id157 Guide for Busy Academics Nurturing Creativity

Document Sample
id157 Guide for Busy Academics Nurturing Creativity Powered By Docstoc
					                                                  Guide for Busy Academics:
                                                     Nurturing Creativity
                                                           Norman Jackson

What is creativity?                                    down and think.. oh its Tuesday I’m
                                                       going to be creative today! Yet teaching
You will have your own ideas about what                is   an     inherently    creative    act.
it is but for me creativity involves first             Creativity in teaching is about using
imagining something (to cause to come                  your imagination and helping students to
into    existence)   and    then    doing              use their imaginations to work with
something     with    this    imagination              problems and challenging learning
(creating something that is new and                    situations. It is about fostering intrinsic
useful to you). It’s a very personal act               motivations for learning – something we
and it gives you a sense of satisfaction               seem to have forgotten in our over-
and achievement when you’ve done it.                   assessed world.

Creativity is difficult to define and it is            We live in an infinitely complex, dynamic
rarely articulated as an explicit learning             and unpredictable world. Although we
objective in the academic curriculum. In               rarely admit it, being able to work with
contrast, many top companies train their               it creatively is an essential capacity for
graduate employees in creative ways of                 success and for the sense of happiness
thinking in order to sustain innovation                that derives from being creative and
and remain competitive.                                successful.

Every HE teacher will interpret the idea               How do I develop my teaching
of creativity in his or her own way. HE                to nurture creativity?
teachers think it involves:
 newness - novelty or originality for                 Nurturing creativity in student learning
    an individual or group of individuals;             through    teaching     and    effective
 excitement – its stimulating because                 curriculum design is the central goal of
    it is different;                                   the imaginative curriculum project. We
 useful – it works, at least at                       are trying to create knowledge to help
    present;                                           teachers develop their understanding
 pleasurable      –gives a sense of                   and practice. This guide is no more than
    satisfaction;                                      a stimulator. If you would like to know
 moral – results are constructive;                    more about creativity please read the
 hard work –what you get out                          more detailed guide we have produced.
    reflects what you put in.
                                                       Academics feel that there are certain
‘Creativity is the ability to look at things in        conditions    that     stimulate   their
different ways, to find satisfaction in                creativity when they create a course:
making     or    creating     something    and
                                                        existing knowledge of the discipline;
persevering with it until the end product. It
                                                        enthusiasm for the discipline;
involves hard work...’
                                                        an interest in students and a
                                                           concern for their learning and
Teaching for creativity
                                                        a problem or issue.
                                                       They also think creativity is associated
Being creative is, for the most part, a
subconscious act. HE teachers do not sit

