Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The importance of creativity
My new 'guru' - sharing ideas some of us have held for decades: Sir Ken Robinson.
'Brilliant' - John Cleese
It has been great to discover Sir Ken Robinson. I bought his wonderful book'Out of Our Minds' last year but the icing on the cake was watching a small video clip of one of his presentations.
A must for everyone . Access his short video clip by going to TEDTalks - scroll down to Sir Ken.
Sir Ken talks about the importance of nurturing innovative solutions in the classrooms - indeed in every aspect of life. Sir Ken is now senior adviser to the Paul Getty Trust and was knighted in 2003 for his commitment to the creative arts and education in the UK.
Creativity is set to become the 'buzz' word of the future. Sir Ken sees creativity as essential for students as they seek jobs in the future.
The world is changing so quickly that promoting creative thinking he says will be essential. Sir Ken reminds us that kids starting school this year will be retiring in 2066 and that we don't have a clue about what the world will be like then.
The trouble is, Sir Ken says, is that the education system isn't designed to promote this kind of innovative thinking.The current system is designed to promote standardization, conformity and a certain type of narrow skill set. NZ teachers will recognize them as their current 'targets'. Creativity, he believes, is as important as literacy and numeracy.
Sir Ken defines creativity as the process of having original ideas and that there are several steps.The first step is imagination- the capacity to see something in the mind's eye. Creativity is using that imagination to solve problems - he calls it 'applied imagination'. Innovation is putting that creativity into practice as 'applied creativity'.
It seems simple enough but he outlines a number of things that get in the way. The first is the belief that only some people are creative - we are creative. The second is that creativity is restricted to the arts - creativity is applicable to every aspect of life ( the idea of 'multiple intelligences'). The third is you are either born with it or you are not - we now know it can be cultivated in everyone.
Educational Sir Ken believes , is currently focusing too much on literacy, maths and science. It is not that they are not important but that we need students with creative power in all fields.
The Renaissance was flowering on all fronts - education today, he says, is focusing on a piece of the problem. Another issue is to develop creative teaching. The trouble is that it has not been a good time for creative teachers in this era of standardized teaching. We need, he says, to create an 'environment for curiosity' to get the best out of teachers and students.
Creativity needs to be cultivated if we are to build a talent pool. Just as a sports person develops his or her skill so should any student with a talent. It can't be left to chance. We ought to be doing better, he states, and in particular the education system needs to do a better job.
Moves to personalize learning he sees as a positive step as with moves to develop a problem centred interdisciplinary learning approach which allows students and their teachers to share their individual talents. Modern information technology, integrated into a creative learning environment, he believes, offers exciting possibilities.
Schools need to be broken into smaller units and individual schools need more autonomy. Standardization may be OK for MacDonalds but it demoralizes teachers and students. Standardization, he continues, is based on making education 'teacher proof' when we need to do the reverse.
The secret of creativity, he believes, is looking hard at teachers and students to help them realize and share their strengths. Creativity is helping people, teachers, students and employees to find their talents.
Watch the video clip on TEDtalk and share with anyone who has an interest in the future.
And don't expect the Ministry to be creative - its not in their job description.