Podcast: Creativity in Teaching

Brave Writer Podcast

Are you one of those people that thinks you just aren’t inventive enough to imagine creative learning experiences?

We tend to think of creativity as something in the arts or something that is crafted—maybe even cooking, woodworking, and gardening. There’s a belief that creativity is attached to the imagination, and when we hear that word we are immediately thrust into the world of storytelling. It’s hard to summon a different definition for creativity and imagination—but that’s just what we’re going to do.

Along with the true definition of creativity and imagination, I will walk you through the five stages of creativity in teaching so that anyone who believes “I am not a creative person” will be able to conjure creative ideas.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Redefining “Creative” and “Imagination”

When you think about the word “creative,” look at the root word “create.” We’re talking about the art of creating in a habitual way. It is not limited to the arts. Anyone who’s worked in a scientific lab can tell you that it is a place filled with creativity.

It takes a mind open to possibility to create. Creativity, in the way we are talking about it here, is in the capacity to generate a new idea: To take the resources you’ve been given and to use them, exploit them, enjoy them, and employ them in a fresh way.

And what about imagination? You may think it’s about storytelling, but imagination is simply the capacity to picture in your mind what isn’t as though it is. It is the process of bringing into reality something that does not yet exist. You are taking bits and pieces of what already exists and combining them, mentally, to create something entirely new.

The main reason to use the tools of imagination and creativity in teaching is to bring into being a vehicle for learning that did not exist before. When your child hits the brick wall of struggle, resistance, or tedium, creativity and imagination are your best friends. They allow you to bring a new, refreshed point of view to the learning you are asking for from your kids.

The 5 Stages of Creativity in Teaching

1.  Saturation

There is no creativity without saturation. For example, those professionals who are labeled “creative athletes” are those that are so skilled and so deep in the sport that their minds and bodies are able to imagine new ways to approach the same pass, shot, or putt. They have a well of experience that they are able to draw from and that leads to a wider variety of possibilities available to them. You need to do this with whatever you are hoping to learn: Dive deep into the topic, sit with the problems, and you will begin to identify the possibilities for bringing the subject to life for your child.

2. Incubation

Once you’ve saturated, give yourself some time to imagine possibilities. What would it be like for your child to understand their times tables? What would it be like for them to enjoy history? Give yourself permission to think of the outcome that you want to see in your child’s educational experience—and think of what actually gets you there. Find a way to make the subject meaningful.

3. Leap of Faith

Now that you’ve come up with the ideas, you have to put them into action. This is the part that people see that makes them think “I’m not creative.” What you are seeing is only the visible part of hours of saturation and incubation. You will have to improvise, but that’s what creativity takes. Do not delay taking action because you do not have everything you need. You need to chase the inspiration and momentum while you have it.

4. Activate

Get busy gathering supplies, modeling activities, reading your idea to your kids, supplying them with the technology they need. Get in gear with your kids and make sure they have everything they need to follow through with those ideas. If you are invited to participate (and it is an honor if you are), do it. You are now modeling learning to your child and helping them internalize the principles you’re hoping they learn.

5. Evaluate

Reflect and record what happened. Look at what happened, identify what learning took place, and find out what worked and what didn’t. And then iterate. Add this to the pool of potential experiences to draw from as you look to create in the future.

Creativity can be messy. It can—and likely will—lead to failures. But when you are already hitting roadblocks, trying something new is always worthwhile. Remember: We can all be creative and use our imaginations if we put in the work and follow the process.



Brave Writer Podcast

Brave Learner Home is OPEN

The Brave Learner Home has launched! 🚀

Join our membership community of thousands of brave learners who want to grow as

  • effective educators,
  • compassionate parents,
  • and awesome adults.

The community is yours for free (for a lifetime!) when you invest in Brave Writer products or online classes because we want you to have all the resources you need to succeed at homeschooling!

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It’s time for all of us to come home: to our families, to learning, to each other, to ourselves. See you inside!

We can’t wait to meet you!

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Homeschool Sanity: Principle Five

A pretty good homeschool is good enough.

Principle Five

A pretty good homeschool is good enough.

“No matter which philosophy you adopt (as structured as classical education or as unstructured as unschooling), you’re human. Your ability to put that philosophy into action is limited. You’ll have great stretches of imagination and flow, and others where you wonder if anyone is learning anything. Your aim is not perfection, but peace and progress. That’s good enough” (The Brave Learner, 204). You get to be human.

Give homeschooling your best shot.

  • Be yourself.
  • Get help.
  • Adapt and change.
  • Learn.

Some years will be stellar. Others: just okay.

You and your kids will make other families jealous by how well you execute some subjects.

You’ll waste time comparing your anemic treatment of some subjects to the skilled execution of your expert friends.

Good enough means:

  • you get along with your kids for the most part,
  • siblings have some inside jokes,
  • your family has a few favorite books and movies,
  • you didn’t forget math,
  • you managed to put together a transcript for your high school graduate,
  • and at the end of your years together, your kids became self-sufficient adults.

Not all will be sparkly but enough sparkle will bathe the ordinary days in a fond glow of reminiscence.

Keep going! I’m rooting for you.

These five principles are found in chapter 10 of The Brave Learner. The quote used to introduce the chapter is by my all-time favorite writer: E.M. Forster.

“Only connect.”

That’s it. That’s the whole deal. Connect to yourself, to the world around you, to learning, to your children. That will take you the whole way.

All 5 Principles

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

The Brave Learner

Friday Freewrite: Letter to Past You

Friday Freewrite

You can send a letter back in time to the you of a year ago. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Don’t Do Everything

Don't Do Everything

A familiar refrain I am seeing everywhere in the Brave Writer space: that you feel overwhelmed by too much to do.

Let me make it perfectly clear here.

Don’t do everything!

Start with ONE of our products. Just that one. Read the information at the front or in the guidelines or one chapter of the Writer’s Jungle.

Then DO that thing without reading anything else, without planning anything else, without thinking about how it all fits together. That is utterly unnecessary.

You will get so much value if you deep dive into ONE of the products and take it just ONE week or project or activity at a time.

So do ONE thing this month and shelve everything else. If you find yourself really enjoying that thing, do it more! Don’t rush on to the next thing. Maximize the value right there. If you notice flagging interest after a bit, then turn your attention to the NEXT product and do ONE small bit of that one.

You cannot do this wrong!

Each product creates engagement with writing. ALL of them do. They all work.

You’re going to be okay. Take a risk and TRY one thing. Just one! See how it feels.

xo Julie

Brave Learner Home