Friday, April 11, 2014

Creativity isn't a dark art



What does it mean to be creative? What exactly is creativity? If you search these two questions on the internet you will receive 267,000 results and 94,600 results respectively. If you check the same out on Twitter you can find ongoing discussions revolving around each question almost on a daily basis. Tonight has been one such night. David Didau (@learningspy) posted the following blog post 

The dark art of creativity

It created quite a stir, to say the least. 


As you might be aware, I now teach in Early Years. I can safely say that every day I encounter creativity.  There are 25 children in my class yet I can guarantee that every one of them will experience or directly create a creative moment every day. Young children are highly creative, their imaginations know no bounds. They say what they want, they will do what they want when they want and these outcomes are all creative. Early Years is filled with such creative moments, and as many creative moments are captured to give teachers a better understanding of every child’s needs. I base my planning on these moments and react to them instantly or as quickly as possible. Creativity in the Early Years is as common as plankton in our oceans. 

So why do other teachers argue about the loss of creativity throughout the rest of a child’s education? Does it mysteriously fade away due to natural causes or does the education system have no time for it, or worse, seek to eradicate it? 

After considering various definitions for creativity, I’m going with this - Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas. There are many possibilities that we could use this creativity for, you may even disagree on the definition I have used so please feel free to provide your own but for the sake of this post, creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas. 

In primary school, children have many original and imaginative ideas. But do these creative moments fit into a school’s expectations? Do we take the risk of following through with a child’s creativity or do we stick rigidly to the given curriculum so as to meet our performance management targets? Do we constantly worry that children aren't creative anymore or do we ensure they understand and can use the basics in Maths and English which will lead to many of them finding that creative spark once again?


There is a balance. Creativity can be encouraged whilst still meeting the targets imposed upon us by SMT and your own expectations. All it takes is courage. It’s not that difficult. Feel free to deny a child's creativity in your comments below and please do read David's post

If we really want children to be more creative we must feed their imaginations. We need to teach them stuff before we can expect them to question and criticise. We need to show them how ideas coalesce into something useful before they we start seeing their own connections. And we need to give them rules if we want to give them something to kick against and escape from. Constraints force creativity: freedom stifles it.

That's made me think, creatively ;-)