How Creativity Can Transform your Teaching
Interview with Shelley Berc
Creativity Workshop for Teachers
A Participant’s Response
The Creativity Workshop is an experiential workshop dedicated to helping teachers and their students learn how to be more creative. We work with K12 through University educators. We have developed a series of simple and effective exercises aimed at keeping the creative juices flowing both in the classroom and in one’s personal life. The Creativity Workshop is a professional development course for teachers from all over the world, creating a unique experience that combines learning, global travel, CEUs, and association with peers from different nations and backgrounds.
The Creativity Workshop has helped thousands of educators and their students:
- Develop creativity and innovation in math, IT, the arts, creative writing, languages, humanities and science.
- Get over writers’ block and combat fears that stifle self expression and new ideas.
- Employ the creative process to develop leadership and teamwork skills, as well as peer respect in the classroom.
- Engage and focus each person’s innate curiosity and imagination to foster a lifelong love of learning.
Detailed Information on The Creativity Workshop
Some of this information may be helpful if you are applying for funding.
Participating teachers come from all over the world. They have been specialists in literature, performing arts, visual art, filmmaking, and creative writing, as well as math, business, science, psychology, and computer technology to name a few. Our workshops offer tools and techniques that educators can implement to help students develop their creative, collaborative, artistic, and writing skills, as well as out-of-the-box thinking, self-confidence, leadership, and respect for peers. Our experiential exercises are concentrated in the following areas:
1. Getting Over Fear of Creativity
In order to channel creativity and maximize its potential, many individuals first need to overcome such obstacles as self-criticism and writer’s block. Our techniques in free-form (automatic) writing and drawing, along with our visualization and relaxation exercises, help individuals get over the hindrances that make them afraid to express themselves, say the wrong things, paint a bad picture, take a blurry photograph, write a foggy paragraph, or sing off-key. The workshop works against self-censorship in the early stages of creation so that critical analytical skills will come into play later when they can be more effective.
2. Team Work
We believe that by sharing work in intimate groups, students can learn to develop and feel secure in their academic endeavors. Such work also helps individuals become self-confident and listen respectfully to others. Our professional development courses for teachers involve several modules in which collaboration is explored.
3. Map Making
Every creative and analytical project has a process or “way.” The Creativity Workshop shows educators how they can make journey maps or scrolls with their students to illustrate the process and progress of their work. The maps, which are a visual and written representation of the ongoing work in the classroom, help students see where they are in their projects and where they can go with them.
4. Free-Form Writing And Automatic Drawing
Teachers will learn how to use our free writing and automatic drawing techniques with their students in oder to help them find their innate ideas and develop them. The workshop also teaches imaginative editing techniques through our “writing a jungle” exercise, which involves making an editing trail through a jungle of words.
Storytelling, be it visual or literary, is vital to how we perceive and share our perceptions of the world. We do several exercises centered on this theme, including the telling of stories inspired by found objects, as well as having participants conduct interviews in groups of two, after which they must “become” the other person. These activities also teach listening skills, which greatly enhance our abilities to express ourselves and learn from our peers.
6. Changing Perceptions
How we see is important to what we see. We teach a variety of techniques aimed at altering perceptions physically (through cameras, cutout shapes, kaleidoscopes, telescopes, microscopes) and emotionally (through fairy tales, memoir writing, or inter-generational interviews), which assist students in broadening their sense of the world they live in.
7. Using Your Environment
We teach participants how to use their natural surroundings to generate ideas. Exercises carried out in local cafes, libraries, cafeterias, the woods, and the mountains show that inspiration can come from the most everyday and surprising of places.
In our busy, multitasking world, we seldom feel we have enough time to create. Teachers taking the workshops will walk away with the valuable lesson of how to “stretch time” and use 15-minute blocks to do satisfying creative work on an ongoing basis.
Teachers spend so much of their time encouraging and supporting their students. At times, teachers forget to nurture themselves! The Creativity Workshop devotes class time to techniques in mindfulness, self-nurturing, curiosity, and not always knowing the “right” answer.
10. Professional Development for Teachers
Many schools offer funding for professional development, and many workshop attendees have received financial aid to attend our sessions from their school district or from national programs such as Fund for Teachers. Costs for the workshop and related educational travel expenses may be tax deductible if the course is relevant to your profession. In addition, if you are completing an advanced degree, you may be able to take The Creativity Workshop as an Independent Study course and also obtain graduate credits or CEUs. In this way, your university can give you credit for it. The Creativity Workshop was taught as a regular course at the University of Iowa for many years, offering 3 credits and open to graduate and undergraduate students through the International Writing Program.
Grants, Fellowships, CEUS and Credits
Many US teachers taking our workshop have received fellowships from:
Recipients receive up to $5,000 each. For a successful application it is advisable to tie the importance of the specific location you choose to the workshop experience. Sample winning proposals.
For Indiana teachers only. Up to $10,000 for an individual award.
CEUs and 3 Graduate Credits
You can receive a Certificate of Attendance upon request for attending our workshop.
Graduate Credits are available at a nominal charge from The University of The Pacific.