Six ways teaching creativity can supercharge your students’ future
It is essential that we empower young people to turn their ideas into action and their aspirations into reality, so that they’re best prepared to create opportunities and make the most of what the future holds. At the RSA, we believe schools should develop the creative capacities of both their learners and educators to achieve this – one way in which we support this is by working with the RSA Family of Academies.
Creativity accounts for 26 million jobs in the UK, and it is predicted that by 2030 we will need 1 million new creative careers to ensure the stability of our economy. As such, employers around the world are consistently asserting the need for a more creative workforce, and for this reason we must help schools to do more to harness the creativity of their young people.
But how do we truly enable the development of this important skill for the 21st century world of work? Below are six points of guidance based on the 12 principles from our report on giving schools the power to create. Take a look and see how these tips could help you to deliver creativity in your classroom and get students job-ready:
- Develop ‘design thinking’, both for students and staff
This is an approach to problem solving which views mistakes as part of finding the solution – it is a really powerful approach to teaching and learning, as well as a great skill to develop for young people’s professional futures. Read more about it here. You can also find great resources on developing strategic approaches to problem solving with real-life scenarios in the LifeSkills problem solving skills lesson plan.
- Stay level-headed about technology
New technologies are changing what people need to learn and how people are learning, as well as how we access and manage education. It’s therefore essential that teachers proactively learn about new technology alongside their students, in order to get improved learning outcomes and subsequent raised aspirations for the future. You can also find some good ideas for the creative use of technology here.
- Make it REAL with creative project-based learning
Why not try out REAL projects to inject some creativity into your lesson planning! These are designed for project-based enquiry-oriented learning, which is developed by both the teacher and students based on real interests and questions that have meaning in the ‘real world’. You can also read the Innovation Unit’s teacher’s guide here for help designing and running creative projects.
- Love your subject, and foster powerful knowledge
There is growing evidence showing that schools can successfully teach creativity. However, what is particularly important is for students to develop significant content knowledge and long term memory, as these are key foundations for creative development. Creativity can come from a number of sources, from resilience and strategy building to curiosity and day-dreaming, so it’s useful to bear in mind that these are areas that should be supported through your lesson planning. Simple ice-breakers, like collaborative creative challenges or memory retention exercises, can be a great place to start.
- Measure what you value
It’s really useful when planning how to best embed creativity into your lessons that you develop clear and consistent processes to assess the creative capacities of your learners. We define creative capacities as capabilities and dispositions needed to generate new ideas and turn them into action. For guidance on how to start establishing the creative capacities of your students, why not take a look at the creative habits of mind assessment wheel – this provides a breakdown of these capacities, developed with teachers in schools, and can be used as an evaluation tool.
- Don’t go it alone!
Looking for support? It’s always helpful to engage with resources and opportunities beyond the classroom. You can find links to great arts and cultural organisations to work with and help build creative projects into your teaching here. LifeSkills also offers a whole series of resources for both teachers and young people on creative thinking; why not try using the site’s search function to track down all the creativity content on offer?
 Nesta, “The creative economy and the future of employment”, https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_creative_economy_and_the_future_of_employment.pdf [accessed: 05.07.16]
 Abadzi, Martelli & Primativo, “Explorations of Creativity: A review for educators and policy making” https://www.wise-qatar.org/sites/default/files/wisematters-cognitivecreativity.pdf [accessed 04.07.16]