What do you see as the biggest barriers to fostering originality and creativity in students?
Tight time frames, lesson plans that have no room for spontaneous exploration. Everything needs to be planned and filled up with something. Let’s get back to periods of boredom, factor in not been busy and go with the flow. Allow for opportunities where we let our imaginations run wild.
Fear of failure and judgement by peers
The tight time line, trying to catch up students that miss a day makes it challenging. Keeping on top of them all makes it challenging. I think it is a barrier to my originality as well as theres.
The vision to let them be themselves rather than having to constantly be categorised into a box that society has created for them.
Yes the fear of not being liked is enormous and overwhelming
The limits and boundaries we put into Primary school playgrounds is where it starts too. No cartwheels, nothing in your hands so you can’t hurt someone etc. etc.
Let kids have some items and let them create new games, less restrictions at home, at school, less at work with constant OHS issues etc.
But of course people sue about anything and everything and that’s another issue of society.
A healthy amount of non restrictions so more things can be played with, imagined with etc.
Absolutely agree – i love just watching my kids and tell my husband all the time to “just watch them” – their imagination is inspiring!
It is so frustrating to see and hear parents blame schoold for everything.
the curriculum these days is very tight and there is more and more less time to teach. It is often the case as assessments expand teachers find themselves often teaching to the assessment schedule which stifles originality and creativity.
Great point. Tight time line makes challenging to keep everyone at the same level
I really see automation as a threat to creativity in students
Mee too! Even in free time at schools they are told what they can and cant do!
Following a prescriptive approach doesn’t foster originality. The focus is on what needs to be written to clear the assessment.
Hi, yes I see that too.
We need a system change preferably one that looks at the real job market which will involve taking away the restraints of the curriculum which is now apparent is no longer reflecting the current job opportunities for the learner
Time. We don’t have time to teach the content, let alone time to consistently deliver it in ways that enable the development of creativity. The system requires the boxes to be ticked, and it is hard to quantify, so they don’t ask for it or allow time for it to be developed.
I agree this is not an activity within the original scope, but now we need to change the scope if we want to transform the system
Yes, too many things have to be covered and it does not leave much time for playing games on the topic, in order to learn to think outside the box. Many subjects could be brought across in other ways, if we had more time in class.
I agree, we need more opportunities to program for whatever ideas come up at the time to be explored.
The restraints of the curriculum
I agree with you 100%
The bigger systems…..being told what to think, tick the box attitudes, not allowing individuals to explore, discover or imagine!!
yes, the box-ticking and death by worksheet is hindering today’s students
that is aptly said.
Safe spaces and time to play with the idea.
Usually we don’t allow nor permit the time to “try”.
I agree. We are always feeling ‘time pressured!’.
Time is an issue.
We all seem to be hard pressed with time and so are the students.
We all have mental barriers to creativity and innovation in our heads.The knowledge barrier is one of the main barriers to creativity and innovation. It exists because your creative potential is largely influenced by your personal experience and knowledge, your character traits and your creative abilities. How to overcome this barrier to creativity and innovation
Very thoughtful. The good thing I guess is that we can expand our knowledge with our commitment to learning.
If the time and effort required to produce something creative and original is not assessed, students may not see the purpose or point of spending the time and effort doing it.
So true as it is the generation that will only do or learn things when they see a real need or purpose for it 🙂
Whenever i have introduced exercises such as simulated industrial experience into the lesson it generates a great deal of creativity and original thought as well as a competitive aspect. Thus deviating from the norm of curriculum content is sometimes beneficial in fostering creativity.
Yes. Often our assessments do not allow &/or encourage students creativity or original thoughts…..the answer is either right or wrong 🙁
Time. I am early childhood/ primary trained and I have spent a lot of time studying the benefits of play based learning, theoretically this is fantastic. The benefits of this are wide spread and positively impact on all developmental domains. In reality though, there is only so much time in a day, and unfortunately non-structured, play based learning is difficult to assess. These benefits, however valuable, do not align well with the outcomes of our syllabus. Yes we can incorporate some of these principles into our existing teaching and assessment, however if we are guiding children’s play to suit an assessment requirement, it is no longer ‘their’ play, and no longer authentic. It seems that the general attitude is “there are more important things to do” with the limited time we have.
