Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The beginnings of creative teaching.

  Posted by Picasa The Northern Maori Project

Long forgotten by all but the oldest of teachers was a wonderful experiment undertaken in the 1950s, in the far North, by a group of Maori schools directed by Art Advisers under the leadership of the then National Art Adviser Gordon Tovey.

It was as attempt to use the inspiration of the children immediate environment and inner thoughts to help the children create works of personal expression that would illustrate the power of student creativity.

Considering the traditional school environment of the era it was amazing experiment and whose effects spread, with time, through all primary classes in New Zealand. Today it would be equivalent to transforming a secondary school into a personalized learning environment ensuring all students were able to develop their creativity in a collaborative setting!

The project had five main aims in seeking ways through which creative activities, motivated through child imagination, could be used. The aims seem just as relevant today.

1. To foster personal and individual achievement, pride in, and confidence from tangible and rewarding accomplishment.

2. To learn to work with others so as to ensure satisfying collective statements.

3. To come to know and understand the environment, and through imaginative expression, become a responsive and organic part of it.

4. To come to understand the need to continually seek mastery over tools, techniques and grammatical devices, and to value these as a vital essential parts of expression.

5. Through the above to foster self reliance based on firmly based attitudes and abilities so as to enable the recurring challenges of change to be met as an inevitable and acceptable part of growth.

They seem just as worthy today.

Through such activity the students began to experience the unifying strength, purpose, and satisfaction of collective identity. While strongly individualistic, the teachers and students came to honour and meet the needs of communal efforts.

As a result behavior problems disappeared as energies were concentrated on worthwhile tasks and in helping others and as well every other aspect of schoolwork improved.

The idea of tapping into student’s strengths and talents, making use of the immediate environment, to help all student produce work of quality, and to ensure both students and schools worked together are as relevant today as ever.

The big challenge today would be to attempt such a creative approach at the secondary level as this is where behaviour and disengagement of learning is a real problem.


Anonymous said...

I wish we had advisers today working with teachers to help them develop their own creativity so they in turn could recognise the creativity of their students.

We need to return to such a creative approach - the current technocratic model is collapsing under it's own weight!

Anonymous said...

Your 'blog' is all about appreciating the power of student creativity. Today it is all about students achieving pre-planned objectives and little to do with creativity.

Education for creativity or consumerism? Some choice!

Back to the future I say!