‘It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge’.
In January, I had the privilege of attending the BETT show in London with all of our partner Bellevue schools. Whilst this was a focus on technology, one of the main themes amongst the entire Excel Centre was the importance of creativity in education. This struck a chord with me because, as adults, we can easily become very fixated on academic performance. However, one fundamental point I noted was that there is a huge need to develop student’s creativity in order to help them acquire the skills to succeed in the future workplace.
I believe that this is something that we can apply across the whole curriculum - in Maths, English, Science, Computing, History and so on! I believe that embedding creativity across all aspects of the curriculum and incorporating innovative approaches to fostering and assessing creative skills has its place within schools. But how can we do this?
An important person to call upon here is the great work of Pie Corbett who I was delighted to listen to one of his inspirational talks on the day of the BETT conference. He expresses that writing according to a checklist of ‘effective writing’ can be counter-productive in developing motivated, thoughtful and creative young writers. Instead, we need to teach children to think like a writer, manipulating ideas to create different effects. With this in mind, we have to consider that great outcomes start with one good idea which is then explored and developed through the creative mind. Whilst Pie focuses mainly on creative writing, his thoughts and ideas are poignant to all areas of creativity within the curriculum. Perhaps we, as teachers, should provide the basic tools necessary for children to access their own creative journey.
I know that, at Brabyns, this is an area that we are working extremely hard to maintain and enhance. Currently, we have a whole school focus on the ownership of learning. This has been evident from Nursery, who lead their own learning based on their individual and unique interests, to Year 6, who have been ‘growing-a-fiver’ in their own entrepreneurial ways. This ties in many real life experiences that are challenged thoroughly and appropriately.
As we look ahead during this uncertain time of teaching from our homes, we have to think of how far our society has progressed already as a result of amazingly creative and intelligent people. Who would have thought that we can successfully teach children (as we have this week) through the use of technology and internet devices? With our current children at Brabyns, we then have to consider what our future generation can bring. If we nurture their creativity now, who knows what inventions could they bring to the forefront of our society?