Creativity within boundaries

I spend a lot of time reading about creativity in our schools, and while it’s easy to find articles and reports that explain how and why our public schools aren’t encouraging creativity in teaching and learning, it’s harder to find concrete solutions that teachers can readily implement in their own classrooms right now, whatever the pedagogical flavor-of-the-year might be in their district.  Lately I’ve been exploring Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Summit website, and I came across an interview Sir Ken Robinson gave in July to WNET Thirteen’s MetroFocus reporter Laura van Straaten.  One question-and-answer in particular caught my attention:

Q: “What can teachers do — teachers who are just starting out or who have been at it a long time? Take someone who may be inspired by what you have to say but who still has to work within the system that hired them, with mandated curricula, with their own performance judged by standardized tests?”

A: “Teachers can do a lot. When the door closes on the classroom, they are in charge of the experience those kids are having. The primary role of the teacher is to engage them and gain their interest, to stimulate their imaginations. Teachers who get that have a better time themselves. Levels of enjoyment go up for both students and teachers.

As an example, there was a national literacy strategy in England. And part of it was that every elementary school, every teacher, had to do this thing called the literacy hour that was quite closely prescribed.

One day this friend of mine had this group of kids and the lesson plan was all about paragraphs, what they are, why we have them. So, you can imagine how exciting that sounds to a kid.

Without talking about paragraphs, what this teacher did was…”

Read the rest of the interview and find out the creative, simple, inspiring way this teacher taught his students about paragraphs! http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/news/2011/07/qa-sir-ken-robinsons-advice-for-dennis-walcott/

Note- there seems to be some technical difficulty with the hyperlink function I usually use; while I work that out you can access Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Summit here: http://lciweb.lincolncenter.org/imagination-summit

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