Thursday, February 15, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
If creative thought is the new capital of the21stC it is important to develop and capture it!
Our creative thinking often comes to us at odd times making it hard for us to record our thoughts. There are nights when I can't get to sleep for thinking - just can't turn my mind off!
And when we become involved in thinking we become so absorbed that we lose our sense of time, entering into what one writer calls 'flow'. The ideas generated at such times are to valuable to lose
If, at such times when ideas are 'streaming', you can tune into thoughts you can create something of real value. It is important to take advantage of such times because you can't force creative thinking.
It seems we need to think like Leonardo da Vinci who always carried a notebook at all times. I find myself writing notes to myself , sometimes late in the night, in attempt to capture ideas my mind throw ups at such inconvenient times.
Great minds like Leonardo's go on asking questions with an intensity that continues throughout their lives. If we want to develop this faculty in our students we need to retain their sense of wonder and their inborn curiosity. Unfortunately, as a result of an education system based on transmission of knowledge, this sense of wonder is all too often lost.
Not only ought we encouraging students to value their own thinking but we need to assist them to reflect on their thoughts and capture them by jotting them down in 'thinking journals'. We need to encourage them to question accepted knowledge. Curiosity is the wellspring of all learning. We can encourage this creative thought by encouraging and using students question, by allowing students to explore what attracts their attention, and by allowing them to follow their trains of thought.
Very little of this creative teaching is to be found in our schools - even in the best of primary classes where the teachers' agendas, no matter how liberal, holds centre stage. We need to develop an 'emergent' curriculum based on what attracts our students' curiosity.
As we enter, what some are calling a 'creative era', it is important that schools change with the times - or better still lead the change by creating environments for students to develop creative thought.
Schools have a great opportunity to become focused on creative thinking - talk of personalising learning would seem to be start.
Schools in the 21stC ought to be championing those who challenge he status quo.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
It is always the way. As soon as the summer holidays have past summer actually arrives.
Teachers and their students, who have up to now had little experience of real heat, are now feeling it, but now confined to their classrooms.
Lets hope teachers have decided to vacate their rooms and do their learning in the cool shade outside.
Teachers who have not forgotten that environmental literacy is as important as book literacy will no doubt be really enjoying themselves. The big issue of the coming decade is not a literacy crisis but a climatic one. The sooner students develop an awareness of their environment , and in the process learn to love and respect it, the sooner they will see the need to sustain and protect it. As the future generation they will need to see it as the number one world problem.
If teachers do take their students outdoors they might begin to see that it is through rich sensory experiences that their students develop real insights and in the process expand them their all important vocabularies. They might even understand that in the beginning was not 'the word' but that in the beginning was 'the experience'.
So teachers ought to take this hot weather as an opportunity to go outside and let their children explore the environment through their senses. If it was good enough for Leonardo da Vinci; it is good enough for their students. Like Leonardo they need to see and interpret their experiences as, artists , poets mathematicians and scientists.
Outside children can sit under a tree and let their minds go for a walk. They can be taught to educate their senses - each sense introducing information for their growing minds to process. Listening bring in dimensions of sound, smelling will remind them forever of environmental experiences, touching opens the world of textures, and sight the world of movements, colours, and shapes.
Teachers who understand how brain grows will help their students expand on their ideas by encouraging students to see connections, to use language metaphorically , or to get them to simply describe what they can see. Teachers who appreciate the power of observation will encourage their students to draw what they can observe - encouraging them to focus on something of particular interests. Digital cameras assist in this process by bringing images back into class to further process.
In rooms ,with teachers who are environmentally aware, the evidence of students curiosity will be all around to see.There will be three line nature poems ( simple haiku), drawings , imaginative paintings, exciting phrases in their written language, and studies developing out of their reawakened curiosity.
Such teachers appreciate that by building on students questions and ideas about the immediate environment there is no need for imposing teacher planned curriculums on their captive students. By developing environmental awareness both teacher and students can learn to be co-explorers.
This is 'authentic' learning - building on how our brains were developed to work.
For environmental idea visit our site www.leading-learning.co.nz