Creative Methods of Teaching within the Common Core

Criticisms against the Common Core revolve around its impact on teaching. Some claim that it hinders creativity in the classroom by imposing rigid standards, but this is being disproved all across the country with countless teachers developing their own unique methods of instruction without sacrificing compliance. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by the University of Cincinnati’s Online Masters Degree in Education program.

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What is the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards or CCSS are a set of evidence-based standards establishing specific learning goals for math and language arts in grades K-12. It standardizes the content of the subjects taught and are designed to ensure that students are prepared to enter college or the workforce. This was finalized in 2009 by state education officials and academics in cooperation with the National Governors Association.

CCSS has clear instructions for teachers. They must ensure that students are able to grasp a greater understanding of the underlying concepts and not just shortcuts to the right answer. It is important to know the facts but it is even more vital to realize why things came to be. Furthermore, the standards outline specific requirements for what students need to learn but not how teachers have to teach them. They have a great deal of freedom in terms of instruction methodologies.

How Does the Common Core Impact Teachers?

Surveys on the subject reveal that they have mixed feelings about these standards. Around 67% expressed their doubts about its effectiveness. Many of them said that it allows too little time for creative learning. This assertion is still being hotly debated as there are sectors that have the opposite view.

In fact, 76% of public school teachers say that they feel positive about having a set of educational standards across the country. A large majority of those who have experienced more than one year of full implementation say that they are enthusiastic about the new standards.

The level of preparation for this has also been scrutinized. Almost half of the teachers surveyed admitted that they are not getting enough support for implementation. Of the other half, there is a sense of hope that the program will be effective.

How to Remain Creative in the Classroom?

Adhering to standards does not mean being stale. Creativity can still reign in the classroom. Indeed, it is important to find novel ways to draw the students’ attention and help them learn the lessons. For instance, large concepts can be broken down into smaller ones that are more easily relatable. Start by outlining the skills they would need to master the concepts then tackle them in sequence. Some teachers try to present problems as puzzles to attract interest. This is definitely much better than listing mathematical formulas or memorizing tables. First, they master the concepts. Then, they apply these to the puzzles to see how useful the lessons can be.

Abstract concepts can be hard to teach simply by describing them. Most people learn better with hands-on activities where they see the ideas applied in real life. The visual stimulation helps them to process things better. Something clicks in their head when the concepts become tangible. Creative instructors have also been using art to explore literary themes. Plots are unraveled using lights, sounds, props, and other instruments. They use imagery to get students to think more deeply about the characters’ motivations at every turn. It becomes a fun challenge that gets the kids excited for more.

The principle of cross-circular concepts can also be applied in the classroom discussions. This is an excellent strategy that can be used for certain ideas that recur in various settings. Research has shown that repetition is crucial for learning. Show the concepts being applied in different ways throughout the curriculum. Using personalization is also an effective means of instruction. Make the lessons relevant by asking the students to apply them to their own lives. For instance, have them write a poem about a memorable event using literary devices or get them to use statistical concepts on their morning commutes.

Five Ways You Can Foster Creativity in Your Classroom Now

Mind mapping is a visualization technique where thoughts are written down and linked as if in a flowchart. Ideas branch out to other concepts, radiating from the center. It can help tame the chaos in our brains and organize views about a certain topic. Groups of students may use this to brainstorm solutions to a common challenge. Everything will be laid down for the members to see. Instead of just talking about their ideas, the kids will see how all of them are connected and find novel ways to solve problems.

Podcasting is not confined to the media. The technologies that are used to make podcasts are widely available such that anyone can create one if they want to. It can also be applied in different settings such as learning environments. This can be a good way of promoting discussions, telling stories, and generating ideas. Perhaps the students could share their own interesting stories about a subject in a creative manner.

YouTube videos have become part of popular culture. Countless clips have been shared all over the world by millions who were entertained, amused, and inspired by them. Many of these have come from regular folks who were just filming themselves. Students can take a cue from these and create their own videos to share their ideas to their classmates and the world. Some of the topics discussed in the classroom may be better understood through film. Have groups make storyboards and shoot short videos about these.

Social media is another influential technology. Students can use the networks to discuss lessons before and after classes. They can be invaluable for brainstorming if there are group projects. Responses can be moderated and encouraged for their creative value. It’s a new tool that invites experimentation. Even traditional discussions within the classroom can be enhanced. Teachers can guide their students so that the exchange of ideas can proceed smoothly. It is essential that they learn to respect each other’s opinions and be able to communicate their thoughts clearly. Debates can be excellent vehicles for learning.

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