Wednesday 25 January 2017

Creativity – what is it?

When the National Curriculum was first introduced I was a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages.  A strand about creativity and doing things “creatively” was included.  However, nobody could define what that meant so it was taken out again.
I have since developed a sense of what creative language learning and creative writing in other languages are but that is all for another day and possibly for another blog; I intend to write about it soon on my Writing Teacher blog.


I’m a creative practitioner so it must be my business to be creative

Yes and no. I write for four hours a day and I’m spending some of today’s four hours writing this blog. Yet I don’t think I’m at my most creative at this time. As well as a few inspired ideas- and yes, arguably I’m creating something and when my work is eventually read I’ll be creating something in the reader – I’m using a lot of craft, knowledge, experience and art. 
I often perceive myself to be more creative when:
·         I plan events.
·         I plan lessons / lectures/ seminars.
·         I make a meal on Boxing Day from Christmas Day leftovers.
·         I look in the fridge / around the market and create a decent supper (very Nigel Slater).


Creative energy

I think we only have a certain amount of that. I’m most creative first thing so I do most of my writing and other creating in the morning. Admin and marketing are more passive so I do those later.
I tell my students that though teaching is a good option given their qualifications – they are ideally suited to teach children to both read and write - they should not expect to do much of their own writing in the first few years except perhaps in the summer holidays. All of their creative energy will be taken up with lesson preparation and problem-solving. Much of their passive energy will be taken up with marking and assessment. These can nevertheless be very rewarding.

Some possible definitions 

Solving a problem. (Nylon replacing scarce silk in parachutes)
Achieving something though circumstances are limiting. (Writing for children? My son making up more games with a limited set of toys whilst on holiday rather than playing the same game with loads of toys whilst at home)
Finding a new way of doing something (Tea and eyeliner instead of seamed stockings)
Making something happen. (Building a wall or pulling down a wall)
Turning something intangible into something tangible (Ideas in head into book in someone else’s hand)
Creating empathy in someone else

Some necessary ingredients

A need or problem
A willingness to address this
Attempts and failures
Small successes
A eureka moment
Thus writing a short email inviting colleagues to a meeting can be just as creative as producing a masterpiece for a top gallery.
I had a eureka moment recently on some workshops I’m producing for schools based on my Schellberg project. It all suddenly fell into place. I now have something that is exciting, professionally produced and raring to make changes. It was like putting in the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.    


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