Creative Learning

Please note: this guide was written before the 2014 National Curriculum and some of the advice may no longer be relevant.
For more up-to-date guidance see:

Creative history teaching

Creativity in teaching takes many forms. It is often associated with the arts, but this is to ignore the myriad ways in which teachers can teach creatively across the whole curriculum.

Teaching creatively through history means treating history first and foremost as an active process of enquiry by children. It involves the use of the creative imagination grounded in evidence, where the teacher:

  • sets up open-ended and wide-ranging investigations
  • stimulates children to think actively and constructively, putting together different sources of evidence to construct a picture of the past
  • challenges children with mysteries to solve
  • asks children to pose questions, to form hypotheses, then to test these against the evidence
  • encourages discussion and debate
  • engages pupils' imaginations through storytelling, simulations and drama


What is creativity in teaching?

Creative teaching is done by teachers who are confident, innovative, interested in learning, and who encourage children to ask questions and explore ideas. This does not mean abandoning standards, rather it is an invitation to think of new and more stimulating ways to meet them - closed worksheets where children fill in missing words from a given list are the opposite of creative.

For more ideas about creative teaching see the Spring 2013 edition of the Historical Association journal Primary History.

Creativity and the Nuffield Primary History website

Many of the lessons on this website show creative teaching in practice.

The lessons listed above right exemplify a range of different approaches to creative teaching, incorporating questioning, investigations, storytelling, role-play, expressive movement and drama, hypothesising, discussion and debate, decision-making, synthesising and the use of the informed imagination by children.

Lessons on this site which particularly exemplify the creative approach

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