Unzipping Creativity To Reveal Novel ideas and solutions

It is quite likely that you have already watched this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, and if not, have likely heard of it. In listening to his message, what do your reflect upon when considering opportunities at school? Let's start by considering what we know works well already.

When I consider this, what comes to mind are; science fairs, citizen scienceTEDx Youth, enviro-school projects and technology challenges. What else would you add to this list?

When searching up 'creativity', you will often come across various sources referring to 'little c' and 'big c'. Kersting explains that "Little-c creativity, which is often used as an indicator of mental health, includes everyday problem-solving and the ability to adapt to change. Big-C creativity, on the other hand, is far more rare. It occurs when a person solves a problem or creates an object that has a major impact on how other people think, feel and live their lives".

Within formal schooling environments within New Zealand, we tend to do lots of basic level art activities which we tend to refer to as creativity. We craft, we draw, we paint, stick and perhaps even stitch, mould or dance. What we often miss however, is the raft of opportunity these activities present for learners when we open them up to be open-ended and child centred (as opposed to being directed on how to 'create' or what it should look like, with minimal choices involved to allow unique experimentation and expression).

The beauty of truely creative activities is that not only, can many skills be taught explicty and implictly through the creative process, students are encouraged to think, feel, explore, connect, interact, reflect and to freely express their understanding and beliefs in relation to the world around them though a variety of medium.

But I question, if we are to empower our students to live independently in the world, should we not also be building their capacity to respond to bigger issues that they are and will be confronted with throughout their life-time? If you believe this to be a 'yes', then we should also be looking at what is necessary to enable our caring, confident, connected young people to 'be the change' in the world that they want to see.

What is the role of creativity in readying and empowering our young people to contribute positively to the world?

Our young people are the next generation to face the big issues such as water and food quality and access, war and peace, climate change, health...and the list goes on. Given the technologically connected world we live in, Big C, may not be something achieved in an obvious way, or by any singular person. Collaboratively, across the globe, from all walks of life, with a range of ages, beliefs, experiences and resources, it would seem that Big C creative outputs can only increase in frequency.

So, that begs the question; in what ways are we supporting the young people we know, to identify and explore real issues in the world around them? How are we equipping them to be able to respond to these creatively, and in a way in which they can see they are truly able to make a real difference? How are we encouraging curiosity and wonderings, encouraging risk taking, and sharing some of the many great ways people are making a difference already; big and small.

As Sir Ted Robinson shared in this concluding remarks on his TEDTalk, we need to be

seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are and seeing our children for the hope that they are. And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future.

How will we achieve this? How will you?

Credits:

Created with images by anacik - "cool google" • FromSandToGlass - "Creating" • EvelynGiggles - "create" • val_girl - "Dance" • limaoscarjuliet - "music trio" • kaghatim - "A Stroll" • puresolitude - "splatter it" • Mooganic - "Creating" • List_84 - "Solve" • AdamSelwood - "Liffey Falls - Tasmania" • marinephotobank - "Oiled Bird - Black Sea Oil Spill 11/12/07" • sergio4cruz - "Grafit 209" • Kieran Lynam - "Famine" • indi.ca - "Pollution On The Pier" • jdegheest - "laundry slum india" • ninocare - "light bulbs light lit"

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