10 Most Innovative Classroom Ideas That Promote Creativity & Active Learning

Every teacher uses different learning techniques when working with students and some are more effective than others. Finding an approach that fosters creativity and active learning is imperative to see results and properly support each student and their specific goals. With the 10 most innovative classroom ideas in mind, you’ll be able to determine what active learning approach would work best for yourself or your students. 

1. Use a “learning by doing” approach

The “learning by doing” approach is a form of active learning that encourages students to willingly participate in what is being taught. Many students learn best when they’re integrated into the lesson, rather than sitting on the sidelines and losing focus. 

Some benefits include more one-on-one time with the teacher, more collaboration with other students and a more inclusive active learning environment. 

2. Encourage students to write on the glass board

It isn’t always easy for students to feel comfortable with writing on the glass board. After all, with many students and the teacher watching and waiting for the right answer, there can be a lot of pressure. While it may take some getting used to, encouraging students to write on the glass board will help them get into the habit of actively participating. This can also present another opportunity for students to work as a group and present their final answers on the glass board. 

Once students get used to writing on the glass board in class, they’ll feel more confident in their abilities and not as worried to make a mistake. Writing on a glass board, rather than a standard chalk or white board may also help when encouraging students to participate. The transparent background of a glass board provides a unique experience and will enhance the students’ concentration during the lesson. With more focus, eventually comes more creative thinking!

3. Use effective classroom seating arrangements that encourage group discussion

In order to achieve more effective classroom seating, teachers might need to play around with a few options to see what works best. Some seating arrangements that cultivate creativity in the classroom are:

  • Rectangular benches – These make for excellent group discussions among the class. When students are able to face each other directly, it makes it much easier to have productive discussions.
  • U-shaped layout – This shape will create a sense of unity among the students, allow everyone to be seen and heard and create a space for physical activities to take place within the center of the bordering desks. 
  • Circular arrangement – A circular shape is best for class discussions and allows the teacher to stand in the middle and work with students individually when needed. 

Keep in mind that the desk arrangement doesn’t necessarily need to stay the same throughout the school year. It helps to rearrange seating depending on the objective of the lesson!

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active learning in the classroom

4. Encourage a collaborative learning approach

An active learning environment where hierarchy is involved can make it challenging for students to focus on the lesson. It’s best to replace hierarchy or competition with collaborative learning instead. This encourages students who are shy to learn without the fear of asking a question in front of the entire class. 

A collaborative approach also promotes a collaborative attitude that will continue past their studies. Embracing collaboration will remain a useful skill throughout their future careers as teamwork.

5. Incorporate a reward system

Positive reinforcement in the form of a reward system is another wonderful way to create an active learning environment. When there’s a possibility of receiving a reward for their work, students will be more motivated to learn and tap into their creativity. 

One example of a reward system is a raffle where students can earn tickets and can enter to win a prize at the end of the month. A reward system like this does a good job of preventing favoritism of one student over another and will bring some excitement to the classroom!

6. Ensure everyone’s voice can be heard

In large classrooms, it can be difficult for all students to hear the teacher, the teacher to hear every student and for students to hear one another. Making sure that the classroom layout is conducive to hearing is vital. 

When classroom hearing is impaired, it can have negative effects on the students and their learning. The U-shaped or circular seating arrangements usually allow for easy hearing among all parties. 

active learning in the classroom

7. Change up the atmosphere

Keeping students on their toes will help with creative learning. It’s best to have a change of atmosphere in the learning environment so that the lessons are exciting and students don’t walk into class each day knowing exactly what they’re going to get. 

The atmosphere can be changed in many ways depending on the students’ abilities and the style of the teacher. One day the structure could be flexible and the next day a little more rigid. Having a mix will remind the students that things are always changing and the teacher is adapting to what learning method works best at that given moment. 

8. Classroom lighting makes a big difference

A dimly lit class won’t do much to spark innovation among the students!

Having proper lighting will create a positive active learning environment where students can confidently try out different techniques and learn from their mistakes. 

active learning in the classroom

9. Introduce unconventional active learning materials

Utilizing unconventional learning materials is a great way to keep everyone engaged in the learning process. This could include media such as Ted Talks or useful information found on social media. 

Using unconventional material that’s relevant to the students will aid in creativity, as students won’t expect to find that type of content used in the class. It’s best to use material students can relate closely to spark motivation and get their imagination flowing. 

10. Encourage more color

Color can be used to help students retain new information and improve their mood while learning. Incorporating a splash of color into student resources and lessons will grab their attention and inspire students throughout the course of the day.

Wraping Up!

Are you ready to put these educational techniques and creative tips to the test? Trying different methods and changing up the learning environment will encourage creativity and create brighter students! 

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Savas Savides
Education born and bred. I have worked as a teacher for many private language schools, as a test centre administrator, as a teacher trainer, as an educational consultant, and as a publisher. I am an advocate for literacy and a huge proponent of using technology in the classroom. I have a BA in English and an MBA in Marketing. I mostly write about English Language Teaching. I live in sunny Athens.

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