Teach Creative An essay about the value and importance of creativity in education
Rhiannon Josland 09233210
Creativity in Education
What is creativity?
Recent advances in technology have created a new paradigm shift in our understanding of what knowledge is, and how it is valued. In educational discussions worldwide, creativity, or the ability to think up original, meaningful ideas, is now being explored and applied in the classroom in order to provide students with the skills necessary to cope with the modern world (Steers, 2009). Through creating a visual communication design strategy, I wish to create resources which foster creative thinking amongst primary and secondary school teachers, encouraging them to define a new mode of intelligence within New Zealands education system. By promoting creativity in the classroom, our primary and secondary schools will be able to offer a more realistic model of learning in the 21st century. In this essay I will explore the current state of education and how creativity could enhance it, arguing that creativity is not only important for the modern learner, but is also key to creating economic success in the modern global market. ‘Creativity’ is a broad concept that can go across many contexts (Steers, 2012). As defined by Morris, creativity is having the ability to use ones’ individual intelligence to produce original ideas that can meet a desired objective (2006). In the modern world, creative thinking has extended beyond the traditional realms of music and art. Applied to the school context, creativity in the classroom can create students who are engaged, motivated and dynamic thinkers (TEDtalks, 2007).
Creativity is having the ability to use ones’ individual intelligence to produce original ideas that can meet a desired objective. Morris, 2006
Education systems worldwide currrently lack creativity
With such a strong focus on standardized tests and studentâ€™s academic success, students and teachers alike have little room for flexibility and free thinking, two key components of creativity (Steers, 2009)
Sir Ken Robinson argues that schools are actually killing creativity. He believes they do not foster a child’s natural innovation and talent, referencing Picasso as saying ‘all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up’ (TEDtalks, 2007). Robinson believes that the biggest barrier to this is having an education system which stigmatizes mistakes. ‘We don’t grow into creativity,’ he argues, ‘we grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it’ (TEDtalks, 2007). Morris (2006) has noticed several patterns around the world which support this, arguing that most schooling systems stigmatise creativity. With such a strong focus on standardized tests and student’s academic success, students and teachers alike have little room for flexibility and free thinking, two key components of creativity (Steers, 2009). Additionally David Kelly, founder of successful innovation firm IDEO, explains that humans develop a ‘fear of judgement’ as soon as they are told that they have done something wrong (TEDtalks, 2012). In doing so, they develop negative connotations with risk-taking and originality, eventually opting out of thinking that they are creative. A recent global study conducted by Adobe confirmed this, finding that 40% of the subjects would not consider themselves creative (2012). Similarly, more than half agreed that their education system stifled creativity. Venson agrees that due to this lack of creativity in our classrooms, our current education system is out of date and fails to meet the requirements of the everevolving 21st century (2012). Public education was initially started in the 19th century to meet the needs
of industrialism where children were taught the basic skills needed to be involved in mass production lines (TEDtalks, 2007). Our world has changed significantly since then, with Schleicher making the point that ‘a generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would last their students a lifetime. Today, because of rapid economic and social change, schools have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t yet know will arise’ (2010). Venson agrees that ‘creativity and innovation in classrooms is directly related to the ability to cope with issues never before seen or encountered’ (2012).
New technology has created a significant change in how we value information. The internet in particular has created a highly accessible portal for knowledge to be shared, no longer making it a commodity. As a result, Robinson explains that this new understanding of knowledge based on how well one can apply what they know is having profound effects on our traditional education system (TEDtalks, 2007). Schools across the globe are currently facing pressure to teach students skills in how to apply their knowledge in a real-world context. In the near future, we will have many challenges that we are not currently able to predict. It is because of this constant change that out traditional teaching methods will no longer provide adequate education for students. This apparent creativity gap presents huge challenges for education systems worldwide, as we come to realize that our new global economy is becoming defined by the ability to come up with innovative and original ideas (Brock, 2013). Creative thinking is now central to keep up with the ever-evolving market and constantly changing customer needs. This is especially important for New Zealandâ€™s small scale economy in keeping up with global competitors.
