#LearningIs creative

Learning can certainly be creative, if the conditions are right. Firstly, creative learning requires active engagement. Teaching can be more effective when questions are posed or challenges are presented, than when content is delivered or knowledge imparted. There is a place for the latter, but if teachers wish their students to go the extra mile, they need to directly involve them in learning. This means learning spaces where just about anything is possible, where students are kept guessing, and where they are offered the chance to discover for themselves.

Creative learning in the classroom is almost always 'small c' creativity. If it were 'big C' creativity, then we would all be geniuses, discovering earth changing formulae and devising life changing inventions. But that is rarely possible. When the little boy or girl in your class comes up with a new way of solving a maths problem, or discovers a new painting technique, it may be something you have seen a hundred times before. But it's creative for them. It's something they have arrived at themselves, without your help. That's 'small c' creativity, and it's the basis for self regulated learning.

Creativity doesn't happen overnight, and it's not a sudden occurrence requiring no effort. On the contrary, creativity requires a lot of effort and commitment. It requires thinking space, time to reflect, time to experiment. It sometimes means failure and it requires persistence. Archimedes spent a lot of time thinking over problems before his Eureka! moment. Thomas Edison attempted hundreds of combinations and versions before he finally succeeded in his quest to design a commercially viable light bulb.

Children also need encouragement from teachers to improve chances for creative learning. Steve Jobs once said: 'Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something.It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they'd had and synthesise new things.' A teacher once peered over a little girl's shoulder and asked her: 'What are you drawing, Sophie?' The little girl replied 'I'm drawing a picture of God.' The teacher said 'But no-one knows what God looks like.' Without missing a beat, Sophie said: 'They will when I'm finished!'

'Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep'. - Scott Adams

Photo by AisforAmy91 on Flickr

Creative Commons License
#LearningIs creative by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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