The Creative Process
Reflecting on my own practice has led me to consider what it is to be a creative practitioner, and the impact this might have on my learners. I’ve become PowerPoint adverse and in the last few years thought increasing about how and why the classroom activities I choose have had such a positive impact, not only only results, but on the aspirations and creativity of my learners. I believe strongly in modelling positive behaviours, which includes not only working hard and resilience, but also more abstract concepts such as creativity, and the importance of play to learning – not matter how old the learner.
Having undertaking some research I found a model by Pilskha, (2009) that was presented in a linear fashion, and I have reworked this to reproduce a model that I recognise in terms of trying to produce creative lessons that will foster positive learner characteristics as well as aid higher ordering skills for exams.
Obviously the most important stage is Immersion, as this is covers initial contact with information as well as skills such as analysis, ideate and experiment. All of which are crucial to engaging learners in new tasks as well as obtaining buy-in to a new idea or theory. For me, the most essential aspect is that of play – where in learners of all ages can take risks, make mistakes and know that no matter what the outcomes they are still learning. Even if what they are learning if they don’t have the right answer yet and they need to keep working. For me, play fosters resilience, which is crucial for creating learners who can think and work independently.
On the Pilskha model learners then Incubate ideas, before moving on to Illumination. This resonates with using SOLO taxonomy, where the innovation of ideas can be expressed after peer learning. Illumination implies a single right or correct idea, however this need not be the case, and can instead refer to the individual path of progression of each learner. Not so much a right answer – as how or what does each student think about the material they have been given and how will they utilise them.
The following stage is Implementation, when for my subject, Sociology, each learner would apply new knowledge to an exam style question. Following this is Evaluation which could be assessed via peer to peer learning or interaction. How successful the Implementation has been, could be quantified by peer feedback on the success of answering a question with FiSH (Friendly, Specific and Helpful) feedback. The creative process of learning, thus becomes a collaborative experience, where individual gain is second to whole class progress towards shared aims.
1- Encourage play as a meaningful way of learning
2- Create a culture where feedback is useful not only to the resilient, but also a learning tool to those giving the feedback
3- Expect learners to take risks, and for you to take risks with the type of activities that you use in lessons.
4-Encourage mistakes as a stepping stone to understanding – and if not to understanding, then as part of the learning process.
5- Enjoy what you are doing. If you enjoy the Challenge of creating learning connections, then so will your learners.
Without realising it, this is the teaching process that I have been utilising for years. It allows for differentiation and encourages challenge of both self and peer learning. It allows learners to develop independent study skills and creates a culture of learning that not only values the end exam result, but also the process of learning- I know which will serve them better in the long term.