Throughout the observation (see Task A, which gives a full outline of the observation task) it was the intention to observe forms of creativity and how it is successfully incorporated across the curriculum, in this case literacy. The teacher is an inspirational teacher who is very interested in developing thinking skills, creative teaching and promoting teaching through multiple intelligences. Currently she teaches numeracy and literacy with years five and six. Additionally one staff meeting each half term is devoted to discussing and training upon children’s learning styles.
The lesson observed supported the benefits of creativity in engaging children in their learning and stimulating ideas for creative teaching. Though creativity can be considered to be an unplanned and spontaneous piece of work, regrettably these ‘laissez faire types of lesson are often not conducive to learning’ (Beetlestone, F. 1998). Subsequently, children become disheartened when their hard work is not valued. Hence, in order for a lesson to be successful a teacher must be knowledgeable about the subject being taught and be committed to teaching it. Through the value of positive affirmation, children are likely to respond confidently.
Perhaps a more accurate description would be good quality teaching: Creativity can be seen as good practice … an interplay between teacher and child … pushing forward, seeking new boundaries, striving towards new territories, always looking to extend in the search for something new. Beetlestone, F. 1998 Creativity is at the forefront of education at the present time. In 2000 a re-evaluation of the national curriculum recognised creativity as an important aim. The Secretary of State for Education and Skills asked QCA to follow up this review by investigating how schools can promote pupils’ creativity through the national curriculum.
QCA However, whilst launching Excellence and Enjoyment: A Strategy for Primary Education, Charles Clarke, Secretary of State issued a statement in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) on May 23rd 2003, where, although he agreed excellence and enjoyment go hand in hand and also that he was ‘compassionately committed to creative teaching in schools’ He continued that still needed were ‘targets, testing and tables’. The importance of creative input is relevant more now than has ever been.
Creative thinking skills are embedded into the national curriculum and within the subject handbooks Creative thinking skills enable pupils to generate and extend ideas, to suggest hypotheses, to apply imagination, and to look for alternative innovative outcomes’ (National curriculum 2000) Being creative does not only involve the study of art, which is how it has been perceived through the years. Creativity is the use of the imagination to enable the user to explore ways of solving problems, enquiring and thinking about their work. As discussed in the session, we saw problems of ‘bolting on’ creative opportunity once the so-called ‘real work’ has been done.
Giving a variety of strategies, which can then develop and encourage creativity, can enhance children’s learning. Children may have preferred or natural learning styles, kinaesthetic, auditory or visual. Gardener (1993) firmly advocates the different intellectual strengths and weaknesses everyone has. The need to build in teaching and learning strategies that incorporate these differences are of paramount importance if we are to teach to individuals. Otherwise, the alternative is to teach the same to everybody and to assess everybody the same.
Gardener (1993) believes that the there are at least seven different human competencies. Recently, he has identified even more; each competency having its own distinctive way of thinking and approaching problems. Gardener (1993) believes it to be a vital part of cognitive development It can help explain and interpret abstract concepts by involving skills such as curiosity, inventiveness, exploration, wonder and enthusiasm.
In this method the teacher can use these intelligences to plan opportunities for creativity in the classrooms. Creativity must have purpose, be imaginative, have value and be original (PIVO) in order for it to be of significance to the progress of the child. National Advisory Council for Creative and Cultural Education 1999 (NACCCE) report expresses that ‘creativity is possible in all areas of human activity … all people have creative abilities … it can have an enormous impact on self-esteem and on overall achievement’ this in itself highlights the importance of creativity being emphasised in the curriculum.
Moreover it covers so many aspects ensuring the pupils of our schools become the citizens of our society providing a stable education in order that they may have a fuller understanding of their roles as adults. The NACCCE reports that creativity can be ‘taught’ however schools and educators need to ‘provide the particular conditions in which they can be realised’ Additionally teachers need to be ‘creative in their teaching’ in this way they are able to promote their pupils creativity. However, unfortunately some teachers find it a difficult task. Robert Fisher highlights this in an article in Junior Education (May 2003)
Creative children need creative teachers, but there are many blocks to creativity. One block may be defensive teaching. There is little chance for creativity where pupils work for long periods of time with low demand and little active input, or where outcomes are controlled and prescribed, or complex topics taught in superficial ways. Fisher,R. 2003 Cited in Junior Education May 2003 In order to dispel this idea the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) have provided schools with numerous publications, resources and schemes of work in order to assist with teaching.
Additionally, many websites give creative teaching ideas. In conclusion, the benefits of creativity are numerous. Raising children’s self esteem is a major part of teaching. When being creative children are neither right or wrong, many lessons have various outcomes depending on the culture and experiences of the children in the class. The lesson observed appeared successful in covering many aspects of the benefits associated with creativity. The teacher and children, all equally valued the experience and outcomes. All ideas were original and had a clear purpose, which was set out at the beginning of the lesson.