Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Creating an environment to nurture creativity.
Students need to experience a wide range of interesting activities to discover their creative talents.
Creative thinking, or talent development, ought not to be the exclusive province of of special programmes; nor can it be reduced to a curricular 'frill' if there is time; or restricted to 'enrichment' activities for those who complete their 'normal' classwork.
Creativity is a capacity of every learner that ought to be recognised, valued and extended across all learning stages.
All students have the right to have their interests and talents affirmed and nurtured as an important aspect of their learning identity. Every teacher ought to see and nurture 'genius' in every learner. Creative thinking where students engage in, 'what if' and 'I wonder what will happen next', are important dispositions for all learners to develop - or rather not to lose when they enter school!
For this to happen certain misconceptions need to be redefined. Creativity is just not about encouraging free spirits - true creativity requires rigor, courage, personal effort and a sense of personal quality. Creative results do often come easily to learners but more often requires complex reasoning processes , where learners compare, deduce, abstract, make decisions , investigate, problem solve and continually change their minds. Most creative individual have worked hard to develop what now might seem to be an obvious solution.
Most of us see creativity as an individual achievement but other cultures pursue creativity for the good of the group through dance, song, and shared craft activities This is as true in the world of science where it is common, almost vital, for scientists to share their knowledge with each other.This applies to all other human endeavours and is seen at its best in times of natural disasters when people demonstrate talents they never realized they had.
To develop student creativity demands that schools develop opportunities for students to make connections across learning areas. When students research and express their ideas around an important felt concern many aspects of their work will involve their creativity and in the process uncover students talents and gifts.
Gifted-ness has progressed from being a single measurable trait to one that relies on such things as: interest, motivation, persistence, leadership, self confidence, and self esteem.
Everybody has a range of gifts to develop. Education can enhance or limit each student potential; being creative can be taught
Stunning creative thought or expression does not simply appear. Rather it is the product of years of learning, preparation and , if all students are to be creative, it takes encouragement, the provision of a conducive learning environment and sensitive teaching.
History is replete with examples of creative people who were not highly regarded by their teachers who have never the less made monumental contributions to our society. In a creative era we can longer afford to risk losing the creative energy of those who are not able to see beyond the opinions given to them by their school experience.
To be a life long learner is to be creative - to continually ask 'I wonder why', and ,'what if'.
To develop talents of all students is the number one task of teachers in a creative age.