Experiential Exercises

Encouraging Creativity In Your Students

In my Introduction to Entrepreneurship course, I often find that students are a bit intimidated by some of the creativity exercises we do in class.  Research shows that as students move through the educational system, their creative tendencies also decline.

I see part of my role as an entrepreneurship educator to rekindle that creativity and encourage students to question more of their own realities. Research also shows that the five senses can greatly impact one’s ability to tap into creative tendencies.  You can read a bit more about how I’ve used noise to boost my students’ creativity here.

Research also shows that smell is the strongest sense linked to memory.  This semester, I grew a bit frustrated with my students’ lack of creativity during class exercises.  I desperately wanted them to tap back into their questioning ability that they had in their younger years before our educational system drummed it out of them.

Keeping all of this research in mind around kindergarteners being more creative than adults, sense being linked to memory, and sense encouraging creativity; I decided to test it all out.  For our creativity exercise around thinking about different target markets for products, I gave the student teams large pads of paper and… smelly markers.

The students’ reactions were priceless. When I pulled out the smelly markers, they gobbled them up like turkeys!  They pulled them all out and started sniffing each one; the strawberry red, the licorice black, the lemon yellow… They literally were acting like kids again trading markers and giggling.

I can honestly say that this exercise has never gone better than the day I brought smelly markers into class.  I explained all of the research to the class prior to handing out the markers.  The ideas that came out of the session were outstanding.

smelly markersWhat I did not expect is that the students actually bonded over the memories they had from childhood. This immediately provided a safe environment to exchange ideas and even some of my shyest students came out of their shells a bit.

If you decide to give this a go, I’d love to hear how it goes!  Mr. Sketch tends to have a nice assortment of ‘flavors.”

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