Thursday, 26 September 2013

Tussling with ideas in front of students

Recently I came across Erin Quinn's blog post about the Creativity Assessment Wheel, and it lead to a really interesting discussions between several members of our arts faculty about whether creativity can be taught or not. The crux of the issue came down to whether analysis of art works is a skills that can be developed by providing/co-constructing with students clear criteria about what is a "successful" image/musical work/performance etc., of if this is an inherent ability that some people have and others lack. We tossed this idea backwards and forwards, primarily based on a Lorde's track Royals (it's not strictly conventional so if you were teaching a student what made a 'good' track you might recommend that it didn't meet the 'standard' criteria for composition, but clearly it's worked anyway!), and a Visual Art folio example.

The more significant outcome of this discussion though, was a conversation I had with students afterwards. While we were talking about the Creativity Assessment Wheel four students were in the classroom working away on their folios for external assessment. When the other two staff members left, one of the students said to me "That was pretty intense! Is that the kind of discussion you and Mr often have?" (I'd mentioned to them previously that I really enjoyed the discussions about approaches to learning that Jesse Te Weehi and I have from time to time), and we got to talking about what the students thought about the Wheel.

This all got me wondering about how often as teachers do we model for our students the process of intellectual engagement with an idea. I think our current school structure doesn't provide a lot of room for this, and it's pretty easy for us to come across as if we have firmly established ideas about how to 'deliver' education. That probably doesn't help so much if we're trying to develop our students as lifelong learners, and people who tussle with ideas.

What do you think?