   the ability to make connections and           (focused, analytical, judgemental and
    linkages between the formerly                 detailed thinking) and divergent thinking
    unconnected and                               (diffuse, free flowing, associated,
   intuition - that little imaginative           perceptual and imaginative). It involves
    spark..                                       the extended abstract (EA) outcomes
                                                  of     learning    like    hypothesising,
There are strong similarities between             reflecting, generating ideas, applying
the perceptions of academics of their             the known to ‘far’ domains,’ working with
own creativity and what they perceive             problems that do not have unique
are the characteristics of creativity in          solutions
students’ learning.
                                                  Creative performance also requires
Creativity in students’ learning                  positive attitudes and high levels of
                                                  motivation (passion) evidenced by
                                                  persistence and willingness to work
While different disciplines recognise
                                                  hard. Such attitudes derive from
and value different forms of creativity,
                                                  personal beliefs that obstacles can be
research studies recognise a range of
                                                  overcome (self-efficacy). So learning
intellectual attributes, attitudes and
                                                  processes to foster creativity must
behaviours associated with creativity.
                                                  develop self-confidence and self-
DeWulf and Baillie (1999 p14-15)
                                                  esteem, encourage risk taking in safe
identify three characteristics.
                                                  environments and help students to work
                                                  with messy/complex and unpredictable
The ability to visualise ideas –
                                                  situations where there are no right and
holistically, spatially, metaphorically and
                                                  wrong answers. Working with complexity
to be able to transform ideas through
                                                  in a self-sustained and determined way
imaginative manipulation (complements
                                                  is a fact of life helping students to use
reasoning). Flexibility, fluency and
                                                  their intellectual abilities in complex
adaptability are important to the
                                                  open-ended learning situations is a
transformation of ideas.
                                                  worthwhile enterprise for          higher
The effective use of memory –          for
previously learnt knowledge and       the
                                                  Figure 1 attempts to show typical
ability to make connections           and
                                                  creative learning processes and the role
associations with and through         this
                                                  of the teacher and students in such
                                                  processes. If you would like to find out
                                                  more please read the extended version
Convergent and divergent thinking –
                                                  of this guide.
academic ways of thinking tend to value
convergent ways of thinking - logic,
                                                  Further reading
reasoning,       analysis,    objectivity,
                                                  Jackson N J (2002) Designing for creativity:
judgement. Divergent thinking brings in
                                                  a    curriculum    guide.
to play the right hand brain which is             genericcentre
associated with openness, subjectivity,           Dewulf S and Baillie C (1999) CASE
feeling, intuition, emotion, sensory and          Creativity in Art Science and Engineering.:
imaginative     processes.    Convergent          How to Foster Creativity. Department for
thinking focuses on one answer while              Education and Employment. (Republished in
divergent thinking produces alternative           2002 as part of the Imaginative Curriculum
possibilities and solutions. Creativity           Project).
involves both convergent thinking                                     Version 1 04/10/02

Figure 1 Aspects of the teaching system (what the teacher does) and the learning system (what
the student does) at each of the typical stages of a creative learning process. The image should
be used heuristically to give a sense of direction and vision rather than a checklist.

 What teachers do CREATIVE PROCESSES                             What students do

 Create the conditions                                      Gain knowledge of creative
 Introducing students to a                                  processes and understand
 way of learning and building                               why they are important to
 confidence to learn this way                               learning.
                                                            Develop skills and
 Create conditions of trust and                             behaviours that facilitate idea
 secure environments where                                  generation and manipulation,
 students feel they can take risks                          reflection,evaluation & planning
 without being penalised.

 Stimulate imaginations                    Generation       Engage in
 Imagery                                                    Convergent/divergent thinking
 Visual research                                            Knowledge building
 Brainstorming                                              Personal development
 New knowledge/research                                     Use creativity techniques
 New/innovative practice                Incubation          Work individually or in groups
 Environmental contexts
 Creative space
 Stimulating/inspirational                                  Use/develop frameworks
 teaching                                                   and tools for evaluating
                                        Evaluation          ideas.
 Help to motivate students
 and help students to                                       Develop and use plans
 understand their                                           and learn how to use
 motivations Recognising                                    them flexibly.
 that this way of learning is
 promoted by a range of                                     Learn how to review and
 intrinsic /extrinsic                Implementation         evaluate the worth and
 motivations.                                               impacts of their ideas.
                                                            Did it work as expected?
 Create the contexts                                        If not, what next?
 for creativity
 Solving problems without
 clear answers                        Evaluation           Types of impacts
 Designing something                                       Ideas
 Developing something                                      Personal knowledge and recognition
 Producing something                                        of own learning and creativity in a particular context
 Performing something                                      Products (written, graphical, audio, visual, auditory,
 Connecting things                                          designs) Knowledge of problem working
 Analysing / synthesising                                  Experience of performing
 Role play                                                 Relationships, networks – knowledge of how to
 Experiential learning                                       create a social learning system
 Research and enquiry                                      Knowledge of how to develop and use frameworks
 Networked and                                               and tools
 collaborative learning              New learning          Sense of achievement, personal satisfaction
                                     throughout              and self-belief
 New learning for teacher!
                                     the process


Shared By: