In my opinion, it’s not that difficult. In my years of teaching, research and writing about creativity one idea stands out above all others – the most effective way to encourage creative thinking is to model the characteristics you are hoping to see - openness to lots of ideas, respect for all views and opinions, willingness to listen, careful observation with all your senses, curiosity, a sense of play, and most important– a willingness to make mistakes and try again.
In other words, in a creative climate, attitude is everything. But, strategies help too.
Asking open-ended questions (ones that cannot be answered with yes, no, I dunno or grunt) is an easy strategy to make part of everyday conversations and activities; they are effective, they definitely stimulate thinking, they offer opportunities for you to discover what and how your kids think, and they are FUN.
Here’s how: Ask open ended questions, such as
- How might we do that?
- What do you think?
- What would you do?
- How do you think this story will end?
- How else could we do this?
- Where might you find out what you want to know?
- Take kids from the role of receivers of information to the producers of information.
- Facilitate learning by asking questions that direct learning instead of providing answers.
- Build flexible thinking by helping kids see things in new ways and from different perspectives.
- Integrate concepts for making connections between ideas, concepts and/or objects.
- Encourage autonomy as kids become better able to use resources and find their own answers.
- Improve communications skills as kids express and share their ideas and information.