Teaching Students to be Creative
Students are not creative. They are obsessed with getting everything right and that drives them to mimic. Mimics don’t create, they repeat. They don’t explore, think, wander or risk. When I was a kid my dad sent me to a day camp called The Island. The Island was actually an island at a local park in the middle of a lagoon. Every day we were challenged to create something. We built rafts, we learned about plants and trees, we made box cameras to photograph cool stuff. We learned to be creative. So where do students go today to learn how to be creative? The Island would not be open today due to parents’ concerns about safety. How do students learn to express themselves in a technological world? I know you might think this is not a youth ministry issue, after all you were never asked to help students be creative. However, if we don’t help students create and express themselves then they will never learn to be venerable, and they won’t know how to respond to a hurting world. We need to encourage students to pursue music and art, powerful tools to reach people for Christ. Creativity can be instilled in students but to make this happen we need to do the following:
1. Make space for response
Too often we tell students what to think and believe and then we say “go into the world and live our values.” Students start strong but quickly forget what they were told to believe because they never knew why they believed it in the first place. Allow students to discover the truth in God’s Word and give them space to respond to his leading in their life. Allow them to make applications that are important to them, resist making the applications for them.
2. Student driven learning
At LeaderTreks we never lead a Bible study or preach at students. We give students time to study a passage of scripture and then we facilitate them teaching the passage to each other. This allows for students driven learning, students get to talk about what matters to them and what they are learning. They are allowed to express themselves and show them that they can learn from reading scripture on their own.
3. Provide options in learning
Students don’t always learn from your favorite way to teach. Don’t just stand up there and give them your best 20 minutes of Bible teaching. Find new and creative ways to tell the story, and help students find themselves in the story. Have students experience the sounds and tastes from the story. By you being more creative students will become more creative.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More