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Creating space, time and freedom to make connections Creativity requires space, time and a degree of freedom. Deep immersion in an area or activity allows options to remain open, and persistence and follow-through to develop. Conceptual space allows children to converse, challenge and negotiate meanings and possibilities together.
Teaching Geography Creatively (Learning to Teach in the Primary School Series)
Employing multimodal intuitive teaching approaches A variety of multimodal teaching approaches and frequent switching between modes in a play-like and spontaneous manner appear to support creative learning Cremin et al. The diversity of pattern, rhythm and pace used by creative teachers is particularly marked Woods, as is their use of informed intuition Claxton and Lucas, As you teach, opportunities will arise for you to use your intuition and move from the security of the known.
In geography for example, you might nurture creative play through opportunities for transforming and adapting places, making dens, yurts, shelters or tree houses perhaps? Prompting full engagement, ownership and on-going reflection In studying an area in depth, children should experience both explicit instruction and space for exploration and discovery.
Try to provide opportunities for choice and be prepared to spend time developing their self-management skills so that they are able to operate independently. Their engagement can be prompted through appealing to theirinterests and passions, by involving them in imaginative experiences and by connecting learning to their lives Cremin et al. The ability to give and receive criticism is also an essential part of creativity and you will need to encourage evaluation through supportive and honest feedback Jeffrey, For example using drama to teach mathematical concepts prompts engagement and deep learning See Pound and Lee, Risk taking is an integral element of creativity, and one that you will want to model and foster.
The children too will need to feel supported as they take risks in safe non-judgemental contexts.
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To be a creative practitioner you will need more than a working knowledge of creativity and the prescribed curriculum. You will need a clear idea of your values, a secure pedagogical understanding and a secure knowledge base, supported by a passionate belief in the potential of creative teaching to engage, inspire and educate.
The creative teacher, it is proposed, is one who is aware of, and values, the human attribute of creativity in themselves and actively seeks to promote this in others. Such schools have a distinctive character that impacts upon behaviour, relationships, the physical and ethical environment and the curriculum.
An ethos that values creativity will, according to most definitions, promote originality and the use of the imagination, as well as encourage an adventurous attitude to life and learning. In such environments of possibility, packed with ideas and experiences, resources and choices, as well as time for relaxation and rumination, physical, conceptual and emotional space is offered.
The social and emotional environment Taking creative risks and moving forward in learning is heavily dependent upon an atmosphere of acceptance and security. However, creative schools may display apparently contradictory characteristics. Since Plato, many have argued that there are links between involvement in creative acts and a general sense of well-being.
More recent research in cognitive neuroscience Damasio, and positive psychology Seligman, ; Huppert et al. The physical environment The physical environment in a school that promotes creativity is likely to celebrate achievement and individuality and can be a valuable teaching resource. Projects have shown how creative thinking in the context of focused work on improving the school building, grounds or local areas can achieve major citizenship objectives and high-level arts and literacy targets in an atmosphere of genuine support and community concern Barnes, , Active modes of learning and problem-solving approaches that include independent investigation require accessible resources of various kinds, so the richer and more multifaceted a range you can offer the better.
Creativity can be developed when you are confident and secure in both your subject knowledge and your knowledge of creative pedagogical practice; then you will seek to model the features of creativity and develop a culture of creative opportunities in school. In planning such creative units of work, you will want to build on insights from research.
A whole school community from Tower Hamlets made a winter visit to Canary Wharf, less than metres from the school gates. Many pupils had never been there. The event was grasped as an opportunity to collect as much information as possible. Every moment, morning or afternoon, was fully used in information gathering. Children and adult supporters collected digital, drawn, listed, tallied, acted and heard data from a variety of contrasting sites around the Wharf.
The library of collected and remembered objects, images and sensations were brought back to school and formed the basis of the curriculum for the next few weeks. Creating responses from these disparate sources involved very different paths in each class from nursery to Year 6. Separate teams then mapped their journeys using techniques learned in the previous term and the resultant maps were used as graphic musical scores.