This seems a sad reality when kids can no longer be kids because it falls outside of a structured program/approach. And we are all slaves to the agenda passed onto us by work
Definitely the lack of free time. Students are pushed from one subject area to the next without time to be creative. There is so much pressure on achieving results, that the free time/thinking time just doesn’t exist.
I 100% agree
Originality/creativity is something that I have felt has been lacking for quiet some time. when you take this outside of the classroom how often are we seeing people involved in undertaking creative activities. It is like we are loosing a whole range of skills because we are not encouraged to be creative but it is more socially accepted to be on devices and being creative. When you put this back in the classroom it seems as if this relates to us all following the exact same pathway as each other and what has been before. Bring back that creativity.
I believe one of the biggest barriers is a rigid Syllabus that is content heavy and assessment driven.
And that is what I believe is our challenge. We all know that the content and assessments are what we have to work towards but it is the journey we take our students on to get to that point that will make the difference.
I agree wholeheartedly, Fiona. Teachers would love to be more creative. Students would love to be more creative, but to be creative requires time and space.
I totally agree and this leaves no time for creativity or originality .
I agree with you-students were thrown in at the deep end due to pandemic and no adjustments were made hence I believe that creativity is considered as a mean not an end, thus in the field of education, teaching and learning, it is introduced and observed to instil higher-order thinking skills in student Stress barriers for creativity are all factors that can cause the blockage of creativity due to stress. These factors can be emotional, mental or even physical problems because of having to make an enormous adjustment.
For My students it is the need to conform to assessment criteria, performance evidence and demonstration of knowledge set out by a governing body that doesn’t make allowances for creative non-conforming student submissions.
I agree Ben, particularly for upper school/ATAR students who are driven by the need to perform well in order to enter a desired university course
Join the discussion…As a vocational teacher it never seems to amaze me that upper school students only ever hear about one way to achieve their desired career. We must always remember that their are back doors as so to speak to get where they want to in their life. It does not matter so much if it is not the quickest way there. Just remembering that some times life’s journeys teach valuable life long lessons that have to be learnt before the student can move forward in their career development.
Absolutely! Conformity with standardised norms hardly leaves much room for creativity or imaginative thinking. Not to mention that these characteristics don’t always grade well in this system, only compounding the issue.
As a teacher, it is difficult to foster this in students when we are so laden with paperwork and ensuring we all ‘stay within the lines’.
Join the discussion…Knowing how to bend those lines is our challenge. We also need to be the leaders in creativity.
I agree, Nicole. We’d all love to foster this creativity and originality, but we have certain outcomes and tasks to perform.
Yes I agree. The need to follow processes and procedures to meet exit requirements takes over.
Not embracing “left field” ideas because we are not used to them and they don’t fit with what we are delivering.
Social conditioning by social media and stereotyping is preventing students to think outside the box, thus being creative.
I think it is great the new unit Critical thinking is now included to teach students to be creative, to empathise and solve problems.
Finding a way to foster originality and creativity in a science base learning is not easy. So much of the unit involve a great deal of theoretical knowledge. Is there an opportunity for innovation at all levels of study and training. There is a great opportunity for innovation and creativity in the research and development areas. But can that be stifled by the pressures of funding. Are there still opportunities for research for the love of science and exploring new ideas?
How can I as a Tafe teacher with limited time and strict training package guidelines encourage creative thinking in my students.
I have more questions than answers.
Idling is a pastime, so crucial for creativity, but unfortunately, students don’t have time to be idle anymore, each moment is filled up by the sheer pressure of living in this 24/7 connected, modern , multi-skilled, multitasking society. even teachers! Whatever time and energy students have it is passed, in doing what is expected, whether it is to do with social life or study. They don’t have time to think up things on their own. Same I see in teachers, being creative is a waste of time. There are e-books, lesson plans, activities, assessments, already there, and teaching has become just an administration of that. Syllabus driven, and competency based training does that. And students don’t get a chance to do the same either.
