Effective teaching is measured by the level of creativity a teacher employs in the classroom environment. Aschenbrener, Terry and Torres (2010) affirm that most students rate their teachers by the level of creativity they adopt when passing knowledge over to them. This topic is relevant because it highlights the significant ways in which students could be motivated to benefit from the learning environment. Lee (2013) affirms that motivating students gives them the desire to perform better in every examination they take. Moreover, this topic is relevant because it helps in the understanding of students' perceptions of their teachers in the learning environment. Most students tend to be more positive and optimistic in cases where they have creative teachers who go the extra-mile to drive the point home.
The first most effective and creative way of teaching is the student-centered approach to learning. Horng, Hong, ChanLin, Chang and Chu (2005) assert that the student-centered learning approach suggests that the teacher should shift the roles: from a lecturer to a facilitator. This means that the teacher will not spent all the time in class lecturing his/her notes to students. It is the most effective and creative way of teaching because it ensures that students are involved in the lesson through self-reflection, group discussions, brainstorming, and role-playing. It gives students, sitting at the back, the opportunity to pay attention to the learning process, as they have to become involved in the ongoing discussion in the classroom. Utilizing this approach, teachers are only required to pose a question to students and allow them to give any relevant answers through discussions and consultations among themselves. Accordingly, Daniels (2010) agrees that it is the most effective and creative form of teaching because it gives facilitators the opportunity to help their students improve by acting as learning partners, motivators, and sharers. This is especially because it transforms students from passive listeners to active and motivated individuals willing to receive new ideas for their own success in the learning process. Every student will be more willing to pay attention to the guidelines issued by the instructor if they believe that they will get the opportunity to participate in open debates provoked by their instructors in the course of learning. Additionally, Wilhelm (2008) affirms that the student-centered learning approach is the most effective and creative way of teaching because it boosts the aspect of cooperative learning while enhancing independent thinking, creativity, and imagination among students. With sufficient cooperative learning in place, the needs of students will be met effectively, hence leading to the change of aspirations among them. They will always want to perform better to payback the confidence of their teachers in the learning environment.
The second effective and creative method of teaching is the use of diverse teaching aids in the classroom. Technology is changing at an extremely alarming rate. Bramwell, Reilly, Lilly, Kronish and Chennabathni (2011) insist that effective teachers have to keep up with the emerging technologies and ensure that they apply them in the learning process. For a teacher the best way to change the perception of a student is to get out of the comfort zone by embracing and utilizing technological aids in the classroom. Some of the key teaching aids teachers could use include power point, multimedia, computers, paper crushers, and student writing scripts. Sousa (2011) opines that the use of teaching aides is one of the most effective and creative teaching strategies because it excites the students' thinking, broadens their views, and promotes further discussions among student. It enhances the memory of a student because of the improved ability to link the normal teaching elements and the visual elements used by the teacher. Class sessions entailing the use of videos, slide shows, and transparencies are always interesting and enhance the attentiveness of students apart from improving their memory. In most instances, students will look forward to classes that involve the use of visual supports. Again, this strategy is more efficient and attractive because it eliminates the idea that teachers are only supposed to use the chalkboard and the chalk to pass their message across. Gao, Coldwell-Neilson and Goscinski (2013) inform that this strategy has the required level of diversity in the learning environment hence improving the urge of students to succeed in the academic environment. Teachers who want to be creative and bring changes to their classrooms must be ready to move along with the existing technology rather than using traditional approach of writing information on the chalkboard for students to follow. Overall, the use of visual supports such as videos and power points is effective because of its ability to change the attitude of students toward the learning experience.
