Friday, December 17, 2010

The future lies with creative teachers!

The above photos were sent to me by a very creative teacher and are the result of on tern work with a year 3/4 class.

I am more convinced than ever that real educational progress depends almost entirely on tapping the originality and innovative thinking of such teachers.

Not curriculums developed by distant experts - they need to be kept as simple frameworks for teachers to work within.

Not principals - their job is to create the conditions to encourage 'their' teachers to take learning risks and try things out within agreed frameworks . Not all this ridiculous testing and accounting for 'achievement' - measuring never made the pig fatter . And not phonics.

Not college of education advisers - they are simply educational mercenaries passing on contracted 'best practices' they never used themselves.

Certainly not Ministry technocrats - who dance to the tune of whoever pays the piper and certainly not Education Review Office bureaucrats - whose careers have been one of toeing the line and saying yes to those in power. Not the Minister - who can only sing ( badly) one limited song.The Ministries role is to create the conditions to realise the energy of principals and teacher leaders and, in turn, the gifts and talents of all students

But finally only creative teachers make real changes! And there are so few. Thanks Deborah - rooms like yours cheer me up no end and give me a glimmer of hope.


Alison said...

Of course you are right in everything you say. So who is going to tell Anne Tolley?
Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Time to have a word with Tolley, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Merry Christmas!

Bruce Hammonds said...

I know - it is not much fun being a creative teacher .If only creative principals ( so few in number) saw their role as supporting creative teachers as their number one priority. We just have to keep trying? Teachers, at the very least, have to hunt out fellow creative teachers and create their own networks. Be great if the NZEI made this one of their tasks?

Merry Christmas Alison - enjoy the break and enjoy some personal creativity.

Bruce Hammonds said...

I think I got carried away with the power of creative teachers to link up with each other - success depends equally on innovative principals valuing them and creating the networks. In earlier days (before 'Tomorrows Schools') teachers could do it by themselves, the time was right, and there were not so many barriers in the way as today. A change of Government would help.

Eileen Hurley said...

This worries me a little, since I do not consider myself very creative. I have been thinking lately that I need to move out of the way for student creativity instead. They have much more interesting and better ideas than I do. Any thoughts on this perspective?

Bruce Hammonds said...

Greetings Eileen

I was making the point that leadership - the development of new idea needs creative people but not that all teachers need to be creative.

The teacher I was writing about is a very creative individual but anyone could pick up a couple of idea from such a person to have a go at. Seeing is believing.

For all that one of the most creative teachers I ever knew wasn't creative at all. He, as you wrote, 'made way for student creativity' and made full use of their 'interesting and better ideas'. Once he began to appreciate creativity he encouraged them but couldn't interfere with their creativity as he wasn't creative - but he could see it ( and value it) when it appeared! Too many teachers today do not do this. He made a point of learning off others to expand his insight.

So keep on going.Take your own advice and search out those teachers in your school next year that seem to do different things. Swipe and adapt their ideas - they are only too ready to share.

We need to recognize the teacher leaders who work along side us.Those who walk to the beat of a different drum ( not the Ministries).

Bruce Hammonds said...

Hi again Eileen.

I see you are teaching in China. I thought the little photo was very creative? The boy with the snorkel in the car!

The secret is to spend more time listening to the kids and valuing their questions, ideas, and drawings etc.

Eileen Hurley said...

Thanks, Bruce. I understand your point better, and now I don't feel so worried about my lack of creativity! Teacher-Librarians are excellent sharers, so I often use other people's ideas. I am really interested in increasing inquiry at my school, and opening up space for student creativity seems to be one of the things we need to work on.

I'm so pleased to have found your blog and will be a regular reader. As far as the picture goes, that's my youngest daughter on a boat in Thailand (not so creative after all!)

Merry Christmas,

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