New Zealand’s education lacks creativity
Despite New Zealand’s education system ranking comparatively high in terms of success, without creativity in the classroom we risk both falling behind the times and the economy (Nusche, Laveault, MacBeath & Santiago, 2011). Morris believes that there currently seems to be a paradox between professionals who think innovation and creativity is key in the future and education system which fails to harness this (2006). Two main reasons exist which explain teachers hindered ability to use creativity in the classroom. The first is that they are often unsure how to fit it in amidst the standardised curriculum and assessments. With school systems so heavily reliant on meeting targets, this enforced conformity often discourages teachers from taking risks and bringing their own ideas into the classroom (Steers, 2012, p. 128). Students are also placed under significant pressure by schools to meet National Standards, particularly when they reach NCEA (Nusche et al., 2011). In a recent article by The New Zealand Herald titled ‘Exam stats show which schools are doing best’, schools of similar backgrounds and deciles are described as comparing their performance to each other solely based on NCEA examination results. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority deputy chief executive Richard Thornton was quoted as saying “the stakes are high for kids because of the economy, the shortage of jobs and the cost of going to university - they don’t want to get it wrong”. Schleicher argues that this approach, where rote learning is used to meet targets offers little flexibility for new ideas (Schleicher,
2010). Morton also stresses that in our modern world, ‘producing more of the same knowledge and skills will not suffice to address the challenges of the future’ (Morton, 2012). The second reason creativity is not fully implemented in out schools is due to little creativite resources or professional development programs which help teachers in this area. In a survey I recently conducted, all interviewees furthermore agreed that innovative thinking was crucial for growing New Zealand’s economy in the 21st century, yet all subjects wanted to learn how to further creativity in the classroom. Comerford had similar results while conducting her thesis on teachers’ beliefs and practices towards creativity in the classroom at Otago University (2012) . Through subject questionnaires, she found that the results matched those overseas. The New Zealand education system currently does not hold a very strong emphasis on creativity in the classroom. She noted that teachers did not have a very strong grasp of the term creativity nor were they given creative professional development to harness creativity (Comerford, 2012). Alongside her questionnaire, she set up an experiment to see what effects professional development had on teachers. Splitting a group of 55 South island primary school teachers into two groups, she compared the questionare results of an intervention group who recieved a one-off two hour professional development session is which they were taught about creativity in the classroom, against that of a comparison
group. Following the session, the intervention group was found to successfully be able to define and acknowledge creativity but still found it difficult to foster it. Following an experiment Comerford noted that the majority of participants would like to learn how to further their training in this field through professional development training (2012).
How to bring creativity into classroom
Key to bringing creativity into the classroom is through what Robinson calls dynamic intelligence, or the ability to think outside the box and explore alternative solutions and perspectives (TEDtalks, 2007). Morris believes that creativity is effectively practiced using a diverse range of cognitive skills, displayed through students who are inquisitive and questioning (2006). They are laterally thinking problem solvers who use their imagination to see new possibilities and develop alternative perspectives. They also invite constructive criticism to strengthen their ideas and gain different insights. Schleicher reiterates this, that education in the 21st century can now be assumed as having a wide range of skills and perspectives which enable us to adapt to the fastchanging conditions of our modern world (2010).
Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti in Christchurch is a school that understands that ‘creative and critical’ approaches and cross-disciplinary learning arms students with the skills they need to face the challenges of the modern world out side of the classroom (Schleicher, 2010). In their school model, teachers are learners and learners teachers. This alternative school model runs on ten tenants for success which include new age principles such as self-directed learning, inclusion and participation from the wider community (see figure 1). In this model, students take control of their learning which in turn creates engaged citizens that are interested and able to contribute positively to the world around them (Schleicher, 2010). This is the kind of model in which Schleicher should be the new standard for the 21st century. It give students the opportunity to learn what they want and the method to which they do this. By taking control of their learning, students gain control over their lives. Through the ascertainment of these key skills Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti students retain confidence and engagement in their learning serving a purpose outside of the classroom (Schleicher, 2010). Schleicher suggests that the teacher/student hierarchy is currently being evened out as knowledge no longer becomes confined to specialists who expertise in one particular area. Through this sharing of information Schleicher believes ‘knowledge is energised and enriched by the power of communication and constant collaboration’.
Figure 1 Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti (n.d.). Ten Tenants. Retrieved from http:// unlimited.school.nz/community/ ten-tenets/
Through a multi-channel strategy, my project sets out to offer teachers the skills necessary for implementing creative practices in the classroom, and provide them with additional ongoing support.
