Friday, November 24, 2006

Future shapers!

During a recent interview with Paul Torrance (2000) ,one of the pioneers in creative research, he talked about his 30 year study of what he referred to as 'beyonders' - 'those individuals whose creative achievement was remarkable in a particular domain'.

The characteristics of these individuals he shared were:

A delight in deep thinking, a tolerance for mistakes,a passion for their work, a clear sense of purpose and mission, an acceptance of being different, a level of comfort in being a minority of one and a tendency to ignore admonition
about being 'well rounded'.

Based on his research, Torrance advised, children to pursue their interests, work to their strengths, learn to self evaluate, seek out mentors and teachers, and learn to be independent.

Such advice is suggestive of the type of changes that need to be made in schools and programmes to make them places in which creative thought can grow.

An environment of creativity would go against the grain of prevailing ideas about schooling.

It is a challenge to educators to look beyond what is customary or conventional if the potential for creativity within every child is to be realized.

These are not questions of curriculum but about new purpose and vision for a school system set in a new age of creativity. Industrial aged models will no longer do, based as they are on different assumptions about schooling, more suitable for an age which has long been swept away.

Creative societies need creative people.

We need a more enlightened view of education based on imagination, creative thought and an enhanced opportunities for creative expression.


Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed your last three blogs on creativity - makes sense to me.

Bruce Hammonds said...

I have got to admit - little of it is original but I thought it worth sharing. The country that develops the most diverse range of talents will lead the world in what some are calling an 'Age Of Talent'. And this must include ALL students!

Anonymous said...

I bet very few 'beyonders' work in the Ministry!

Be like living in group 'think tank' - all frightened to swim against the current.

Anonymous said...

So here we are talking about gifted education with a few more synonyms.
I arrive at this discussion with baggage and frustration and a little bit of weariness. I have advocated for gifted children since 1981 - low key at first and working my way up to a state wide government (Queensland, Aust) funded project in 1997-9. Ten years later we see the discontinuance of funding for the 8 or so Focus Schools that were set up (the 1st four by my guidance and training).
In that time SOME pedagogical changes were made by individual teachers with a measure of success.
However, even within Focus Schools - the hubs of enlightenment - I saw both resistance to change towards good practice and lip service paid towards REALLY empathising with the needs of these gifted children.
Why are so many teachers soooo unwillingly to be self critical (as in critiquing) and be open to self improvement? The main feature of my teaching style and practice is constant improvement in response to the learning needs of my students. I have, in my career gained so much satisfaction from doing this - the rewards are the relationships I have had with my students that demonstrate
*connection with the material AND the learner-facilitator dynamic
*fun and laughter
*shared problem solving
*personal growth towards more rounded, compassionate people who act with purpose (starting with me!)
*and others which, if you have embarked on this journey you will know.
Now semi-retired and under-utilised I sit working with Intellectually Disabled students and ponder the commonalities of their learning needs with those of the gifted.
...Wondering how many underserved gifted students are pushing through inappropriate learning experiences in our Qld schools.
...Wondering how many will decide it's all too hard and drop out of society like my second son, an unemployed Honours Degree Archeologist who is now wandering around the rural parts of Aust, picking fruit, talking to scientists and ecologists about the state of our physical world and what's to be done.
...Wondering what a waste we have created - not only of the Planet, but our best conscious minds.
I look forward to a response that can provide a ray of hope.