Why you should embrace creative skills

Creative learning is when students are taught to use imagination and critical thinking to create new and meaningful ideas, to take risks, be independent and flexible.

Creativity is often viewed as a quality that a person either has or doesn’t have. It’s long been accepted as fact that some of us are born with the ability to think imaginatively and innovatively, while others are more down-to-earth and practical-minded.


However, there’s been a shift in this way of thinking and studies suggest that creativity is indeed a skill that we can develop over time.


Education experts say students, for example, learn to develop their ability to find various solutions to a problem because critical thinking is a much needed skill today.


This, they say, can be seen in the organisational structure of various workplace departments, to address issues that the organisation may have.

How is this done?

Nghombombong Minuifuong, the founder and CEO of Bongalo, a Kigali-based travel and tour app, says creativity is mostly natural, however, learners can be taught to think creatively.

“Personally, I have come across complex problems where I start thinking creatively, which in most cases, cannot be separated from critical thinking,” he says.

He says that when one starts analysing each unit of a significant problem, they begin to think critically, finding a solution to those units and later consolidating it into one primary solution.

To impart creative knowledge, he says there is a need to look at specific approaches that can be included in the learning process.

Using imagination

Minuifuong says imaginative activity is about generating something original, providing an alternative to the expected, the conventional, or the routine.

Educators should think about this in the sense of the expectation of learners.

Imaginative activity is a form of mental play — directed towards a creative purpose — more of a mode of thought which is generative in which learners expand the possibilities of a given situation, judging from a new perspective.

Minuifuong says that it exposes how imaginative thinking can enhance idea generation, leading to a solution-oriented approach to learning.

Pursuing purpose

Creativity works with the idea of action and purpose. It is a somewhat applied imagination. People are creative when they’re producing something practically.

“We cannot ignore the fact that original insights can occur unexpectedly along the way to something. If students are allowed or given a chance to let their minds pursue purpose, then thinking through problems posed will spur creative thinking and, consequently, instil a sense of purpose in approaching problem-solving,” adds Minuifuong.

Studies show that the practice of pursuing a goal can inspire innovative education through a practical approach to learning, where students are always posed with real-life challenges to solve.

As explained in inventions and discoveries, new purposes are found when the idea emerges. 

Project-based learning

Alphonse Uworwabayeho, a lecturer of mathematics at University of Rwanda’s College of Education, says allowing students to show what they know with more depth and authenticity is important.

By doing this, he says learners are helped to be creative, a skill that will help them outside the school environment.

“This is one way of helping students develop skills for living in a knowledge-based and highly technological society,” he says.

Additionally, he says, learning facts and reciting them out of context is no longer sufficient enough to prepare students to survive in today’s world.

It also provides opportunities for students to collaborate or drive their own learning, and teaches them skills such as problem-solving.

Judging value

Minuifuong thinks that if students are judged by the value they bring through their thought-process, it will lead to creativity.

He says that by doing this, they will strive to be more creative, rather than just doing things to get a pass mark.

“Our systems don’t judge values because many conventionalities are in place, and educators tend to act the same way. This gives a blind eye to what creative students are bringing up. It is killed at an early stage because no one values them,” he notes.

Experts believe that highly creative people are driven by self-belief, and that it comes with the encouragement given to them to keep pursuing what they believe in.

Also, Minuifuong says that having a positive self-image can be good for creativity, but it can be even more beneficial when encouraged.

He adds that young people have creative abilities and for this reason, they should be encouraged to believe in their creative potential.

Aime Prince Lionel Murara, the deputy national coordinator in charge of operations and partnership in Education for Nations and Humanitarian Africa (ENHA), says the right mix of creativity, along with the curriculum, helps students be innovative and also encourages them to learn new things.

He points out that creativity can help students grow as good communicators, in addition to improving their emotional and social skills.

Studies have shown that the skill of creativity has been identified as a competency for a successful enterprise in the future. The goal of creative learning is to challenge each student and encourage originality.


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