In ELA we challenge the notion that creativity cannot be learned. As with any skill, it takes practice and the right methods to hack your brain. In this course, we focused on creativity through critical thinking and problem-solving; as educators, we have a duty to create spaces where everyone has the opportunity to be creative and bring out the best in themselves.
The new edition of the course “Creativity for the future: promoting Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving in the classroom” took place in Tenerife from 15/05/2022 to 21/05/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Katalin Elekes from ELTE Trefort Ágoston Gyakorló Gimnázium in Hungary; Erik Grahn and Helene Ericsson from ProCivitas Privata Gymnasium AB in Sweden; Inga Strante and Sandra Öberg from Birkaskolan in Sweden; Eline Beevers and Sofie Van Dyck from Sint Ursula instituut in Belgium; Donatas Vasiliauskas from Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium in Lithuania; Lisa Pelgrims and Sarah Maricau from Heilig-Hartinstituut Lyceum in Belgium.
First of all, participants touched on the topic of learning and innovation skills, digital skills and also career and life skills, focusing their attention on the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Most importantly, we learned through hands-on practice how differently our brain and thinking skills function when there’s a problem to solve.
Participants were presented with a series of challenges to help them reflect how common barriers to out of the box thinking can be easily overcome by applying specific strategies. For example, using the 6 Thinking Hats method, participants were able to put into practice “lateral thinking” and devise its concrete application to some existing content they are teaching. Through individual practice and peer review it became noticeable that this method can be used in any subject, from science to language learning, but also as a formative assessment tool, to encourage students thinking outside the box.
Moving to visual strategies, participants experienced new activities which could be used to stimulate students' creative expression and could be a basis for brainstorming or discussing their ideas. We challenged an “only-art” perception of what “visual thinking” encompasses, by proposing an innovative and digital perspective.
A reflection on the importance of training students’ critical thinking skills was needed in a world where most of the time they are passively exposed to loads of information. Participants engaged in reasoning, questioning and debating activities that could be adapted to different classroom situations to help students become active and aware agents of their own learning.
But to introduce a good dose of creativity and critical thinking in the classroom, not only we shall struggle to find new solutions, as innovation often comes from reframing traditional tools. Our participants enjoyed playing traditional games, and had an opportunity to adapt them to their own subjects while building a stronger learning perspective on them. We also had the opportunity to find out about our participants’ schools whilst exploring some not-so-traditional ICT tools.
Every member of the group was taking an active approach during the course. Each day we tested the group’s progress with a game of 30 Circles. With a new day came a new topic, and our participants had to fill in all the circles in 3 minutes. It was a great way to visually see their creative progress!
We wish you the best of luck with implementing these new strategies into your classroom, and hope to see you soon!
Discover more about this course at: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/creative-learning.html