As a yearbook coordinator, your job is twofold: to help your students learn the publication process and to produce a fabulous yearbook. But as a role model, you also have a responsibility to lead them down the path towards an amazing future. One way to do this is by helping them develop superior critical thinking skills. The yearbook committee is a way to engage the creative talents of your students, which encourages them to become better problem solvers in general. This is something that won’t just help them today, but supports their success later on in life. Today, I’m examining a TED talk, “Design Thinking–Maximizing Your Students’ Creative Talent,” that focuses on how you can maximize your students’ creative talent as a gateway for their future and offering applicable lessons for you to use with your team.
Problem Solving vs. The Right Answer
In school, children are often taught to create work that represents what a teacher wants to see–to ‘jump through the hoops,’ as it were. Instead of thinking outside the box to come up with unique–and possibly better–solutions to problems, they’re told that there’s only one right answer. This builds a learning environment that stifles innovation. When challenged with coming up with creative solutions, many children don’t even know where to start. Teaching them to unleash their imagination will support strong original content for your yearbook, and also teach your students how to change the way they approach everyday problems in their schoolwork and beyond.
Design Thinking is a Process
To infuse creativity into how your students solve complex problems, they have to start by asking the right questions. After identifying a problem, challenge your students to get out into the community to look for answers. This will help them to understand the full scope of an issue and ultimately identify the best solution for a problem. At the beginning, your students will need your guidance to develop questions that get to the root of their story. As they practice, they’ll hone their skills to be able to ask awesome questions right off the bat.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
To apply this line of thought to your yearbook, have your students act like journalists to uncover unique stories for new features within your yearbook. Help them formulate and track questions and responses on a notepad that they can refer back to. As they review their notes, encourage your students to come up with five creative story topics that could result in an extraordinary article for your book.
After gathering their data, encourage your students to test out some of the yearbook ideas they came up with. Use a storyboard to lay out what each concept would entail. This style of prototyping will help them make the connection between a great concept, and whether they have enough data to implement the idea. By showing your students how to test concepts out before committing to one, you teach them that it’s ok to fail a few times before they find success. Over time, this inspires them to think outside the box on a regular basis–which creates a more innovative student body as a whole.
Creative Yearbook Ideas Go Beyond Today
Developing broader critical thinking skills that inspire kids to go beyond just finding the answer their teacher is looking for does more than support great yearbook ideas. It teaches your students how to be passionate about the work they do. Beyond this, when students are given the creative tools to solve complex problems, they develop a more strategic thought process for approaching their work. This supports their ability to not just succeed, but to thrive after they’re sent off into the real world. Work with your committee to use this concept and come up with unique yearbook ideas that shine. You’ll teach them to have fun with problem-solving, while giving them valuable tools for the future as well!