What is creative learning? How could it be applied in school, community and networks? Does creativity stifle or nurture?
Creativity and creative learning, how is it valued in community, and schools?
“Teachers say they want creativity, but that is not the behavior that is rewarded. In this study (as well as in many others), they found that there is a discrepancy between what teachers, and schools in general, say they value and desire, and what behaviors they actually reward and encourage. ”
“The most highly valued employees are the ones who blindly accept the ideology of the company, don’t challenge authority, and do the work that is required of them, no questions asked. But how is this unconditional conformity supposed to leave any room for creativity and innovation? Don’t we as a society want creativity? How are we supposed to engage in creative behaviors when we are constantly being reprimanded, down-graded, fired, or just plain disliked, for thinking outside of the corporate box?”
In this paper on Creativity:
“The roots of a creative society are in basic education. The sheer volume of facts to be digested by the students of today leaves little time for a deeper interrogation of their moral worth. The result has been a generation of technicians rather than visionaries, each one taking a career rather than an idea seriously. The answer must be reform in our educational methods so that students are encouraged to ask about “know-why” as well as “know-how”. Once the arts are restored to a more central role in educational institutions, there could be a tremendous unleashing of creative energy in other disciplines too.”
Source: OnArts: Creative New Zealand. Michael D. Higgins, the former Irish Minister for Arts, Culture and Gaeltach
Carolyn Edwards and Kay Springate in their article “The lion comes out of the stone: Helping young children achieve their creative potential” [Dimensions of Early Childhood] give the following suggestions on encouraging student creativity:
• Give students extended, unhurried time to explore and do their best work. Don’t interfere when students are productively engaged and motivated to complete tasks in which they are fully engaged.
• Create an inviting and exciting classroom environment. Provide students with space to leave unfinished work for later completion and quiet space for contemplation.
• Provide an abundant supply of interesting and useful materials and resources.
• Create a classroom climate where students feel mistakes are acceptable and risk taking is encouraged. Appropriate noise, mess and autonomy are accepted.
So, how not to be creative? sounds so familiar with the traditional way of teaching, where teachers and students are expected to follow the routines, with teachers spoon-feeding students with canonical knowledge. This could often be counter-productive in creativity and innovation, especially in the case of adult learning.
What we need would be renewed ways of supporting and developing ours’ and our fellow students’ creativity in their search and exploration of knowledge, whilst constructing and navigating through the networks and communities, and the teaching and learning activities and tasks in classes, networks and communities.
These need to be based on creative learning principles where strategies could be developed ranging from different pedagogies – including peer-to-peer learning (peeragogy, as espoused by Howard Rheingold), and peer learning with active learning, participatory pedagogy, participatory action research, and online conversation as part of the learning pedagogy etc. These aligned with some of the elements of networked principles and Connectivism as discovered in MOOC, as elaborated here by Stephen Downes.
I haven’t got the right title for this pedagogy for creative learning. May I suggest to call it Creatagogy? This would be based on a pedagogy for human being where learning is viewed as a growth of creativity and capability for people, with technology as affordance, together with digital pedagogy and netagogy.
See this post on the objective of education is learning.
Postscript: An important paper on Paragogy – a learning pedagogy for peer-producing and self-directed learning. More resources available here, and a wiki here.
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In the art classes I’ve taken over the years creativity wasn’t really spoken of as if it were the core of the studio process. Openness, trust, constructive comment and support were the peer behaviors that emerged through encouragement and much unnoticed guidance from the instructor. I think everyone is expressive but isn’t always supported in the sometimes painful process of becoming themselves. And it isn’t easy to council enduring the pain of being different for some vague promise that things will work out–sometimes they don’t.
Western culture allows a certain level of cruelty to be socially acceptable as a means towards the stronger individual. Creativity, in its personification as being the different one is an easy target for the practicing of non-lethal meanness. The damage may fall on the creative one but it ripples back into society making everyone less trusting, less willing to risk difference.
School, unfortunately, has become a reflection of society that doesn’t really like creativity or difference. Ironically though being shark food makes people stronger than the sharks themselves.
I like your metaphor: Being shark food makes people stronger than the sharks themselves. We could make a difference – by helping and supporting each others in such a creative journey! Thanks so much for your valuable insights.
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A post by Cathy http://ht.ly/gFI9v – useful reference.
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