Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Creativity is a Habit-Forming Autonomous Verb

I think that the mind in its purest functioning pursuit is creative. This is something we all possess and have free access to, but is not always encouraged and held up to the light.  Hard to believe, but true.

This slide created by Bill Ferriter gets to the very heart of it:

Why is it, do you think, that creativity is related to as a bad habit?  Is it due to not providing enough time to allow it to breathe and find its rhythm?  Is it the by-the-book curriculum? Is it the structure of a school day? Is it the people within the school?  Justin Tarte tweeted, We want students to be autonomous learners who are taking control of their learning. To me, this is most apt to happen when students have ample opportunity for exploration and ownership of creating.  This takes a substantial amount of time and time seems to be a commodity that is being whittled away. Still, in some places there are educators who are devoted to making it come to life and I'd like to hear from them.  Please share with all of us your role in how it is being cultivated.

Krissy Venosdale wrote this about how, at times, our good intentions are less then mindful in the way we relate to students:
You need to read this. I said to. Do this first. Follow this pattern. This is the way to do it. Here is the right way. Sit still. Complete the front side. Number your paper. Do as I say. Raise your hand before speaking. Put your name at the top. I give this a 95%. Follow the classroom rules. Be engaged. Keep your eyes on your page. Choose A, B, or C. I talk, you learn. You’re following my lesson plan. My classroom.
Little words. Tiny phrases. Together? They create fences that keep our kids in one safe spot where learning and exploring become all about what we say to do. Fences that keep kids from learning. (Here is her entire post, Learning Because The Gates Are Wide Open).
Krissy puts forth a timely example of how we can be a wet blanket to creativity and autonomous learning. What are your daily practices that do not fence in students?  Let us call it Free Range Learning. Again, I'd be grateful to hear from you.

Milton Glaser says this about his creative philosophy:

There's no such thing as a creative type.  As if creative people can just show up and make stuff.  As if it were just that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time consuming verb. It's about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that's going to be a long and difficult process. If you're doing it right, it's going to feel like work.
Consider a time when you had a moment from which sprang a perfect idea-- an a-ha moment. It came seemingly and suddenly out of nowhere. An epiphany. Chances are, you were probably taking a nap, driving your car, waiting at the airport, or in the shower. Some place like that. Milton Glaser had one such moment in a taxi and this is what he sketched on an envelope. That sketch led to this iconic design. Those magical moments of insight only take place after lots of tireless effort and concerted thought.  It just does not happen in a single moment.  Persistence and perseverance always precede it. 

To me, his philosophy speaks to the path along which
one journeys and not the end product itself.  In school, how can we set the stage for students so these bursts of insight can happen organically? How can we shift the perception so that creativity is viewed as an admirable, expected habit?  Please comment.  I'd like to hear from you.