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For New Zealand to thrive in the 21st century, our education system must establish a more creative learning experience. In order to encourage children to use creative practises, Steers believes teachers must initially be confident in the practises themselves, â€˜creative pupils needs creative teachers with the confidence to take creative risksâ€™ (2012, p. 128). Morris agrees that teachers hold a lot of power in terms of how much creativity enters the classroom (2006). Through the aforementioned findings by myself and Comerford, there is obviously a current a lack of guidance and practical resources for New Zealand teachers to develop creative these approaches (2012). This is a key issue of staff development and I wish to address it through visual communication design (Morris, 2006). Through a multi-channel strategy, my project sets out to offer teachers the skills necessary for implementing creative practices in the classroom, and provide them with additional ongoing support .
In this initial phase, I will design a creative workshop targeted at local Board of Trustees to implement as part of their annual staff development. Staff will be taken through a creativity-oriented professional development workshop spanning two days. The targets from this would be: • deeper understanding of the term ‘creativity’ • acknowledgement that they are a creative thinker • exploration of techniques that can be used in the classroom to foster creative thinking Made up of a series of fun, engaging exercises, teachers would be given positive reinforcement and the confidence to apply their knowledge in the classroom situation. They will be able build up a toolbox of creative techniques in the classroom, such as ways of instilling engagement and offering critical feedback in their classroom (Morris, 2006). The workshops will also help teachers enter the ‘open mode’, a mood in which Cleese explains promotes creativity. In the open mode, teachers are more explorative, curious, relaxed and ultimately creative (Video Arts, 1991). He based this off a survey of creatives by McKinnon, concluding that creative individuals embrace play. He explains further that when we explore things for enjoyment rather than pure purpose, we are more likey to be in a creative mode.
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For those that have talked themselves out of being creative, the initial workshop will help break this fear down, instead turning creativity into familiarity, a process that IDEO conducts with new employees and business partners. By taking people through â€˜guided masteryâ€™ a step by step program initially created by psychologist Dr Albert Bandura, to illiminate phobias, IDEO enables people to realise their self-efficacy as creative thinkers (TEDtalks, 2012).
Technology now plays a major role in assisting teachers with sourcing material for classes so to I will provide ongoing assistance for teachers through an online website. With a recent study finding that 92% of American middle and secondary school teachers considering the use of the internet as having a â€˜major impactâ€™ (Purcell, 2013), the internet provides an ideal source for gathering knowledge. Following the workshop, teachers will be given additional support by the way of membership to an online website where they can collaborate with other teachers, sharing collective knowledge (see figure 2). Here they will be able to share tips and tricks for fostering a creative classroom environment, upload and view each others creative lesson plans and download creative resources and exercises.
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The workshop and website will be promoted as part of an initiative called â€˜Teach Creativeâ€™, a hypothetical organization aimed at raising creative outcomes in New Zealand primary and secondary schools (see figure 3). Both the promotional materials and the services it provides are focused on re-igniting the often neglected left side of the brain (TEDtalks, 2007), promoting the use of creative thinking.
teach creative Figure 2 Teach Creative log in
Figure 3 Teach Creative logo
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With the modern context changing our traditional understanding of intelligence, students must now be taught how to apply their knowledge to real-world, complex scenarios that will engrave the 21st century. Through the adoption of creative methods by teachers, innovative thinking will be encouraged within the classroom. Through the use of Teach Creativeâ€™s services by primary and secondary school teachers, we can foster creative-thinking students and teachers alike, creating a brighter future for New Zealand while defining a new mode of intelligence within our education system.
