6 Things Holding Back Creativity in Class

6 Things Holding Back Creativity in Class

Creativity in class is a tricky thing. You can’t simply tell your students to be more creative, or to come up with a new idea. The harder you push someone to be creative, the more likely they are to shut down and resort to familiar and safe thoughts.

P3AIt’s both heartbreaking and discouraging; as teachers, we want to see our students thrive and pour their unique personalities into everything they do. It makes class more interesting and fun, makes us feel more fulfilled at the end of the day, and makes your students excited and wanting to come back tomorrow for more.

So, when you are doing everything you can to encourage their creativity, what is holding them back? Here are 6 of the reasons why your ESL students are having a hard time letting out their creative side.

They are afraid of making a mistake

In most cultures and schools, we put a pretty big emphasis on having the right answers and not making any mistakes. This need to get it right can be pretty ingrained in students.

When it comes to being creative, needing to get it right the first time is a pretty major thing that will hold someone back from coming up with new ideas, because mistakes, failure, and silliness are an integral part of the process of creating something new.

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They don’t want to look stupid

Students are often afraid to step outside of the lines and use their own completely original ideas because there is a chance that they will look foolish or be made fun of.

Staying within well-established lines of what to write about or talk about, what pictures to draw and what stories to tell is comforting because completely novel ideas carry the risk of getting made fun of.

They don’t think their ideas are valid

Ah, comparison is an ugly beast, but it gets the better of all of us at one point or another.  Many are the highly creative students who gets caught up in the idea that their ideas just aren’t as funny or interesting or creative as someone else’s, and as a result never lets them out.

They don’t believe they are creative

It’s amazing how strongly our beliefs can influence what we are capable of doing. Many of your students have probably been led to believe that they just aren’t the creative types.

It’s not a part of their classes or their home life, and probably not something that they have had a lot of exposure to. As a result, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being creative.

They think only certain ideas are acceptable

Because we’re so accustomed to having one particular right answer that we’re looking for, students get the sense that only certain answers or certain ideas are acceptable. Fear of straying too far from these acceptable concepts can hold them back from exploring their own unique ideas.

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They are not often in highly creative environments

Spending time in environments where people are coming up with original ideas, and creating things completely from their own imaginations can be one of the biggest spurs of creativity. it says that you’re safe to create your own ideas, that it’s okay to make mistakes and realize that an

It says that you’re safe to create your own ideas, that it’s okay to make mistakes and realize that an idea wasn’t working and then to go try something new.  Your students probably haven’t had this experience and haven’t had a chance to get comfortable with the anything-goes idea of creativity.

Do you struggle with any of the same things listed here in your classes? Do you have any other points that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below. 



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