A piece from our guest blogger, Dave Stratton-Powell – Consultant to SciTech – Science, Technology and Children.
“When we think of creativity, we naturally think of the Arts – music, painting, writing, dance etc. Those of you who can think more creatively may consider other areas such as architecture, fashion, or some products. Maybe you can even think beyond the stereotypical view of what creativity is and where it exists! In reality, creativity is ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something’ and therefore ‘something’ can be and is anything.
My problem is, I can’t remember having many, if any, conversations where teaching ranked high on the creativity scale, if it ranked at all. Why would we want to include teaching within the banner of creativity when it is, at a basic level, simply the process of imparting knowledge and skills from a ‘teacher to a learner’? If teaching falls within the category of ‘something’, which clearly it does, it therefore must fit within the banner of creativity. Why then do we rarely view it within this banner? We expect the creation of a piece of artwork to make an impact, a mental, if not also, physical impression on those experiencing it. Why should teaching be any different?
Teaching may be a skill which apparently some have, some may not have and some may be able to acquire but it is many other things, one of which is that it is an art. As an art it is and should always be creative. It should excite, stimulate and engage but above all else it should make an impact. It should be memorable and creative in the way it ‘imparts its knowledge’. Creative teaching is the way in which we change the way some one looks at something. By being original and different you can create an impression of something that will last as a memory for a life time. We seem to spend more and more time defining the learning process in such a precise and quite often inflexible way, that one wonders what opportunities remain to actually allow for productive creative learning.
If we stifle creativity by being too structured then we are surely stifling the learning opportunities too? Creativity cannot be and should not be restricted by barriers but yet we seem happy to constrain the learning process with as many varying criteria as we can come up with. Creative learning flows, is flexible and adapts to the learners’ needs and gives opportunity to grow and develop. A product that is marketed well creates a need to want to know more. If “knowledge” was marketed by PR companies, would it be a very different experience? I have a feeling it might but then again the criteria and approach they would set would be very different to those set by schools. I appreciate that this scenario is not comparing like with like but are we not in the business of marketing, promoting and in some ways even selling knowledge. We market and promote our schools but do we do the same for our main product – knowledge?”
Take a look at Scitech’s website for great ideas for classroom innovation!