts. Combining heutagogy and creativity for teaching and learning will produce capable individuals ready to embark on successful careers and lives.  Capable people in the workplace exhibit the following traits:

  • Self-efficacy in knowing how to learn and continuously reflect on the learning process
  • Communication and teamwork skills, working well with others and being openly communicative
  • Creativity, particularly in applying competencies to new and unfamiliar situations and by being adaptable and flexible in approach

This workshop explores the strategies to embed these two conceptual frameworks into the curriculum for graduate success.It also poses the questionshow does the curriculum accommodate students’ lifewide experiences and recognise their creativity in those experiences? Is there scope for developing this aspect of the curriculum?

Imagination and Creativity

In 1995 Maxine Green argued that our imaginations are the most important faculty we possess, yet many educational systems do little to develop that fundamental creativity that lies within each of us waiting to unfold. Creativity and Imagination flourish in environments that embrace diversity, collaboration and interdisciplinarity. It is therefore timely to integrate creative styles of teaching and learning in our educational practices. In so doing, we allow students opportunities to explore their creativity within the formal educational settings.  An environment that contributes positively to the development of creative potential should include: allowing adequate time for creative thinking; rewarding creative ideas, thoughts and products; encouraging risk-taking; allowing mistakes; imagining from various viewpoints; exploring the environment; questioning assumptions (Sternberg & Williams, 1996). This workshop will explore tenets of the following areas:

  1. the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially of things never seen or never experienced directly
  2. the part of the mind where ideas, thoughts, and images are formed
  3. the ability to think of ways of dealing with difficulties or problems

Greene, M. 1995. Releasing the imagination. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Sternberg, R. & Williams, W. 1996. How to develop student creativity. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Learning through Arts-Based Activities

An artful leader must know how to lead people creatively. Since all great art pushes boundaries beyond established norms, it can teach us about leadership, empathy, ambiguity, change, courage, and creativity. The arts take us on adventures in creative expression that help us safely explore unknown territory, overcome fear, and take conceptual risks. Art-based activities can be used strategically to create safety, build trust, find shared values, shift perceptions and generate breakthrough ideas by incorporating right-brain imagination with left-brain logic and analysis. In order for students to develop ability to think critically and creatively to address important societal problems, faculty can develop activities that incorporate social issues within a framework of ideals as the impetus for course development.

Egan, K. (2008). The future of education: Reimagining our schools from the ground up . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Egan, K. (2011). Learning in depth: A simple innovation that can transform schooling. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.