Sal McKeown welcomes a booklet on creativity from Future Creative
Creative Teaching for Tomorrow: Fostering a Creative State of Mind is a very attractive booklet which gives a good overview of the current thinking and research.
The overall findings in this research, conducted for Creative Partnerships Kent by Future Creative in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, are that there are three key elements which define the creative teacher. The individual teacher’s personal qualities are crucial. They need to possess curiosity and a desire to learn, a sense of humour and enthusiasm. They should have a "secure knowledge base" and understand children’s needs and interests.
The second element is the pedagogy and teaching approaches. A creative teacher is likely to adopt a “questioning stance and will link ideas together, finding different ways of drawing pupils into the subject. This seems to be a two-way process as pupils are encouraged to be active participants, asking questions and stretching the teacher too.
The final factor is the school’s ethos. Creativity is only possible if risk taking is allowed and even encouraged. The best outcomes were seen when schools had opened their doors to outside influences such as Creative Partnerships and the wider community.
The booklet is particularly strong on research but it has its weaknesses. First of all, it is small scale, just focusing on 20 schools in Kent which had been closely involved with Creative Partnerships. Sometimes the research seems to be rather skewed. One of the questions children were asked was: "We have been told your teacher is very creative. Tell your neighbour in what way you agree." What about the children who found the teacher as dull as ditchwater?
More significantly, the publication seems to have a limited knowledge of ICT as a creative force, “In one school the teachers made inventive use SMART boards. Pupils were asked to arrange a list of features under a number of pre-selected headings. Using their fingers they moved the words round "magically" to an appropriate new position. As SMART boards become more common, it is likely that their interactive qualities will be exploited by creative teachers in a wide range of ways.” Where have they been? Drag and drop is probably one of the least creative uses of an interactive whiteboard!
Nevertheless, despite these limitations, this is a beautifully produced booklet which will be useful both to practitioners and to those engaged in research.
Creative Teaching for Tomorrow: Fostering a Creative State of Mind
Booklet published by Future Creative with Canterbury Christ Church University, £15, ISBN 978-1-907-135-002
Sally McKeown is a freelance writer and is an expert in special needs and inclusion. She is currently working with Accessible Futures Ltd and Northgate, supporting a group of special schools in Kent through BSF wave 4.
Her website is at www.sallymckeown.co.uk