Creating: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

Friday evening saw the final Tweetchat for the BYOD course, and the most energetic and inspiring of them all – and of course great fun. Thanks, as ever, to Chrissi and Sue, the sparks behind the fire! As with all great learning experiences, it is often when you have chance to reflect, that the real learning takes place -and the question shower on Friday certainly ignited lots of ideas.
One of the themes started from the question- “can creativity be taught?” Whilst this question went in many directions, it prompted me to think about my own children’s activities, drawing writing, building and making. What happens to our creativity as we grow older? Is it lack of confidence? Is it the way we teach? Is it a desire to belong and conform that stops us trying to create something different?
Whilst I was on the BYOD course this week my youngest son was taking part in his own learning journey on a theatre summer camp led by the absolutely wonderful and inspirational Sunlight theatresq_beyondkansa3 company. The group leader, Stephen Ralph, gave the 40 or so, 6-10 year olds one idea- “Imagine what OZ be like after the wicked witch was dead?”, and in 4 days they created a fantastic show, describing Munchkinland. What was really transformational was that this approach gave each child the chance to bring something to the show. Of course there were some who could sing beautifully or dance or act, but they all had the opportunity to bring something to the final creation, whether it was an idea, or writing the scripts, or interpreting the ideas that they had thought were important.
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I am sure the Sunlight Theatre group could have brought a script along, and given each of the kids a role. The final performance would probably have been more polished. The four days would have been dedicated to learning and performing lines or dances. The facilitators would undoubtedly have had an easier ride! But through this creative route, everyone could bring their own, individual talents to the final show. The facilitators inspired, supported and encouraged the performers.
This of course prompts comparison with the role of teachers in HE; are we asking students to follow a script or directing them towards their own ‘yellow brick road’, to go on their own learning journey?
One of my questions during the ‘question shower’ was, “why do we value creativity?” I had this question answered the following night, during the performance of ’Beyond Kansas’. By allowing space for creativity, all the participants could make their own individual contribution. So can we teach creativity? Possibly not, but we can give children / learners the opportunity to identify their own strengths and the confidence to use them to express their ideas, to develop their own talents and to make something new.

One thought on “Creating: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

  1. One of Sir Ken Robinson’s RSA talks has a theme that the education system has stifled creativity, partly as a result of standardised testing.

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