I was recently asked, via twitter, what sort of environment we would need to foster creativity in the classrooms. This is an interesting question. Creativity in our current teaching paradigm is sadly often an extension. The current assessment and curriculum driven and limited approach, does restrict the opportunities for creativity. I believe that creativity can be and should be part of all learning. No matter which discipline, curriculum model or syllabus.
So what environment do think we need to foster creativity?
It would be an environment focused on formative rather than summative assessment – examining the developmental needs of the student rather than taking an end point snap shot. Providing feedback that is honest, learning & learner focused, timely and appropriate.
The curriculum would be delivered using a project/problem based approach. You need a syllabus to provide structure, but it must be flexible enough to cater for the “teachable moment” and the question and investigation out of left field. Such a curriculum requires planning and reflection, student input and direction.
Teaching and learning would be based around real world problems which have relevance and significance to the students. These processes would require students to be engaged in collaborative and individual learning experiences.
It would be an environment that celebrates not only success but failure, an environment that encourages exploration and experimentation. An environment that is reflective; critical, honest, analytical and evaluative.
It is a place where students are exposed to creativity in its many forms, where they see, engage with and question exemplars of creativity across the disciplines and arts. They engage with creators from the various fields be it science or sculpting, design or dance, theatre or technology.
It is not a world of “free for all”, there are structures and frameworks, there are curricula and syllabi. But it is a world that appreciates and balances the need to be flexible and agile, as well as structured and compliant.
In this environment technology is like oxygen. It is essential, ubiquitous and invisible. (thanks Chris Lehman for the inspiration for that).
For this world to work their must be buy in and ownership from all parties – teachers, students, parents and administration. This isn’t something you can institute at the drop of a hat. The inertia of the education system is such that changes on this scale applied immediately would never be widely accepted. So this is a gradual change process, change, adjust, revise and apply.
The creative classroom and school does not separate the disciplines, rather each adds to the other – it is cross curricula. The creative classroom or school understands the needs of the person are not just academic, but encompass sports, the arts and academic endeavors. It is environment that is healthy, where daily exercise (which is different from sport or thematic physical education) is valued for its worth to academic pursuits including improvements to executive function, creativity and attention.
What would you change or challenge? What do you disagree with?