Friday, January 21, 2011

Creativity in the Classroom Begins with Leadership

This post is my submission as part of the Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson Blogathon via @joebower

There have been many definitions used to describe the term creativity. Sir Ken Robinson uses one that I really like. The definition is short but it has two critical parts. 

“Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”

Sir Ken Robinson

The first part of the creativity definition "original ideas" is the piece that we tend to think of.  The important part of the definition is that the ideas have or add "value".

What does creativity look like in the classroom?  Our district is undergoing a major curriculum revision to make sure that critical skills like creativity are embedded in what we do.  Here is a sampling of some of the initial work.  In creative schools all stakeholders (administrators, teachers, parents, students, etc.) are able to:

  • Analyze and evaluate information, ideas, or objects to develop a point of view, make predictions, or draw inferences
  • Identify and define a problem-situation and work through a procedure to determine viable and appropriate solutions and next steps and carry out as applicable 
  • Generate and develop ideas, solutions and connections to create something original / novel that is meaningful or useful
  • Use an inquiry process to locate, evaluate and use sources based on accuracy, authority, and point of view to explore a question/topic and synthesize and share findings and give appropriate credit/ citation
  • Select and use appropriate format to effectively engage the target audience in a topic, point of view, argument and/or creative work
  • Contribute to the improvement of the local, national, or global community by making decisions / taking actions to  enhance the welfare of society in an ethical manner
  • Work with others by sharing responsibility and critically examining knowledge and ideas to build consensus in order to achieve an objective 
  • Independently select area of focus, develop achievable goals, organize and carry out plan, and seek feedback to achieve goals within designated timelines 

This type of learning will only occur with a change in the way schools are led and the way teachers teach. The larger question for me as a leader is "How Can I Foster Creativity In the Schools I Lead?"

The short answer is to model what you expect teachers to do with every opportunity you get.  This includes rethinking the way you.... 

  • lead faculty meetings
  • offer professional development
  • conduct interviews
  • participate in walkthroughs/learning walks
  • facilitate instructional conversations
  • develop improvement plans
  • analyze and utilize data for improvement initiatives
  • introduce new initiatives

Sir Ken Robinson also argues that creativity will be as critical as literacy in the workplace.  We all know that schools need to change dramatically to meet the needs of society.  Change always begins with you..... 

What creative ideas do you have for leaders?  

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