Manifesto for Creativity in Education

A - All Our Futures. This report states that all children and young people can benefit from creative approaches to learning and teaching across the curriculum - creativity does not just belong to the arts!

 

B - Be creative. Creativity is a choice. As Gregg Fraley suggests, wear your creativity jacket with pride (2009, TEDxNASA, www.TED.com).

 

C - Children are creative, it is up to us to ensure that this creativity is not educated out of them. This is not to say that teachers do not have the capacity for, or do not value, creativity, rather that schools are not necessarily set up as institutions that embrace creativity. How can we change this?

 

D - Do it! Create is a verb.

 

E - Everyday! Bird by Bird as Anne Lamott suggests (1994).

 

F - Future-proof children. We do not know what the future will bring but it is the next generation who will need creative problem-solving skills in order to sort out much of our mess. As Ken Robinson states, ‘It is education that is meant to take us into this future that we can’t grasp.’ (2009, www.TED.com) Equipping children with the ability to think creatively will enable them to approach this uncertainty as an opportunity for innovation rather than fear.

 

G - Genius the Elizabeth Gilbert way. Gilbert speaks of the Roman method of viewing genius as being something you can have but not something you can be. Genius is an invisible creative force that can thunder through your work and create a shimmering, beautiful, original moment. Yet this genius is not something you can own, it is an entity in its own right. Therefore, the pressure of responsibility for the outcome of your creative work is partly removed - after all, you have been working in collaboration with your genius, so the success or failure of your work is, in part, down to them. This makes creative risk-taking easier, because it weakens the link between artistry and agony that Gilbert suggests we should be uncomfortable in unquestioningly accepting (2009, www.TED.com). Encourage children to take risks with their learning.

 

H - Historical creativity (H-creativity) and Psychological creativity (P-creativity) are ways of categorising creativity according to Margaret Boden. ‘P-creativity involves coming up with a surprising, valuable idea that’s new to the person who comes up with it. It doesn’t matter how many people have had that idea before. But if a new idea is H-creative, that means that (so far as we know) no-one else has had it before: it has arisen for the first time in human history.’ (2004: 2 author’s emphasis).

 

I - Idea. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. 

‘Creativity is the process of having ideas that have value.’ (Robinson, 2009, www.Ted.com)

 

J - ‘Juliet is the sun.’ Metaphor is the process of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. However, the name that belongs to something else comes loaded with a whole host of associations. James Geary argues that this results in the creation of patterns, a conceptual synesthesia, which mixes and matches the metaphor source with its target. Through this process, metaphor creates new relationships between words and images, twisting their semiotic meaning. (2009, www.TED.com) What new relationships between words and images can be made in the classroom?

 

K - Knowledge. ‘Creativity and knowledge are not opposed to one another.’ (Boden, 2004) Neither should the classroom be.

 

L - Learning. How can we enable children to become ‘creators of learning’ rather than ‘passive receivers of knowledge’? (Creative Tallis, 2009)

 

M - Metacognition. Knowing about knowing aids children’s problem-solving skills. This can be promoted through questioning in the classroom (Davies and Howe, 2009: 174).

 

N - National Curriculum. Creative thinking is a named skill.

 

O - Originality. Every child will have original thoughts.

 

P - Play is essential, play is how we learn (Fraley, 2009, www.TED.com). We should not stop playing as we get older.

 

Q - Questioning. Encourage children to question their world.

 

R - Responsibility. It is our responsibility to ensure our pedagogy is stamped through with creativity like a stick of Brighton rock.

 

S - Skills. Add more skills to your creative arsenal and pass them on.

 

T - Thunk. Thunking is Ian Gilbert’s concept of children thinking for themselves. Ask children ‘tell me why you think this because there is a difference between thinking and knowing.

 

U - Universal. Creativity is a universal language and as such it can promote intercultural understanding. Share children’s creativity.

 

V - Visual. Our culture is increasingly visual and children need to become visually literate, that is to say, they need ‘the ability to ‘read’ colour and form, patterns and symbols.’ (Davies and Howe, 2009: 165) Introduce children to the visual realm.

 

W - We. Be inclusive. Everyone can be creative.

 

X - Xenia or hospitality. Treat creativity well, nurture it in yourself and others.

 

Y - Youth. Get children hooked on creativity when they are young. It is a viable lifestyle choice. ‘Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives […and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996)

 

Z - Zest. Have fun!