Teaching creativity, can it be done?

I recently listened to a 5 minute talk by Sir Ken Robinson where he discusses creativity in teaching. Excerpt from interview with Sir Ken Robinson for the Learning {RE}imagined book to be published mid-2014 (learning-reimagined.com). Interview by Graham Brown-Martin (about.me/grahambrownmartin)

When did we start confusing teaching with Fedex?

birdTo me that was the most intriguing statement in the 5 minutes talk. I just attended a workshop for all school leaders in my county (300) in December, where focus was on making sure that all our teachers do just that. Deliver the content to the students. And the symbol used was a bird feeding its young. Delivering content to the students based on curriculum goals and exams seem to me like taking a step backwards. It is what we have been trying to do for a long time. Given the discussion of distractions in the newspapers these days, based on the use of computers in class, we are in for a struggle trying to mouth feed our students the right content at the right time. What they do with this content is another questions. In tests they usually try to get their answers as close to the teachers’ as possible.Content delivery should not be confused with knowledge. And this kind of “knowledge” is not what is needed now! Not mentioning what it is doing to the students’ motivation in school. Kids bored in class and dropping out is another issue all together!

Sir Ken Robinson says; Teaching is an art form, not a delivery system. When did we start confusing teaching with Fedex? We all remember the good teachers in our lives. The ones who woke us up and that we still think about. The ones who gave us a good angle on something we have never forgotten. Being a good teacher is not only about knowing your own stuff. It is about knowing how to get your students interested, engaged and involved.

Teach creativity

creativityCreativity is original ideas that have value. How do we teach creativity? Sir Ken Robinson suggests that there is a need for professional development programs for teachers on the methods of creative teaching. Ways in which they can engage their students more imaginably in the material they want them to know. As for the answer to the question; can you teach creativity, the answer is yes, you can. You give you students challenges, you set the tasks, and then you give them freedom to speculate and to hypothesize, There is a pedagogy associated with helping other people be more creative. It ranges from very specific things you can teach them like better ways of having conversations, to how to respond to other peoples ideas. This is a different pedagogy not usually emphasized in teachers training. I guess we have to wait for Sir Ken Robinson’s next book to find more answers here! In the meanwhile, lets keep on engaging our students!

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