NSW Schools: Imagination & Creativity
Essential Learning for Teachers
Most adults see children as creative yet don’t regard themselves as creative.
We want to encourage more creativity in schools and we want to grow the imaginative capacity of our kids, but how can we do that if our teachers don’t feel creative themselves?
Children not only learn from curricula, they learn by watching. Our teachers should be given opportunity to have their own imagination and creativity nurtured. When children see their teachers creatively solving problems they innately develop the same ability to do so.
How would we design a system in NSW that re-balanced the imaginative capacity of teachers as well as kids? We’d start by understanding The Neuroscience of Imagination then build upon that solid understanding to continue to grow our collective creative potential. It is lifelong learning, it’s fun and as soon as the foundations are built the journey is self-managed.
There are, however, two myths about creativity that need to be acknowledged before we work on imagination:
Myth 1. Only creative people are creative.
They can be creative, but so can anybody if the conditions are right and the process is understood. The challenge is to develop our imagination first, then understand the creative/ideation process. Science proves that we all have the same capacity for imagination. Many of us are not taught what imagination is or how to use it. If these are qualities we want our children to have, we have to give it to our teachers first.
Myth 2. Creativity only applies to special activities
We can associate creativity with the arts, or advertising, design or even music. All of these can be creative, but so can anything, including science, mathematics, teaching, medicine, and management. Finding better ways of solving problems is super creative.
Creativity is sometimes associated with being unmanageable, which may be why some feel the need to contain it. Certainly, creativity involves playing with new ideas and having fun, and that process is ideally enjoyable – but it’s also about working hard on ideas and utilising critical thinking to solve problems. In every discipline, creativity draws on skill, knowledge and control, not loss of control.
As Ken Robinson notes: Creativity is not only about letting go, it’s about holding on.