Adobe. (2012). Study Reveals Global Creativity Gap. Retrieved from http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/ 201204/042312AdobeGlobalCreativityStudy.html Brock, A. (2013, 4 May). Ways to unlock innovation, the key to economic growth. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10881389 Haviland, M. (2012). Encouraging Teachers to Teach Creativity. http://plpnetwork.com/2012/06/05/encouraging-teachers-teachcreativity/ Morris, W. (2006). Creativity - It’s place in Education. Retrieved fromhttp://www.jpb.com/creative/Creativity_in_Education.pdf Morton, J. (2012, Nov 12). Exam stats show which schools are doing best. Retrieved from the New Zealand Herald http://www. nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10846733 Nusche, D., Laveault, D., MacBeath, J. & Santiago, P. (2011). OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: New Zealand 2011. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “http://www. oecd.org/newzealand/49681441.pdf ” http://www.oecd.org/ newzealand/49681441.pdf Purcell, K. (2013). How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet. org/Reports/2013/Teachers-and-technology.aspx Philip, R. (2007). Understanding How Adolescents Think. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/classroom-management-learningstates-teenagers-interview TEDtalks. (2007). Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
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Schleicher, A. (2010). The case for 21st-century learning. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21stcenturylearning.htm Venson, V. (2012). Why We Need a Universal Language for Creativity in Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ why-we-need-a-universal-language-for-creativity-in-classrooms TEDtalks. (2012). David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ watch?feature=player_embedded&v=16p9YRF0l-g Venson, V. (2012). Why We Need a Universal Language for Creativity in Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ why-we-need-a-universal-language-for-creativity-in-classrooms Video Arts. (1991). John Cleese - a lecture on creativity [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/18913413 Vygotsky, L. (2003). Imagination and Creativity in Childhood. Retrieved from http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/ xmcamail.2008_03.dir/att-0189/Vygotsky__Imag___Creat_in_ Childhood.pdf Unlimited (n.d.). Ten Tenets. Retrieved from http://unlimited. school.nz/community/why-unlimited/
Adobe. (2012). Study Reveals Global Creativity Gap. Retrieved from http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/ 201204/042312AdobeGlobalCreativityStudy.html Brock, A. (2013, 4 May). Ways to unlock innovation, the key to economic growth. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10881389 Dunn, D. (2013). Education Finally Ripe For Radical Innovation By Social Entrepreneurs. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/ sites/skollworldforum/2013/04/07/education-finally-ripe-forradical-innovation-by-social-entrepreneurs/ Haviland, M. (2012). Encouraging Teachers to Teach Creativity. http://plpnetwork.com/2012/06/05/encouraging-teachers-teachcreativity/ Morris, W. (2006). Creativity - Itâ€™s place in Education. Retrieved from http://www.jpb.com/creative/Creativity_in_Education.pdf Kumar, H. (2013). 7 Amazing Ways to Be Creative Like a Child. Retrieved from http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/03/7amazing-ways-to-be-creative-like-child.html Looney, J. & Poskitt, J. (n.d.). New Zealand: Embedding Formative Assessment in Multiple Initiatives. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/34260418.pdf Lillard, P. (1996). Montessori Today: A comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood. New York, USA: Schocken Books Inc. Morton, J. (2012, Nov 12). Exam stats show which schools are doing best. Retrieved from the New Zealand Herald http://www. nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10846733
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Naughton, J. (2011). Kids today need a licence to tinker. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/aug/28/ictchanges-needed-national-curriculum?CMP=twt_gu
TEDtalks. (2012). David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ watch?feature=player_embedded&v=16p9YRF0l-g
Newport, R. (n.d.) New Zealand - Parents in school decisionmaking - “The New Zealand Experience”. Retrieved from http:// www.schoolboard-scotland.com/conference/New%20Zealand. htm
VanPatter, G. (2012). Lost Stories Applied Creativity History. Retrieved from http://www.humantific.com/lost-stories-appliedcreativity-history/
Nusche, D., Laveault, D., MacBeath, J. & Santiago, P. (2011). OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: New Zealand 2011. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “http://www. oecd.org/newzealand/49681441.pdf ” http://www.oecd.org/ newzealand/49681441.pdf Purcell, K. (2013). How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet. org/Reports/2013/Teachers-and-technology.aspx Philip, R. (2007). Understanding How Adolescents Think. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/classroom-management-learningstates-teenagers-interview Schleicher, A. (2010). The case for 21st-century learning. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21stcenturylearning.htm Venson, V. (2012). Why We Need a Universal Language for Creativity in Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ why-we-need-a-universal-language-for-creativity-in-classrooms TEDtalks. (2007). Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
Venson, V. (2012). Why We Need a Universal Language for Creativity in Classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ why-we-need-a-universal-language-for-creativity-in-classrooms Video Arts. (1991). John Cleese - a lecture on creativity [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/18913413 Vygotsky, L. (2003). Imagination and Creativity in Childhood. Retrieved from http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/ xmcamail.2008_03.dir/att-0189/Vygotsky__Imag___Creat_in_ Childhood.pdf Wikieducator. (2012). New Zealand Open Education Network. Retrieved from http://wikieducator.org/Nzopened
Figure 1. Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti (n.d.). Ten Tenants. Retrieved from http:// unlimited.school.nz/community/ten-tenets/