Foster creativity by being a creative teacher
If somebody had told me 15 years ago that I would be teaching several thousand people every day without knowing who these people are, their names and actually without seeing them; that I would be teaching even when sleeping or drinking coffee with my friends, not even thinking about it or knowing that I am teaching someone at the moment, I would have certainly laughed and said that it could be a good plot for a science-fiction story.
However, it is all true now. Up to 3000 people learn some English from my YouTube channel every day, and I do not know who they are. I can understand how old they are or where they are only from “Analytics” of my channel, or from occasional conversations in chats and comments. And if you think that it is not “real” teaching, I would disagree because teaching and learning happen in various forms and ways nowadays: learning solo with a smartphone on a bus, using YouTube videos to watch in class together with your students or assigning them as homework.
Now teachers are not restricted in any way to be creative in their job; making your own videos and worksheets, online assignments, quests and boardgames – this is all possible and very accessible. Personally, I prefer the cartoon format, and my videos are all made in this style. What is also important is that a creative teacher sets a good example and encourages students to work in the same way. It is much easier for such a teacher to engage the whole class in a film project (using IMovie, for example), or to make a cartoon (with Powtoon - they have a special “Edu” plan for teachers and students), or a comic book (easily made with Book Creator app). Age is not a huge limitation at all: my godson is only 10 years old and he is already making cartoons and videos to put them on YouTube.
If you set an example of creative work, your students will feel that is not another “exercise”, but it is real, it is fun and they will happily get involved. The same can be applied to collaboration. We should not teach any collaboration skills to our students, but just create this collaborative environment around them and be part of that environment. Do not teach them, just cooperate and work together with them. It will become so natural for the students that they will not even understand that you are teaching them some “collaboration skills”.
On the other hand, it is the teacher who is supposed to learn new skills with more effort than students to be able to deal with change, to understand and manage synchronous and asynchronous types of work, with digital literacy reinforced by pedagogical reasoning.
Anyway, the bottom line is that whatever activities a teacher gives to students to develop creativity, imagination and collaboration skills, they will be twice as effective if the teacher is creative and engaged in this collaboration together with the students.