Where and when do the best ideas happen?

This Best-Ideas-Poll I found has some very pertinent information for educators. The results found that most people have their best ideas when they are doing something completely different.

Many people said they come up with ideas best while:

  • Daydreaming
  • Driving
  • Commuting to and from work
  • Doing something that feeds your soul
  • When you least expect it
  • Walking
  • Being in nature
  • Late at night
  • Surfing the internet
  • Traveling
  • Vacationing
  • Showering
  • Having fun
  • Relaxing
  • Working with your hands
  • Reading books outside your field
  • Early in the morning
  • Dreaming (at night)
  • Taking a break
  • Laying awake in bed
  • Just before sleep
  • Just upon waking
  • Exercising
  • On a plane
  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Doing nothing
  • Meditating
  • Doing anything mindless
  • Joking with friends
  • Taking a bath
  • Any repetitive physical activity
  • In the bathroom
  • In the kitchen
  • On a train
  • Gardening
  • Jogging or running
  • Just after exercising
  • At a concert
  • On the toilet
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Swimming
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Drinking anything with alcohol
  • Playing a sport
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Shaving
  • In a bar
  • Organizing things

Is it important for our students to have ideas? Of course it is.

So why do we insist that they stay at their desk/table for hours at a time to think, write, answer questions etc? We need to give them time and space for their thinking…even outside the classroom.

The results also showed that most ideas came about when people were on their own or worked with one other. How come we expect students in a classroom of others to generate good thinking or ideas most often as a class group?

If we look at most workplaces the majority of work is done alone or in small groups/teams. With each left alone to do their own job.

So if we want our students to be more productive let’s allow them to daydream, go for a walk, do some doodling, have a drink, take a break, do some origami etc, whatever works for them.

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One thought on “Where and when do the best ideas happen?

  1. Great point! I am sure I have been guilty over and over for squashing the ideas of a student. I often make students sit in their seats when they read, even though some of them have asked to sit on the floor or in the corner etc. Maybe I need to lighten up a bit and let them think. I am seeing more and more that a rigid system of education does more harm than good, and often times ther is no good that comes from it.

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