How do teachers encourage creative thinking and expression while achieving the MOE’s requirements for P6 essay?

Brush aside the common belief that creative thinking does not apply to realistic storylines. Cast away the myth that creativity is an inbuilt talent that cannot be taught. There are certainly ways to inculcate creativity in students if we only know how. 

Here are some of the ways that teachers can nurture the creative streak in their students while writing essays that conform to MOE requirements:

IDEA 1: Beneficial Brainstorming

Two heads are better than one. True to this belief, brainstorming sessions in class is all about nudging and guiding the students to think differently and in the process, fine-tune their ideas to end up with a coherent story plot that is logical yet creative.

Generally, when a topic is discussed, the instinctive reaction for Primary school students is to come up with a tried and tested storyline- usually a run-of-the-mill story plot that is within their comfort zone. How do teachers alter this mindset?

Surprisingly, children have an innate ability to weave fantastical adventures, but to exploit that potential and apply creativity to their realistic story plots that achieve MOE requirements rests on these brainstorming sessions.

One way is to draw on the students’ own experiences and perspectives to make their writing more authentic and engaging.

Another way is to discuss extraordinary current events, books, articles, interviews or cultural practices that eventually lead to the discovery of unique story plots. 

IDEA 2: Captivating Creative Expressions

All famous authors have one thing in common- their deft use of language. Their limitless imagination in wielding language techniques like figurative language and creative expressions is their road to success.

Similarly, if students were to come up with unique sentences and phrases, they can churn out narratives with any kind of storylines into amazing pieces.

Is bombastic vocabulary part of this equation?  Not really. Students can adopt non-traditional similes and hyperboles to level up their writing. For instance, to show-not-tell the emotion ‘happy’, a student with even a modest vocabulary can create his or own simile along these lines ‘happy like a child with a treat’.

A myriad of expressions can thus be formed if students get into the habit of creating their own similes and hyperboles. In the long run, writing turns into a pleasure because students no longer feel constricted.

IDEA 3: Peculiar Perspectives

Alternative Points of View have the advantage of viewing a story through a new prism.

Generally, students lack the age and life experiences to write a story from a different perspective. However, teachers can create a supportive environment to introduce and share with them and guide them to put it on paper, storylines that may be experienced by someone who is much older and mature or someone from a different occupation.

This is more feasible when it comes to scenarios wherein the main character shows empathy. Although such a task may seem harder at first for students, it slowly grows on them once they are able to actually visualise the story in their heads with constant practice.

For instance, in a writing topic ‘Responsibility’, students can attempt a storyline from the perspective of an adult- a lifeguard(swimming pool being one of the pictures).

Such a story plot will certainly stand out from the rest if it is, of course, written without any logical gaps through adequate planning and execution. 

IDEA 4: Mastering Mature conclusions

Students tend to place conclusions last in their list of priorities during the writing process.

They underestimate the impact of story conclusions on the readers. Typically, they tend to wrap up their stories with a ’Lesson learnt’ without much surrounding details because they have either lost steam or at a loss for ideas to wrap up the story.

Therefore, it is crucial to encourage students to develop a mature conclusion wherein they offer in-depth insight into the main character’s reflection of the whole experience.

A mature conclusion takes the following form- Short and Long term impact, future course of Character’s actions, the Character’s emotional state at the end of the experience, reflections on what went right or wrong and any change in relationship with the person, animal or object featured in the narrative.

After thinking through and writing along those lines, their conclusions become more wholesome, thus leaving a lasting impression on the readers.

IDEA 5: Captivating Sentences

Just like music, writing has rhythm too.

To bring in rhythm and break the monotony, long and short sentences must be interwoven.

Short sentences show action and create a faster pace while longer sentences slow down the action and make the reader think more.

So, when a student wishes to heighten the moment of suspense in, say a climax, short simple sentences will produce the perfect effect.

On the other hand, if the student wishes to stretch the tension or describe thoughts, longer sentences will convey that aptly. In this way, the rhythm of sentences helps establish the connection with the reader. 

Overall, encouraging creativity in students to write about a realistic topic can be challenging. However, teachers accomplish this by guiding students to approach the task with imagination and originality. Such written expressions help students to develop their language skills in a fun and meaningful way.  

At Write Edge, week after week, students who attend Primary and Secondary English tuition at both online and physical classes get more and more exposure to creative thinking and expression even while writing essays that conform to the MOE requirements.

They constantly experiment with all the above techniques to ensure that ingenuity is not killed along the way. Creativity is here to stay- whether in stories with realistic topics or fanciful ones! 

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