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Creativity in Teaching

source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/256013/creativity-teaching

May 5, 2010, 12:25pm

We have always believed that students are not failing because of the curriculum.

Any subject may be taught as long as it relates to the learners’ learning style preferences.

New knowledge is formed on the basis of what has already been understood and believed.

It is rare, if not close to impossible, for a student to comprehend, remember or learn something totally unfamiliar. Some form of prior knowledge or a basic idea is necessary for a new lesson or task to be understood. Learners need to have their prior knowledge activated and should then use this for understanding and learning.

Research shows that learning is enhanced when teachers pay close attention to their students’ prior knowledge, and use this knowledge as the starting ground for a new lesson or activity.

In class, teachers can help students activate prior knowledge and use this for the task at hand in a number of ways:

• They can discuss the content of a lesson to ensure that the students have the necessary prior knowledge. Oftentimes, this prior knowledge is incomplete or may be characterized by false beliefs and misconceptions. Teachers must therefore take it upon themselves to break such myths and fallacies.

• Teachers can ask questions to help students see the relationship between what they are reading and what they already know.

• Effective teachers should be able to help students grasp relationships and establish connections by supporting their efforts to improve their performance.


People learn through effective and flexible strategies that help them understand, reason, memorize and solve problems.

Studies show that students develop approaches which help them solve problems from an early age.

Research also shows that when teachers attempt to teach learning strategies to students, substantial gains can be had.

• Strategies are important because they help students understand and solve problems in ways appropriate to the situation at hand. They can also improve and hasten learning. The broader the range of strategies and approaches children can use appropriately, the more successful they can be in problem solving, reading, text comprehension and memorizing.

In class, teachers must recognize the importance of students’ knowing and using a variety of approaches to learning. They should give students a task and provide a model of the inquiry process by asking key questions. For example, teachers can show students how to outline the important points in a text and how to summarize them.

It is important to ensure that students learn to use these strategies on their own, without relying on teachers for support. Teachers need to lessen intervention gradually and allow students to take greater responsibility for their learning.

Learners must know how to plan and monitor their learning, how to set their own learning goals and how to correct errors. Studies show that students may actually be using strategies for learning unconsciously, without being fully aware of what they are doing.

Self-regulation involves the development of specific strategies that help learners assess their learning, check their understanding and correct errors when necessary. It requires reflection in the sense of being aware of one’s own beliefs and strategies.

Reflection is the ability to distinguish appearance from reality, common beliefs from scientific knowledge, etc. It could be developed through discussion, debates and essays, where students are encouraged to express their opinions and defend them.

• In class, teachers can help students become self-regulated and reflective by providing the following opportunities to plan how to solve problems, design experiments and read books, and to let their students set their own learning goals.

(The author is the president of the Center for Learning and Teaching Styles, an affiliate of the International Learning Styles Network, based at St. John’s University in New York. He is a graduate of the AIM Masters in Development management and of the Harvard Graduate School for Professional Educators. He is the author of the following books: Cooking Up A Creative Genius; The HI CLASS Teacher, Breakthrough Ideas in Education; and Using Passion and Laughter in Your Presentations. He can be reached at htenedero@yahoo.com)

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