Teaching tips

This page is like a basket full of wildflowers: full of colour and life. There are tips and ideas for creative learning and teaching. There is no one ‘recipe’ for fostering creativity, but these ideas could prompt you to take a new direction. Have a go – try something new.

WA wildflowers

















Image: Wildflowers from Western Australia. (c) Robyn Philip

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University has compiled this resource. It has some definitions of creativity, how to foster creativity and be a creative teacher, assessment, and links to research papers on the topic.

Here you’ll find ideas about both critical thinking and creativity. The authors are Dr Joe Lau (Department of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong) and Dr Jonathan Chan (Department of Religion and Philosophy, Baptist University of Hong Kong). They offer 3 principles for creativity:

  1. New ideas are composed of old elements.
  2. Not all new ideas are on a par.
  3. Creativity is enhanced by the ability to detect connections between ideas.

Robert Sternberg and Wendy Williams from the Center for Development and Learning have 24 tips for creativity e.g.:

  • modelling creativity, building students’ self efficacy, questioning students’ assumptions, defining and redefing the problem.

They also recommend balancing  analytic, synthetic, and practical abilities to promote creativity: ‘The person who is only synthetic may come up with innovative ideas, but cannot recognize or sell them. The person who is only analytic may be an excellent critic of other people’s ideas, but is not likely to generate creative ideas. The person who is only practical may be an excellent salesperson, but is as likely to sell ideas or products of little or no value as to sell genuinely creative ideas.’

Up for a quiz? 40 questions which measure your ability to connect and abstract ideas, find perspective, use your curiosity, deal with paradox and be bold. Go on try it. It’s mainly based on self-reporting and it’s free.

The tool kit “focuses on how you can help students to think and learn creatively and develop their innovative skills while at university”.

Mike Brown (2011)
Strategies to put into place when you are working in creative teams:

  1. Suspend advocacy of your own idea to push for another person’s concept.
  2. Put your own idea to the same test you apply to ideas from others.
  3. Combine two different ideas and making them better (not muddled) as one idea.
  4. Let someone else take “ownership” of your idea in order to build support for it.
  5. Patiently wait for someone else to say what needs to be said so all you have to do is agree.
  6. Stick to your guns amid challenges to a creative idea which makes solid strategic sense.
  7. Look for new creative skills to develop in yourself and those around you.

See details here.

“Students work in large teams of approximately 15 to 19 individuals to design and build working alpha prototypes of new products. Students learn about creativity, product design, working within a budget, and gain unifying engineering experience.” Students also work through the following phases of product development – from problem finding to prototyping: 

  • opportunity identification;
  • generating ideas;
  • gathering customer and market data;
  • selecting ideas, devising concepts and building sketch models;
  • building and testing mockups;
  • customer evaluation of mockups;
  • embodiment design; and
  • construction of a high quality functioning alpha prototype.

The site includes numerous resources.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *