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Creativity Module 5:

Enhancing Originality


Background Information:

Originality involves generating unique and novel ideas. The word original comes from the Latin word originem, which means "beginning or birth;" original means "first." Synonyms for originality include: boldness, brilliance, cleverness, daring, freshness, imagination, individuality, ingenuity, inventiveness, resourcefulness, spirit, imaginativeness, ingeniousness, innovativeness, invention, modernity, newness, nonconformity





All of our senses—what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell and touch--influence our learning. An environment that contributes to a positive and creative state of mind enhances original thinking. Some people thrive in loud, crowded areas bristling with activity; others need quiet and calm to think clearly and creatively. Students need to find that place, noisy or quiet, crowded or isolated that makes them feel comfortable. They should be encouraged to become aware of their sensory preferences and seek the best learning environment for them. This activity of identifying their sensory preference opens up one’s comfort zone and enables original thoughts to emerge. In addition to senses, Isaksen & Holth (2009) offered the following suggestions for instructors to establish a creative climate:

i) you can influence the climate

ii) create opportunities that lead to intrinsic motivation

iii) provide appropriate levels of autonomy

iv) promote trust

v) allow time for reflection and elaboration of ideas

vi) encourage playfulness and good-natured joking

vii) reduce interpersonal conflict and tension

viii) treat ideas with respect

ix) encourage sharing different points of view

x) encourage appropriate risk taking

Classroom Climate.

Research shows that positive classroom climates characterized by high expectations, teacher warmth, encouragement, and pleasant physical surroundings enhance learning. Teachers and administrators should systematically evaluate the general environment of their classrooms and schools and should estimate how this environment affects their ability to promote critical reasoning habits among students (Orr and Klein, 1991, p. 131). Students who experiment with new ways of looking at things need to feel free to explore and express opinions and examine alternative ideas (Doyal & Gough, 1984). Fostering a climate conducive to the development of originality include:

  • Setting ground rules well in advance

  • Providing well-planned activities

  • Showing respect for each student

  • Providing nonthreatening activities

  • Being flexible

  • Accepting individual differences

  • Exhibiting a positive attitude

  • Modeling novel thinking skills

  • Acknowledging every student response

  • Allowing students to be active participants

  • Creating experiences that will ensure success at least part of the time for each student

  • Using a wide variety of teaching modalities (Cotton; 1988,1991).


The idea of the Brutethink (Michalko, 2006) creative thinking technique is that by forcing a random idea into a challenge or problem situation, you produce out of the ordinary choices to solve your problem. Steps in the Brutethink process are as follows:


  • Bring a random word into a problem situation such as low self-esteem of students with math anxiety: Fear is the random word.

  • Think of words associated with the word fear that are related in some way. Using pictures, magazines, phone books, junk mail, cereal boxes, poetry, crossword puzzles, sounds erc. can help come up with words.

  • Force connections between the random word and the problem, also between the associated words and the problem. For example: fear -alarm clock -timer –control-regulate –calm –unruffled -chill out.

List all ideas. This is a great group activity as well as individual.

Group originality.

Discuss and clarify s specific problem. Have the group write ideas on index cards, one idea per card. Then they pass the cards to the right. Based on what they read, they write new ideas on blank cards and pass them to the right. Then collect all cards and tape them to the wall, eliminating duplicates. Have students vote on ideas using dot stickers -5 stickers per person. The key is to stay silent and generate original ideas in parallel.



Observe which students generate original solutions to a problem

Administer the RDCA-K-8 assessment to obtain diagnostic information that will form the basis of instruction. Following is the entire RDCA-K-8 assessment with the items categorized by RDCA factors

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