Delivery time constraints coupled with training package parameters within VET can impact the opportunity to foster originality and creativity in students
Unfortunately the hours for Tafe courses has been drastically due to budget. Training Packages and assessment guidelines leave little time to cover more than the basic requirements.
agree, I think it is great the new unit Critical thinking is going to be included.
it would be great if an element of creative thinking could be embedded into all units
As teachers we can encourage critical thinking in the types of activities we do in the classroom
I think peer pressure and trying to conform to the norm on social media distracts students from being creative – also the fear of being seen as different if they come up with something creative (though they may be seen as innovative and smart) – they don’t want to risk doing something that is different and have not time to be creative as they are watching others be creative (on tik tok etc) – they are led by influencers on social media
agree, social conditioning is a big thing this time of age.
Exactly. Imagine the embarrassment if we did something out of the box.
the lack of understanding we have to how learners use technology
Unless the students see it on social media, there is no originality. which is a great shame
students want to go with what ever else is going – they do not want to be shot down for thinking differently
That is true – if they do they become influencers and can earn good money for doing something creative but generally something that may be deemed silly
We need to encourage students to be confident to have a sound opinion.
We do need to encourage our students to go beyond and push themselves. Many of them strive for mediocrity.
Social media is a huge distraction for students.
I totally agree with what you have written
I concur because they are living their lives looking at what someone else is doing on social media and are not living their own lives and thinking their own thoughts.
Glued to devices, following and mimicking, not wanting to be original to avoid negative feedback on social media
exactly. mimicking is huge. never wanting to receiving negative feedback
As we grow up we loose imagination & creativity due to the structural processes of teaching which further creates a barrier in our learning and in the essence of learning.
Distractedness and relegation of imagination are main factors to nip originality and creativity in people, not only students. If we give students rubric and they don’t follow, they fail. When I was a student, I did not follow the requirements closed, I failed. Imagination is not part of most of our subject content and assessment requirements.
Too much watching, not enough reading
Not enough reading, so not enough thinking or reflection.
In todays world the lack of critical thinking in a neoliberalism environment creates a barrier in our learning and being creative
or is it our lack of understanding of the new way of learning
Sticking to devices constantly can be a barrier to fostering creativity in students.
Focusing on others’ creation and following it kill their own desire to create and are not able to free their mind space to create themselves.
Absolutely agree but there is no stopping every educational institute is pushing the devices in some form or the other.
Exactly, following and not thinking or creating for themselves
agreed. social media is more important to them – making sure everyone agrees with them/like then
As an Educator of my Craft ,I always really enjoyed preparing creative ways to teach students new skills and knowledge, and unfortunately over time i spend my time making sure compliance is covered and boxes are ticked .this is also effecting the students enthusiasm of learning.
Moreover, there is no incentive for them to try, and make mistakes. They are encouraged to get it right!
We have to spend so much time ticking boxes, where do find the time in our work schedule to find ways to introduce and foster creative thinking in the classroom.
I agree. It is difficult to find the time to create new ways of teaching, when we are so busy completing all of the paper work, ticking all the boxes, signing everything and seemingly filling in the same paperwork 3 different times!
Lack of imagination. Being distracted. lack of perseverance.
Many years ago I delivered real skills to students, using many hands on, creative and fun learning methods and techniques.
Now it is just a rush to tick boxes and sign forms, preventing students to learn through creativity.
How very true Katie
That is it in a nutshell Katie, unfortunately this is creating a shortage in creative students ,all the paperwork is stifling opportunity to be creative.
