Cultivating the Creative Classroom

Art Instructor David Thornberry recently led eight ACC Faculty members through the first session of the Fall Faculty Workshop Series entitled “The Creative Classroom.” The workshop, “Process Not Product: Instructional Approaches that Enhance Success,” demonstrated teaching strategies to help students cultivate self-efficacy and break down mental barriers to success.

“By having the student focus on the process and not the product, we refocus attention on HOW a thing is achieved and not that it IS achieved,” – Art Instructor David Thornberry.

“By having the student focus on the process and not the product, we refocus attention on HOW a thing is achieved and not that it IS achieved,” said Thornberry. He went on to say that focusing on process allows for experimentation in problem solving, which leads to more innovative thinking. It also honors the fact that academic settings are where you are supposed to learn and try on new ideas. The process-focused class rewards effort and exploration and allows room for individual learning styles.

creative classroom“The workshop helped me to experience the limitations in my thinking and gave me new ways of expressing my artistic side,“ said participant Maria Hollendonner who teaches philosophy at ACC.

With a focus on making PROGRESS instead of a PRODUCT, learning becomes less risky and more fun. “Process-based learning and teaching is much more user-friendly and what children naturally do,” Thornberry reminded the class.

As the participants tackled the assignment to draw portraits of each other, Thornberry offered tips that helped students work through their negative self-talk. He reminded the group that it’s not about talent, it’s about seeing what is really there. He also reminded the group that these metacognitive learning skills that cultivate creative, tolerant thinking can be applied in any classroom. By de-emphasizing grades and putting more focus on progress, as well as giving students multiple opportunities to succeed, students can break through barriers to their own academic and personal success.

There are two more workshops opportunities in the Fall Faculty Workshops Series. Go here to learn more.