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Creativity is the Key to
Teaching and Learning

Creativity is the key to breaking student’s feeling of monotony! Creative teaching is not just about art or the arts teachers, anybody can do it, in any classroom, for any subject. At its core is the creative re-rethinking of the curriculum and how to meet the students’ needs, trying to make the activities as varied as possible in location, and resource-rich to gain 100% student involvement. Creativity, is not just art or music or drama or some arty ‘creative’ thing. Sir Ken Robinson, the great advocate for creativity and creative teaching states that “Creativity draws from many powers that we all have by virtue of being human. Creativity is possible in all areas of life . . . And like many human capacities, our creative powers can be cultivated and refined” Robinson, 2015, in  ‘Creative Schools’.

Is it true, that only special people are creative? Well, I’m not very special, and yet I’m very creative, so folk say. I believe creativity is the key to student learning, and all teachers can teach creatively if we want to. It doesn’t matter what subject you teach, it’s really more the way you do it. Also, there’s no, ‘one’ special or ‘right’ way, and it can be different for different kinds of teachers – it can work for your style as well as mine. Another core thing is to be real, to be authentic. Students know when you are real; they know without thinking when you’re genuinely making teaching and learning into a fun experience.

Be creative don't think just art!

The System

Education is based on conformity. The system was set up in an industrial society in a different century, a different world. Industrial factories run on mechanised systems with precision. This was adopted into the school system, with timetables, schedules, and policies. Now we have forty minute blocks of time, but why?.  Classroom spaces were labeled with age levels with desks and chairs in rows and woe betide anyone who tried to change it. – I do! Creative thinking cannot be chained to time blocks so we teachers have to creatively rethink how we can enable students to think outside the box, especially in high school set periods of time. In primary its easy, just integrate your subjects.

Creativity is the key to broadening a students horizons. Our students are not machines that get turned on and off at certain times. What if you were told at work that you had to move desks or offices every 40 mins because it was good for you? There would be a walkout but teachers and students must conform to this. Humans do not like conformity we are all uniquely different. There is not one of us the same unless we have an identical twin.

our students are not machines

Why do students not want to go to school?

The common reasons students don’t want to go to school were reported by Business Insider Australia from a recent report from America’s Promise Alliance.

The highest 20-30% reasons were: failing too many classes, boredom, becoming a caregiver, the school wasn’t relevant to my life, no one cared if I attended, and I was held back. Jane Caro writes “A quarter of Australia’s young people are not finishing school. This is the appalling legacy of our wilful neglect of our most disadvantaged kids, (‘School Funding: Stop subsidizing the haves and start investing in the have-nots’ from The Drum, Oct 2015). 

We certainly can’t change the system. But, in our classrooms, each one of us can make a difference if we want to. There are alternative schools who are making a difference and the one point of difference is tailoring learning to each student. Creativity is the key to captivating a student and I don’t mean art lessons. Yes, we are directed by the Australian Curriculum to differentiate and I believe this is pointing us in the right direction but with the mountain of standardised testing to be done, this limits the time to differentiate. Testing is important but it should not dominate our teaching

Don't let boredom rule

Creativity is Key

According to a major IBM 2010 survey from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, chief executives believe that creativity is the most crucial factor for future success. They said we need people who think differently but kids come out of school who cannot think for themselves. There are hardly any standardised testing in Finland and no drop out rates of high school students. They individualise teaching and learning and engage the student’s creativity. Finland also has a high respect for teachers and make sure they have lots of support and good professional development.

Creativity is the key and the ability to step outside the box. Take a risk and put your imagination to work – this is creativity. Think how you might do things differently to get the results you desire. Problem based learning is one effective way to allow students to think outside the box. If you are not willing to make any mistakes you will kill creativity. I love to teach, it is a passion with me so it never feels like work. It makes me explore what is best for each student in my class. I just can’t help it. I’m not against learning skills. Students have got to learn the three Rs but we all learn best when we’re excited about something, don’t you think?

Sir Ken Robinson (2010) in his TED Talk video below, states “My contention is that creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status”. Take a listen . . . .

Teaching requires creativity not just knowledge of your subject/s. Students need to want to learn, so I spark my students’ imagination and once its ignited I let them loose. That is I let them explore in whatever way they like. If it means they need to curl up on a bean bag to think – so be it. If they need to sit on a high stool at the high cafe table I encourage it. Whatever it takes.

Creativity is the key to making learning a joyous activity. Creativity can make a big difference. It may be only one classroom at a time but as Mother Teresa said, ‘The entire ocean is made up of drops. We need to be sure we look after our own drop’. 

Spread the word . . .  .

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2 thoughts on “Creativity is the Key to Teaching and Learning

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@peepso_user_11175(Bob Richards)
The school system is so messed up. Children should want and desire to go to school and learn new things. Curiosity is the best driver for learning. But with all of our standardized tests, we are killing that curiosity and creativity and making students try to fit into this unaccomplishable box.
23 April 2019 5:09 pm 23 April 2019 5:09 pm
sylvias - avatar
About the author: 5000 Credits 10000 Credits 15000 Credits PRO Badge sylvias Visit My Stall
I am a K-12 Australian Teacher, with 25+ years of teaching experience. My Honours research investigated how teachers succeed in teaching English in a TEFL context. Originally from the UK, I lived and worked for 15 years in the Pacific Islands. During that time I was Principal of a school for 5 years, training teachers, teaching a class, and building a school from the ground up. I'm now back in Australia teaching and having fun!