|Posted by agracemartin on August 12, 2015 at 9:25 PM|
My Problem Solving through Communications Technology instructor posed the following questions to my class:
- Do you consider yourself a creative person? Has this always been the case or has it changed recently?
- How do you model creativity for students in your classroom?
- How do you encourage and teach creativity in your classroom?
- What aspects of the problem solving process are you most comfortable with? Which cause discomfort or uncertainty?
- When was the last time you used a problem solving process? Was the process you used effective?
- Why might innovation seem less common in education?
I have always been a creative person. When I was very young I would create fashion designs on paper-made dresses or come up with imaginative games to play. In school I started to write poetry and short stories and excelled in art class. As a teenager and young adult I let my creativity be confined to writing my fantasy novels, and did not let it shine in other areas. In fact, when getting my performance review while working at a golf course my boss told me that I was extremely uncreative. This hurt my feelings and I began to wonder how I could show my innovative side in the workforce. Now that I am pursuing an education degree, I see many ways to express my creativity in the classroom. I can set up the physical environment with posters and manipulatives (such as my Newton's cradle and slinky's), introduce each class with a two-minute mindfulness breathing exercise to calm and centre everyone's emotions, and especially create wonderful learning opportunities through hands-on activities, experiments, exploratory stations, and project-based learning. Teachers are highly creative people because they are always differentiating and constructing new learning opportunities for themselves and their students. As an adult I feel more inspired to become resourceful and innovative as an author, family member, and teacher.
In my classroom I have modeled creative and critical thinking to develop the scientific attitude skills of scientific inquiry, environmental stewardship, and collaboration. For example, when learning about alternative forms of energy I showed my class a video clip from the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and followed it with class discussion and thought-provoking questions about the values of practicality and convenience versus pursuing environmentally-friendly products. Setting up hands-on exploratory activities and experiments was also a fun way for my grade 9’s and Science 14’s to engage in an inquiry-based approach to the concepts they were learning. My students generally saw these approaches as creative and entertaining; their engagement was evinced through my formative assessments of the activities.
Teaching the cognitive processes of critical and creative thinking to find solutions to environmental issues was a theme throughout my units. During class time I would encourage students to come up with their own ideas and explanations of concepts. On assignments and tests I wrote open-ended questions with options for which topic students preferred. I asked, “justify why you are for or against a particular energy source such as coal, nuclear, wind, or hydro-electric power using benefits and drawbacks to support your argument.” This may not seem to be a very creative question but the responses that I received were remarkable. My students brought up wonderful cost/benefit analysis arguments that were meaningful to them after our time in class and clearly exuded understanding and passion for their well-justified opinions.
Now that I have received my PSIII placement teaching Science 10 and I am so excited to be planning a student-centered project that is designed to give back to the community in any form that the students choose. While this is extremely open-ended I have developed suggestions for students that include: research paper/poster/video supplying others with information on an environmental or technological issue, development of a community gardens with information on maintenance and yields, construction of an electrical generator, or even an inquiry into “earth ships,” the environmentally-friendly self-sustaining homes that are essentially made from tires and dirt. I’m really looking forward to this imaginative project and hope that I can learn more about how my students could use technology to help them with problem-solving in this upcoming project.
Categories: Teaching Blog