Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Creativity and Teaching

David Warlick, in Curriculum as Mashup commenting on Putting Creativity Back in Education said,

Today, information is the raw material that people work with. The creative class (Richard Florida) are artisans. They're information artisans, people who craft information into something that is unique and valuable to us.

Most students have a knack for learning to use technology. However, learning to work the information does not come so naturally. They must be taught how to do this -- and why.

David told an interesting story about a teacher in Hong Kong turning the classroom into a pinhole camera:

They had covered up the windows of the room, except for a single hole, attached unexposed film on the opposite wall, and then opened the hole for a predetermined amount of time, allowing the light from outside the room to hit the film. When they closed the hole back up again, they took the exposed film down, developed it, and then combined the prints into a wall-sized collage of the image outside their room.

This is CREATIVITY, meshing math, science and social science into a vivid, lively and unforgetable experience for the learners. I can imagine that these lucky learners will never in their life forget about this wonderful teacher and the feat they have achieved.

An ordinary teacher, doing her job day in day out with the same set of "proven" approaches and methodologies will NOT be able to inspire! The same pin hole photograph in the same school next year will NOT produce the same thrills and excitement. It is novelty and the sense of accomplishment by the learners that will give them the inspiration for the rest of their life.

Evan McIntosh in Don't worry, be crappy took inspiration from Guy Kawaski. The two points highlighted are:

Don't worry, be crappy. An innovator doesn't worry about shipping an innovative product with elements of crappiness if it's truly innovative. The first permutation of a innovation is seldom perfect


Don't be afraid to polarize people. Most companies want to create the holy grail of products that appeals to every demographic, social-economic background, and geographic location. To attempt to do so guarantees mediocrity. Instead, create great DICEE products that make segments of people very happy. And fear not if these products make other segments unhappy. The worst case is to incite no passionate reactions at all, and that happens when companies try to make everyone happy.

This points to another aspect of creativity and innovation. If teachers are constantly required to produce "evidence" of improvement for any creative changes, no creativity or innovation will ever happen. We have to trust the "good well" or the "good intention" of passionate teachers, afterall teaching is NOT a well paid job, most teachers still teach because they are passionate about our next generation!

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