Once upon a time, students learned a variety of skills that built up to being assessed with integrated assessments that replicated the workplace, using creativity and originality. The system some of us operate in is stifling the creativity and originality of students. Making sure assessments are done in a specific way, disregarding skills that overlap, and forcing students to duplicate tasks over and over again to meet the compliance requirements laid out by regulators. Unfortunately, I believe the system is one of the biggest barriers here.
Yes Lee, I agree with your comments – being bogged down in compliance, meeting assessment requirements and being time poor does not allow for creativity and exploration of thought.
So very true.
Spot on Lee! And we as educators then spend even more time completing compliance, rather than following up with individual students
Lee, very well said
We seem to be compelled in education (particularly in VET) by compliance and meeting financial goals rather than fostering creativity and imagination, not only are we directed to teach to assessments, we are limited in our delivery time to ensure financial viability the student is almost the last consideration of education system – as long as we have all the boxes ticked and a signature on every page education is guaranteed
Unfortunately….I agree. The only flexibility we have is how we teach in the classroom to bring in creativity and foster originality. I have started to change up the learning activities that are not prescribed by my organisation – just to give students the opportunity to express themselves and challenge themselves to be creative.
It’s very true. Teaching to assessments leaves very little time to do activities that encourage our students to think outside the square.
The biggest barrier is ourselves as educators
We have to create and foster an environment where this can flourish
We can blame something on every generation, but as a teacher/educator, we need to let our students be creative, be original, make mistakes but help them understand that it is ok to make mistakes but the important thing is to get them to learn from them
I don’t know what I have done this year, but I have classes where one out of 15 students is distracted by their phone, the rest are too busy solving problems and building circuits – but this hasn’t always happened
That’s right, Paul. I always try to make my students think about finding answers rather than giving them the answers unless they get stuck.
I see that as we have specific content we need to get through, while ticking boxes for accountability to show we have done this, we run out of time to allow for creativity. There is too much paperwork now, not allowing the assessors (us) to be the tool and to leave it at that. Now we have to give too much unnecessary written feedback, which could have been summed up in a matter of words orally, then the students have to tick boxes to say they have read and understood the feedback. All time which could have been spent allowing for creative discussion and thinking outside the box on different ways to complete tasks. I also find that when working with year 11 and 12 students who are completing some of their studies at TAFE, that they don’t really still want to be at school but their parents want them to fit inside the box of completing their HSC and going to university. So many students don’t fit in that box (I didn’t) and yet they are made to waste time, which could have been spent, as I say: “choosing a different pathway”, completing studies in other areas more suited to their interests where they can work with their creativity as they would be invested in it.
Oh Fiona, I can feel everyone’s pain here
It’s funny how expectations are placed on students from their care givers, with the best intentions, however that only causes frustrations for everyone, except the care giver
And I agree with you, how did teaching become so ticking the boxes
They need to employ people who do this function to allow us teachers to focus on our function
It’s interesting to get an insight on what you deal with as I am the after school teaching and experience some of what you are saying, although my students have obtained an apprenticeship and are working towards a career
Time constraints to ” cover the syllabus” to get the structured assessments done and reported in time is one major factor. Teachers are under pressure to meet deadlines, so the little bit of creativity on the student’s part also goes unnoticed.
Besides, all teachers would have their own capability(limitation) to appreciate creativity in a certain area, they may not be able to nurture all students needs
Shaista, that appears to be the big killer of creativity – having to cover a syllabus…. regardless of having to meet a set time frame
The teacher should see the syllabus then their creativity skills then determine how the syllabus will be administered
You made an excellent point Shaista that I have always in mind. We are so much bombarded with tasks, duties, assessments, and syllabus that we have no time left for doing something creative for our students or to make them do things creatively.
‘Teaching to the test’ (assessments) and constant paperwork around this is the biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity in students.
Yes, our teachers are all sick of feeling like we are just teaching to the test.
No time for this concept, just teach and get assessments done. Sad but true.
Yes, and unfortunately this approach does nothing to improve students attention span.
With hours for delivery reducing every year, it is getting more and more like this
agreed time is less, paperwork is more no time for creativity.