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Engaging a school in creativity teaching

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Chris Bateman

on 3 May 2015

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Transcript of Engaging a school in creativity teaching

How can an independent secondary school engage in teaching creativity across the curriculum?
The Literature
A pedagogical change that may result in happier, better-prepared students should be considered.

I propose that SMUS proceed with an action plan to implement the teaching of creativity across the senior school curriculum.
Proceed slowly and collaboratively in a way that ensures students, staff, and parents are included in the change process.
The School
St. Michaels University School Senior Campus (SMUS);
Independent school;
Grades 9-12;
50% international boarders;
50% local day students;
High academic reputation; and
High numbers of AP students.
Engaging a school in creativity teaching
Sir Ken Robinson is...
Within the pedagogical field, it would be useful to compile the various papers and systems that address the teaching of creativity within academic courses and schools. A hand-book on teaching creativity would be a worthwhile research project.

Every year at SMUS, the DOL forms a new, year-long voluntary professional learning team of teachers, called The Learning Institute (LI).

After an initial information session on teaching creativity, the DOL would call for volunteers to form the LI.

This team would move forward with action research.
The ability to think creatively will...
be an important cognitive ability for all students graduating into the 21st century economy;
afford them an edge over other students when applying for jobs;
bestow them with the ability to adapt and evolve with a shifting labour market; and
prepare them better for foreseeing societal challenges and inventing solutions.
How to teach creativity depends on the specific subject being taught.

Curricular and school-wide approaches have been extensively documented and can be used in implementation.

Teaching students at SMUS how to think creatively...
connects to the school’s priorities of preparing students for higher learning and life;
fosters a more engaged learning environment;
provides potential parents and students with another reason to choose our school.
The STakeholders
As the apparent primary beneficiaries of teaching creativity, it will be important to consult the students on their needs, perceptions, and experience throughout the change process.
The involvement of parents in a school is important to student achievement. Throughout the change process it will be important to communicate with parents about the initiative to teach creative thinking and offer both groups opportunity to participate in the process (Marzano, 2003).
The participation of the school's wider community is also very important to its success.

The school maintains a healthy connection to its alumni, which form the majority of its community.
SMUS has a large number of administrators. Each will be involved in the change process.

The Director of Learning (DOL) is responsible for ensuring that the school is following best pedagogical practices.

The DOL would be designated to champion the
idea and oversee the change process.

Teachers can have a significant impact on student achievement, primarily through their “instructional strategies, classroom management, and classroom curricular design” (Marzano, 2003).

For this reason, the faculty at SMUS will be key experts to involve in the change process. Also, teachers will be impacted greatly by this initiative since curriculum design would be directly affected.
“Every person must be given every chance to be heard and engaged.”
(Senge et al., 2012)
(and beyond)
Over the next few years...
SMUS would hopefully see a gradual uptake of the teaching of creativity by teachers;
practitioners and instructional leaders would utilize reflection as a way to judge professional progress;
longitudinal student achievement data could be analyzed by the DOL to look at long-term gains in both student achievement, student motivation, and creativity.

Sustainable change
“starts small and grows organically”
(Senge et al., 2012).
The evidence
The Learning Institute would...
discuss and learn about the teaching of creativity and confirm it as their year’s focus;
act as a pilot group;
set personal goals in trying and testing the teaching of creativity in their context;
meet monthly to support each other and reflect, as their practice develops; and
be the “incubators for change” (Senge et al., 2012).
If student achievement and creativity do not improve there would need to be a re-evaluation of the entire program or implementation methods.

Assuming that the data pointed in a positive trend, the LI would present the faculty with a rationale for broader implementation of teaching creativity at the school over the next year.

Are the students becoming more creative?

Does increased creativity improve student achievement and engagement?
Any analysis must be thoughtful, systematic, and justifiable (Watling & James, 2007).

The LI would be responsible for choosing the best methods for the qualitative and quantitative data.
Over the course of the first year...
achievement data would be collected;
use of the Torrance Test would assess whether student creativity was actually increasing;
students would self-report on their own creativity and engagement; and
teachers would report on their understanding of the overall level of creativity in their classrooms.
The LI present their findings and recommendation to continue with the project to the faculty.

Faculty are invited to join the second year of implementation.
SMUS already use Professional Learning Partnerships (PLP) for yearly professional development on the individual level.

This system will be co-opted by new faculty who wish to implement teaching creativity.
The DOL already hosts a parent night roughly once a month.

These sessions could be an excellent venue for engaging parent dialogue as more teachers begin implementing the change, in addition to electronic communication.

There will be an “implementation dip” when teachers are faced with triggers to their “fear of change” or challenges to their skill sets (Fullan, 2014) .

These can be mitigated through...
strong relationships within a healthy mix of leadership styles;
involving teachers in the process; and
coaching and professional development.
the internationally-renowned expert in the field of creativity and innovation in education (CNN);

a popular TED speaker on Creativity in Education;

Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE); and

author of Creative Schools (2015)
There is a great deal of information about the subtle differences in the following terms:
Creative Thinking;
Creative Learning;
Teaching Creatively.
Creative students learned better when they were taught and assessed in a way that matched their abilities (Sternberg, 2006).
Creative individuals...
will be better suited to any unforeseen changes in the global workforce and economy; and

will be well suited to identifying and solving tomorrow's global issues. (Hargreaves, 2003; NACCCE, 1999)

World economies have shifted with fewer manual labor jobs and a growing number of intellectual property jobs in STEM and creative industries, which require innovative thought (NACCCE, 1999).

Creativity a “key employability skill” (Howard-Jones, 2008) and now economic capital (McWilliams and Dawson, 2008).

SMUS' own guiding documents and community members will be important sources of information during implementation.
There are many educational systems already doing good work in this area; it will be important to survey the field of schools successfully teaching for creativity (College Board, 2015; Edwards & Springate, 1995; IBO, 2008; Mei-ju, 2014; Ogletree, 1991).
With a broad application across the secondary school curriculum, it will be important to offer specific examples of how creativity can be taught in various subjects (Aizikovitsh & Amit, 2009; Baer, 2010; Hathaway & Jaquith, 2008; Koutsoupidou & Hargreaves, 2009; Sak & Oz, 2010; Waters, 2006).
Implementation will require baseline data, so referencing techniques for testing creative capacity will also be important (Glanz, 2005; Kim, 2006; Webster, 1990).
The type of implementation is important to decide on and it is important to see the whole school as a system (Fullan, 2014; Glanz, 2005; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005; Senge et al., 2012)
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