Many of you know that my blog posts are often inspired by articles, books, stories, lessons from within a classroom or a recent experience I have had. This blog is no different. As I was perusing Twitter, I found this article posted by Eric Sheninger.
It seems there is scientific research to support that we are most creative when we do not turn off our self-monitoring brain during the creative process. In the article, one of the most fascinating bits of research shared was having jazz musicians or rappers perform or create original riffs while being monitored by an MRI machine. The results are as you would expect. Self-monitoring brain off = creativity ON.
The last two years have been like a roller coaster ride for me. There have been twists and turns, highs and lows, and heart-wrenching drops. I am, however, a musician and a creative person by nature. “Creation” for me, means performing, practicing, improvising, writing, painting, learning something new, or DIY. The creative process is different for all people but the most interesting thing is that during the times I am creating I also feel happy, energized, enthusiastic, passionate, and excited. But I also feel like I am productive and that my ideas or creations have worth. That, of course improves self-esteem, self-worth, and self -image. What an amazing cylce!
You know what I am going to say. What about for our students??? How can we foster creativity in our classrooms so that children feel valued?
- Give students a choice. Nothing says, “I respect you” more than giving students an option.
- Create spaces that support creativity. These can be stations or centers. Maybe they are artistic corners or spaces on the floor where children can write, color, or think.
- Ask children what they want to learn about, how they would like to learn it or what their interests are. I get it. We all have to teach a viable curriculum in our classrooms but maybe if we adjust how we teach the content, we can allow for creativity with our students.
- Promote growth and achievement in soft skills. This means reinforcing collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and when students try something more than once (and listen to feedback and improve.) These skills are essential and will be beneficial to them for years to come.
- Celebrate! When things are going well, tell them and tell their parents. No one loves to celebrate more than children and parents bask in the attention of a call home from school, celebrating a child’s success!
When I reflect on my most productive times and the times I was at the absolute top of my game, it was when I was creative. As I became more constricted by those around me, I was less creative, less happy, less productive, and in some cases down right miserable. I know, now, that I cannot let others impact my creativity, for by doing so I let them impact my mindset.