A mixed group created large and imaginative abstract constructions from bamboo, tissue and applied decoration from rubbings and drawings, expressing their experience of the towering buildings at the wharf. Children, along with their co-learning teachers, presented their compositions, artworks, mathematical investigations, stories and dramas to the rest of the school in a series of assemblies. These were especially appreciated across the school because everyone had shared in the same initial experience. The whole project was evaluated through a continuous blog kept by children, teachers, artists and teaching assistants.
Their challenge, like yours, is to take account of individual differences in learning, help each child become a self-regulated learner, and ensure appropriate coverage of the areas of learning and their attendant knowledge bases. In another context, a class from a rural school decided through discussion to concentrate on the value of community in a two-day project for the website Engaging Places www.
They divided into teams of five and went on walks up and down the street in which the school stood. After this first decision the children used the walk as a data-gathering opportunity. The description group used cameras and viewfinders to record the different ages and materials of houses in the street, but also used sound recorders to collect the vastly different sounds at either end of the street.
In class on their return, they combined the sound-based and visually based impressions on a street map, which they constructed with great enthusiasm. Bursts of creativity occurred as pairs decided how to represent the street, and the sounds and images they had collected. Eventually, the group decided on a 3D street map with press-button recordings of different sounds in four different parts of the street.
The litter group arrived at a double focus. They decided to design and make attractive dustbins and an anti-littering video. This involved storyboarding, rehearsals, acting, filming and editing.
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The wild and whacky litter bins were planned in detail and made in model form for a presentation in the school and at a national launch of Engaging Places. Evaluation was crucial at every stage of these activities. Careful planning for such creative learning experiences is important and perhaps best done in collaboration with others. Some will last a term, others just a few days, but all will seek to involve the children in real, purposeful and imaginatively engaging experiences.
Creative learning involves asking questions, exploring options and generating and appraising ideas as the learner take risks and imaginatively thinks their way forwards, making new or innovative connections in the process. New thinking happens at the meeting places of different ideas and approaches and it also takes place when new links occur between people. Many of the examples in this unit show both adults and children involved in thinking and learning together, which can be a key generator of creativity. We hope you will choose to teach creatively and promote creativity through your planning and will build in choice and autonomy, relevance and purpose in engaging environments of possibility — environments both inside and outside the classroom.
For more ideas on teaching creatively across the curriculum, see the series which accompanies this handbook. This is an informative and engaging read that raises more questions than answers as Craft explores principles and practice, policy and research and identifies an agenda for development, both at the level of the classroom and on a wider scale. Jeffrey, B.
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This book explores features of creative teaching and learning in the context of contemporary policy reforms in England. It is accessibly written and well informed, highlighting the inventiveness of teachers and the role of pupils as a powerful resource for creative learning. Sawyer, R. Structure and Improvisation in Creative Teaching. New York: Cambridge. This edited collection from the US provides practical advice for teachers wishing to become more creative professionals.
It highlights the need for teachers to respond artfully to curricula and the unexpected demands of classroom interactions.
M Level further reading Craft, A. Education, , This paper examines empirical evidence about Possibility Thinking with year olds. McWilliam, E. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45 3 , — London: Open University Press. Barnes, J. London: Sage. Evans and C. London: Routledge. Craft, T. Cremin and P. London: Trentham, pp.
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Bearne, E. Beetlestone, F. Burnard, P and Murphy, R. Bronowski, J. Bruner, J. Burke, C. Burnard, P. Chappell, K.
Craft, A. Claxton, G. London: Fourth Estate. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Cooper, H. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Craft, B. Jeffrey and M. Liebling eds Creativity in Education, London: Continuum. Oxford: RoutledgeFalmer. London: Trentham. Cremin, T. London: Routledge Cremin, T. Wilson ed. Margate: Future Creative. Csikszentmihalyi, M. London: Rider. Damasio, A. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. London: DfE.
Dismore, H. London: Creative Partnerships London North. Eames, A. Slough: NFER. Fryer, M. London: Paul Chapman. Gardner, H. London: Fontana Press.