Monday, 9 April 2018

Identify your purpose - Find your motivation (part 3)

For me the biggest push to modify my teaching practise in Visual Art was my learning about 21C skills.

Partnership for 21C learning really got me to examine  the potential added value of my role in the school and helped me to realise the importance of what I could be doing, beyond teaching art.

For content knowledge and themes, P21 lists Art as the 3rd most important subject - after language arts and world languages, only then is it followed by Maths and the other conventional subjects.

Mmm! The gravity (and responsibility) of this did not escape me.
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To prepare students for an increasingly complex life, 21C learning needs to focus on creativity and critical thinking as a priority, combined with communication and collaboration - the 4Cs.

What are the 4Cs?

On their website, P21 also have downloadable PDFs of ways to assess these 4Cs. Here are the link to the Creativity one:

To be effective 21st century citizens and workers, we must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media, and technology.

P21 identified the following essential Life and Career Skills:
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility
This sure has left me with a lot to think about, and what Cindy Foley spoke about in her TED talk video was gaining more substance for me. (See previous post

I started reading this White Paper on Creativity from P21 and here is my summery of the Forward and Introduction:

Lai, E. R., Yarbro, J., DiCerbo, K., & de Geest, E. (2018). Skills for Today: What We Know about Teaching and Assessing Creativity. London: Pearson.

Creativity - ideas that not only are original and make a unique contribution to the field but also serve some purpose or fulfil some need.
Nearly every profession can benefit from the infusion of fresh and relevant ideas.
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Creativity is a continuum and can be improved by:
  • teaching approaches that focus on cognitive strategies for problem-solving and divergent thinking, 
  • cooperative or collaborative learning,
  • observational learning, improvisation, role-playing games,
  • some types of diversity training that focus on breaking down stereotypes and challenging assumptions.
Factors that can contribute to a person’s creative potential include:
  • intrinsic motivation to engage in creative tasks, 
  • domain knowledge and experience, 
  • a facility for unconventional thinking,
  • a particular set of personality characteristics (like openness to taking intellectual risks), 
  • a supportive social environment, whether at home, at school, or on the job.
Creativity may not always be rewarded in the classroom, because the personality attributes most associated with creativity - independent thinking, nonconformity, and openness to risks - are not necessarily valued by teachers (Westby & Dawson, 1995).
Likewise, Beghetto (2007) found that prospective teachers tended to prefer student responses that were relevant rather than unique.
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Assessing the positive benefits of 'teaching for Creativity' on other areas of learning is challenging because gains are not linear, nor parallel. And benefits may only come into fruition later on.

Several recent surveys and interviews of executives and human-resources professionals in companies within many sectors and in multiple countries indicate that creativity skills are among the most important skills for employees,
63 percent of managers and executives agreed or strongly agreed that creativity and innovation would be priorities for employee development, talent management, and succession planning during the next one to three years (American Management Association [AMA], 2012).
72 percent of global senior executives responded in a survey that innovation was a top priority for their company, (an increase from 64 percent only one year earlier) (Andrew, Manget, Michael, Taylor, & Zablit, 2010).

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Work teams that engage in more creative practices have higher performance than teams that engage in more standardized practices (Gilson, Mathieu, Shalley, & Ruddy, 2005).

IBM Institute for Business Value (2016) funded a study involving interviews with over 5,000 CEOs from nineteen different industries worldwide, finding that the most financially successful firms in their sample had CEOs who established a culture of innovation that encouraged employee creativity.

Individual creativity “is the production of a novel and appropriate response, product, or solution to an open-ended task.”

While innovation requires implementing a creative idea and bringing it to fruition, despite organizational constraints and challenges. Thus, innovation occurs within an organizational environment and requires a host of other skills in order to materialize - such as perseverance, a willingness to take risks, social skills, and good communication (Amabile, 1988). These elements are now informing my assessment practises.

Factors that help create a classroom environment supportive of creativity include - autonomy, low stakes for making mistakes, and opportunities for collaboration and playfulness.

Ken Robinson - What is creativity ? (2017)

In this video, Sir Ken makes the point that as teachers, we need to go beyond teaching for creativity and teach with creativity.

He quotes this poem by writer Anais Nin which also sums up my current position:


And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

I guess the time has come to blossom!

Thank you for visiting,
With Love


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