How It Works
The third strategy that exhibits effective and creative teaching is the teacher's ability to establish a connection between the classroom content and real life. It is undeniable that many students enjoy lessons if the teacher is able to give real life demonstrations. According to Lambert and Velez (2011), students will be more attentive if teacher focuses on real life events such as gender issues, racism, ethnicity, and social relationships because these are directly related to their development. The strategy is effective and creative because it enhances the ability of students to share personal experiences with others in the learning process. In fact, the memory retains most of the ideas shared through personal experiences compared to the ones emphasizing the class content. Students find it easier to tackle their examinations with such learning activities because of the ability to remember the taught content directly and its relationship to their personal experiences. Lee (2013) thinks that the integration of learning activities and real life situations is an effective teaching strategy because it gives students the opportunity to express and understand the real life issues they are currently facing or are likely to face in the future. This shapes their future hence ensuring they grow and understand the nature of the information being passed to them. Unlike traditional education that places emphasis on the use of textbook instruction, the connection between the class content and the real life situation enhances the students; capacity to appreciate their lives more and grow into responsible individuals. However, the teacher is required to be sensitive in the delivery of the message to avoid biases that could affect the urge of some students to learn. Kiely (1998) holds that the maintenance of sensitivity is vital because it is the indicative of respect for all students in the classroom environment. This means that students relate to their environment perfectly while remembering the content learned in the classroom.
The fourth effective and creative teaching strategy entails the use of simple class management strategies that create friendly teacher-student interactions, and treat students with a high level of respect. Wilhelm (2008) is of the opinion that creative teachers recognize the need to eliminate complications in their classes by striking friendly relationships with their students. Apart from establishing friendly relationships with students, creative teachers always praise students for their success. Moreover, they encourage them to work harder in a friendly manner showing concern for their needs. This strategy is effective and creative because it evokes the desire for success among all students. Daniels (2010) asserts that this strategy serves as a motivational strategy that creative teachers could use to form positive perceptions among their students. Accordingly, the ability to create friendly relationships is believed to be the best strategy in terms of enhancing attentiveness and the hunger for education among students. It eliminates the fear of failure among students hence leading to better grades. A creative teacher must also be ready to congratulate students for doing their best in learning through creativity. Students love being appreciated and will only continue working harder if they realize that they have been appreciated in the best manner possible. The class will be more active with proper class management techniques that recognize the students' need to present their points without being interrupted. A creative teacher gives students the chance to explain their points before coming up with an explanation or any necessary remark. Horng et al. (2005) reiterate that most of the effort should be dedicated to ensuring that students interact well with each other, and complete the assigned tasks under expert guidance in the best way possible. Therefore, creative teachers handle their classes in a simple manner allaying students' fear. They operate in humanistic perspective that makes it easier for students to interact with teachers through consultations and question sessions at any given place.
The last effective and creative teaching strategy is the use of open questions as well as permanent encouragement of students to think creatively about the questions. Students like the idea of being surprised with open questions that they are to answer during the session. There should be no massive pressure from the teacher forcing the students to tackle such questions. Aschenbrener, Terry and Torres (2010) share the view that students will automatically come together and try to find answers to such questions. The strategy is effective and creative because it ensures that students remember the content learned in the previous class. Open questions about the learned topics eliminate the stress associated with reading large amount of books, as it happens in the traditional learning environment. Moreover, the teacher should also take the initiative to encourage students to think creatively about the given questions. They should not give simple answers to these questions because it does not give a proper account of their efforts in trying to respond to these questions. Gao, Coldwell-Neilson and Goscinski (2013) emphasize that critical thinking is vital for students because it shapes their minds and readies them for anything coming in their lives. They are open to diverse events and understand the best ways of responding to these events with critical thinking abilities. It is vital to understand that critical thinking skills acquired in the classroom are always taken into adult life hence enabling students to remain reasonable throughout their lives. The encouragement of critical thinking leads students to success because of the courage to handle and cope with new challenges at any given time. Teachers should be on the forefront, acting as role models when encouraging their students to think critically about the given questions. For instance, the teacher could start by answering the question to illustrate the critical approach to it.
In conclusion, teachers in the contemporary classroom must prioritize effective and creative teaching strategies because they enhance the ability of the learner to grasp the content presented. Teachers should rise above traditional teaching approaches to ensure their students perform excellently in line with effective and creative teaching techniques. For instance, they could use educational aids such as computers to drive the class content into the brains of their students. Additionally, they could try to establish a perfect link between the class content and the real world to ensure students understand all the information presented in class. Creative thinking is the only way to tap the potential of all students in the classroom.
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