Tuesday 8 November 2011

SoCIT - Plugging Into Creativity

The film we submitted to the Schools of Creativity pavilion at the Royal Festival Hall's 'Festival '51' exhibition this summer is now available online along with those from other Schools of Creativity across the country.

We will soon be hosting the touring version of this exhibition (Dec - Jan) in our Gallery space, just in time for the Post 16 Open Evening (1st Dec) and the official opening of the school in January.

Saturday 5 November 2011

What does it mean to be imaginative?

Over the next few weeks students in Year 9 will be taking part in a field trial on behalf of the Centre for Real World Learning at the University of Winchester and the government body Creativity, Culture and Education. The purpose of the field trial is to research the possibility of designing an assessment framework for creativity. This is the second phase of the trial. The first was concerned with what it means to be inquisitive. This term we are focused on the imagination. Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton, joint authors of 'New Kinds of Smart', are proposing that creativity is made up of several key characteristics. These are:
  • Inquisitive - wondering & questioning, exploring & investigating, challenging assumptions
  • Persistent - tolerating uncertainty, sticking with difficulty, daring to be different
  • Collaborative - cooperating appropriately, giving & receiving feedback, sharing the product
  • Disciplined - reflecting critically, developing techniques, crafting & improving
  • Imaginative - playing with possibilities, making connections, using intuition
The Prezi above provides a really useful overview of the conceptual framework for the research. This term, I hope to be working with a team of colleagues and students in Year 9 to explore what it means to be imaginative. As well as reflecting on their understanding of their own imaginations we will be gathering a range of evidence of their imaginations in action.

We will use statements about the imagination and what it means to be imaginative and ask students to decide how much the statements reflect their learning habits of mind:

Being imaginative means trying things our. It means combining ideas from different places. It means being able to carry on even when you can't fully explain your reasoning.

If this is 'very much like me' then I can show that I can keep my mind open to ideas and that I don't narrow down too quickly. I can show that I look for links between facts and ideas. I use my own intuitions to come up with ideas. I can do these things without being prompted. I am confident about doing these things.
Whenever I have had explicit discussions with students about a particular skill or attribute prior to a learning activity I have always found it to be more successful. I hope and expect that this term's work will benefit from being framed by this exploration of the imagination and that we will have a great deal to discuss and share in terms of how this skills/ability/aptitude can be tracked over a period of time.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

A brief glimpse of our brand new school

I have had the most amazing day in our new school building. Whilst it's not quite fully finished I was able to gain access to my teaching area and unpack all my boxes. having put up with a completely inadequate teaching space for so many years it feels extraordinary to be in spaces that I helped to design and specify and I know the students will love them. The amount of light and space is incredible and it was so lovely to wander around the building today and listen to colleagues waxing lyrical about their rooms and facilities. We know we have been very lucky to be involved in the BSF process when so many people across the country have been denied the possibility of a new school building. Rest assured that we will be working very hard to make sure that we don't squander the amazing opportunity this building affords us to ensure our young people have a fantastic 21st century education.