Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oh! The Joy of a Good Read

I’m currently reading “Creativity in Schools” by Anna Craft (Routledge, 2005). Creative Learning = “Possibility Thinking” has been the big take-away for me thus far, as also the fine but pertinent differences between ‘teaching creatively’, ‘teaching for creativity’, and ‘creative learning’. While the role of technology in creative teaching and learning has been touched upon only cursorily, it is what I am constantly trying to make links with, as I go through this topical discourse on creativity in schools.

While I reserve further comment on the book until I have gone through it in its entirety, I will say this – I found the foreword by Tim Smit (of the Eden Project in the UK) to be such a beautifully crafted piece of writing. His delectably cynical and unabashedly candid take on creativity in general (and not specifically in the context of education) was an unmitigated pleasure to read. Here’s a sampling…

“Creativity is a word that comes with baggage. In some circles it hints at genius, in others to dodgy accounting practices. Being creative is either praise or an inference of a character flaw. However it is used, the implication is that some kind of cleverness is involved…Most of us are suspicious of it being the Devil’s work unless it is done in the name of a greater good, in which case divine intervention bestows cod sanctity to the practitioner. Latterly, as it has become part of the educator’s armoury, it has taken on a new meaning. It is something we all have, if only we could draw it out of ourselves. … We’re all creative now, and this robs it of its exclusive sting.”

“My youngest son once said in jest that he wished I’d been an abusive father so that he could be a credibly creative musician. All of us know that, by and large, this is a stereotype that doesn’t bear very close inspection, but that there is a grain of truth in it. This is evidenced in part in our culture by awarding artists more latitude in behaviour than we would allow others. There is a wonderful irony that we will celebrate artists to whom we wouldn’t give houseroom on a personal level.”

2 comments:

a.v.koshy said...

that's a good quote - being very much one who wants to be and to some extent is "creative" i can say - i hope - with some measure of certainty that all artists are not jerks with whom you wouldn't share your house - but then maybe those aren't the greats? regarding linking tech with edu - it seems more and more a practical kind of thingand less and less a creative endeavour..

Shuchi Grover said...

I guess the point being made was what we call "creative licence" in ordinary parlance...

Re. tech & creativity - the practical aspects of use of technology are but one aspect - where we think of its affordances for improving productivity, communication, presentations, multimedia capabilities etc.

But I think integrating tech into the curriculum in a way that it will truly enrich the learning process, leveraging in a meaningful way the inherent engagement and affinity that kids show with all things tech, is indeed a creative endeavor for a teacher.