The idea of creativity seems to have assumed a somewhat enchanted appeal in the contemporary educational climate. But many schools and institutions pay lip service to the importance of fostering creativity without action to support the implementation of these ideas. Here at Dover College, we are proud that this is not the case and we are proud to be non-conformist when it comes to a creative curriculum.
From Piaget’s constructivist learning theory of the mid-twentieth century onwards it has been documented time and time again that creativity is a more effective tool for promoting meaningful knowledge acquisition than more didactic styles of teaching.
Finding a universal definition of creativity may be like capturing a rainbow, but consensus tends towards creativity being achieved where the interactions and responses produced are evocative and unique. Encouraging the formation of original ideas not only has the power to enhance pupil engagement, but also increases children’s catalogue of responses, which is essential for learning and development. In our school, pupils’ ideas and responses are validated and scaffolded, leading to the development of transferrable and higher order thinking skills which they can apply to future learning opportunities.
“Encouraging the formation of original ideas has the power to enhance pupil engagement.”
We must strive to place knowledge and skills at the core of what we do whilst framing these within the context of creative control for our pupils. We are seeking balance between autonomy and structure in order to maximise pupil’s potential, both academic and otherwise.
It is also important to challenge the notion that creativity is simply playing, or the arts. Although each of these things can lead to creative learning, they are not the only conditions under which it can occur and this misconception of creativity is both insular and narrow.
Creativity can and should permeate all areas of learning at all ages and stages of development. Teaching staff do not baulk at the idea of a creative maths or science lesson, we embrace it. Those are the lessons that our pupils will remember; those where they were given the intellectual space to challenge their own ideas and that of others while extending their ability to develop personalised and transferrable learning strategies.
“Creativity can and should permeate all areas of learning at all ages and stages of development.”
Of course we cannot assume a “one-size fits all” approach to how children learn. Learning is an individualised process, and one which should allow children to form connections and notice patterns in their experiences while challenging concepts in the safety and security of the school environment. Such security is found when children’s own agendas and ideas are given value and when they are recognised as agents of change in their own development.
Creativity plays a fundamental role in children’s learning and overall well-being. Creativity stands out as the vessel for construction of transferable skills, meaningful knowledge and self-discovery, positively impacting upon children’s well-being both in the learning moment and beyond.