Tuesday 12 May 2009

Back to the Future

I've just been reading the posts we made when we first set out as an Action Research Group and used the school's website to share our thoughts. Here is a post from way back in January 2008 about conditions for creative learning in schools. It's really important we keep returning to these key ideas and observations to see how much progress we may or may not have made as a group in influencing the creativity agenda. I think we still have a job to do in helping to define creative learning, describe what it might look like and suggest ways of fostering it in (and outside) school:

Definition of Creativity
Mr Nicholls 08 Jan 2008 17:46
This is the definition provided by QCA and is based on All Our Futures:
First, they [the characteristics of creativity] always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective.
I would add that the skills required in order to think and learn creatively are, perhaps, what we should be concentrating on defining as part of the KS3 review process. Also, what would lessons look like if we were requiring students to think and behave creatively?
Here is some information from the excellent Learning and Teaching Scotland website:
The following approaches can help teachers to promote creativity in the classroom.
  • Ensuring that planning incorporates a range of teaching and learning styles.

  • Providing regular opportunities for hands-on experimentation, problem solving, discussion and collaborative work.

  • Creating opportunities where pupils are encouraged to actively do the work and question what is going on.

  • Making use of creative thinking techniques such as Brainstorming, Thinking Hats and PMI.

  • Sharing the learning intentions with pupils and providing them with opportunities for choosing how they are going to work.

  • Encouraging pupils to improvise, experiment and think outside the box.

  • Actively encouraging pupils to question, make connections, envisaging what might be possible and exploring ideas.

  • Asking open-ended questions such as ‘What if…?’ and ‘How might you…?’

  • Joining in with activities and modelling creative thinking and behaviour.

  • Encouraging pupils to develop criteria that they can use to judge their own work, in particular its originality and value.

  • Facilitating open discussion of the problems pupils are facing and how they can solve them.

  • Encouraging pupils to share ideas with others and to talk about their progress.

  • Using failure or setbacks as opportunities to learn.

  • Ensuring that assessment procedures reflect and reward creativity, enterprise and innovation.

  • Making effective use of encouragement, praise and positive language.

  • Creating opportunities to learn through the imagined experience, giving them a safe context to explore ideas using drama techniques.

Developing creative thinking skills are fostered when learners are given:

  • authentic tasks that are relevant and which have a real purpose;

  • meaningful responsibility to think for and organise themselves;

  • real accountability in terms of setting standards for their work and agreeing these standards through discussion and collaboration.

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