Thinking Outside The Box

Thinking Outside The Box

Do you get bored as often as I do? Then it’s high time to get creative, start thinking “outside the box”! Not only for your own sanity but also for your students, family, and friends! Sometimes we have to break down the wall of our boxes and get out of our comfort zones.

It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do if you are someone who likes routine and the same mundane daily structure.

What does “think outside the box” mean?

Well, it’s very simple, its a metaphor. We are often confined inside the walls of our thoughts and this can be very restrictive. The expression “outside the box” is often used in the business world and means you are to think creatively, push past the usual and boring, see past hurdles and come up with creative ideas of overcoming these hurdles or challenges. Think freely without restrictions. See, if you are inside a box, you are restricted by 4 walls.

Here is a great and short article on the history of the term.

As educators, it is so important to constantly be thinking outside the box so that we keep our student’s interests, they keep their motivation and most importantly we grow as teachers.

There is nothing worse than a demotivated and bored teacher. It is truly catastrophic!

Step 1: Solutions!

What are your students struggling with? How can you help them overcome these issues?

Is it the lack of rewards? Lack of energy in the online classroom?

How do we come up with a solution for these challenges?

The answer: THE INTERNET! Simple, right? Google / Yandex some resources, there are plenty of sites and blogs with informative ideas and create your own unique style based on the inspiration you have found.

Sometimes you need a little bit more of a push such as going outside, take walks between classes. Change up the material and have a conversation with your students and re-evaluate their goals. Are they traveling soon? Create a special lesson on their destination. Start a reward system or a little competition between students.

Change your space! Yes, students notice when you are in a different location! I changed from my study to my living room and this sparked my students’ interest, they saw books and pictures and this starting a whole new conversation.

For younger students, you can even use manycam or zoom virtual backgrounds and change it up. Kids love this!

Check mine out:

Step 2: Make Time

We all have our usual routines but it is very important to make time for being creative.

Go to art galleries, check out local art classes, attend seminars, watch some educational videos like TEDtalks, TEDed, TEDex.  Read a good book and do tons of research. You’ll quickly find that your brain starts bubbling and new ideas start to form. Get up early, grab a cup of coffee and watch the sun come up! It’s amazing how nature, the sound of birds chirping can get you thinking.

Step 3: Inspiration

Believe it or not, but sometimes having a conversation with other teachers, friends, family or even children (yes you read right) can be mind-blowing. A new perspective from different types of people is the perfect way to overcome some creative challenges. Kids are amazing, they are natural innovators, their thoughts are not always influenced by realism and not restricted by the box we adults live in.

Step 4: Creative Breaking

When we have a very complex problem and not sure how to tackle it, why not break the problem into smaller sections? Why not try working backward to the beginning? See where things can be changed and improved. Try using a mindmap or drawing a picture of the problem, you might see things differently. There’s a reason adult coloring books are so popular now. We use a completely different part of our brain!


When you start thinking outside the box not only will you see a change within yourself, your mood and attitude but you will see a change in your students and that my dear is the end goal of this exercise!

Here are a few resources that I love and would like to share with you, check it out!

Thinking outside the box requires a box: Michael Bahr at TEDxSUU

Think out of the Box – Expand your Comfort Zone – How to do Creative Thinking

Einstein’s Lesson on How to Think Outside the Box

Articles from Forbes and Inc.  

What do you do to “think outside the box”? Please share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below so that we all can learn and receive inspiration from each other! Over and out! I have to go do some creative thinking! Until later, that’s it from me!

Hanette Lian Stimie

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