In order to further engage students in the classroom, educators need to accept creativity has a place within the schools four walls.
At the Wolf Creek Public Schools 21st Century Learning Symposium, Sept. 26 and 27 at the Terrace Ridge School in Lacombe, teachers learned how they could re-introduce creativity as something acceptable in schools through debate and creative activities that brought joy back into learning.
You Are Creative presenter Dean Shareski feels the concept of creativity has been given a stigma when it comes to academics. “When people say that, they feel it’s for special people or certain times of the day.”
In schools, creative time is often reserved for when there’s spare time, or used as a treat on Friday afternoons when the excitement of the impending weekend makes students too excited to focus in the traditional sit-in-a-desk-and-learn manner.
“I hope we don’t have to convince people creativity is important,” Shareski added.
Shareski grew up never believing himself to be a creative person until technology allowed him to redefine what the word meant to him. He feels word now needs a facelift in the academic environment.
“I think creativity is like a muscle. It’s something you have to exercise, it has to be a habit,” said Shareski.
“I also think we as teachers need to do a much better job of modeling if we indeed believe in something called life-long learning,” he added.
Shareski feels there are two major barriers when it comes to creativity being accepted as an important part of the learning process. “We’re still pretty grounded in the idea that schools are about knowing stuff. And knowing stuff doesn’t always lend itself to creativity.”
What creativity means and looks like is a personal vision and therefore can’t be measured, making it hard to grade using conventional school rubrics.
The second barrier is technology can be daunting and time consuming, especially when glitches amp frustrations.
However, with companies taking those reactions into account programs are being created to be user-friendly to encourage quick creativity that fits well with the time constraints of the school atmosphere.
While some of the teachers were hesitant on the idea of introducing some of the creative technology programs into their classrooms for fear of inappropriate images coming through the computer, most embraced the new experiences the programs could bring.