Enhancing student creativity

A teaching intervention designed to stretch students imaginations from zero to infinity⎮2 min read

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This is Part One of a Two Part series written by Joanne Saville, Creative Arts Leader at Genazzano FCJ College, on how a teaching intervention developed students creative thinking in design.

In Visual Communication Design and the Visual Arts, it is not uncommon for students to get stuck or have limited ideas for design projects outcomes. The challenge in my Year 11 Visual Communication Design class was to extend students' creative thinking in their design projects for enhanced learning outcomes. I developed this strategy to extend the Unit 1, Outcome 2, Elements and Principles of Design task. As a department, we feel it is important to build capacity in our students creative expression so they can become divergent, lateral and creative thinkers. 

The Intervention I chose was based on a principle from the Science of Learning Research Centre’s PEN Principles: ‘PEN Principle #12: Pre-activate strategies to guide learning.’ This strategy was selected as I hoped the experience would act as a stimulus for creative thinking. This principle states that once an individual determines how to respond to a stimulus, this pattern will guide future behavioural responses to additional stimuli - even if these stimuli differ from the original (Science of Learning Research Centre, PEN Principles, 2019). I anticipated that students would use creative thinking as a part of the design process to generate more diverse, detailed and unique ideas for folio work.

I wanted to move students from surface to deep learning, resulting in the ability of the students to use the skills they had acquired and apply these skills to new practical projects and design ideas. To measure the impact of the intervention, I collected some baseline data before the strategy was applied. 

Pre intervention Data

TASK: Develop a museum poster for the ‘Insectropolis’ exhibition, based on a design brief inspired by Charley Harper Design. 


Students developed posters that typically represented insects and minibeasts in a traditional way. The designs fulfilled some aspects of the brief, but I wanted to see how the students work would develop following the intervention to promote creative thinking.  

In Part Two of the series, students learn how creative thinking strategies can promote innovation in design. 

Joanne Saville

Curriculum Leader Creative Arts, Genazzano FCJ college

I am a passionate educator of the Visual Arts and strive to improve its standing within the curriculum. Arts education is important in our future developing creative, imaginative and passionate humans.