Creativity, Education, professional learning

Are you a creative learner?

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As my research unfolds and I sift through all of my ideas, passions and digressions I return to  the notion of creativity and how this characterizes my own learning and that of my students. What does it mean to be creative and to allow that to guide our learning? Giving yourself permission to let the “What if?” questions lead your research and your exploration of ideas is powerful. But it also comes with some trepidation. Researching in a new space that has no boundaries, rules or processes can be dynamic but also challenging. Similarly, placing this idea in the classroom and giving young people permission to learn creatively unleashes unfounded possibilities and problems. Creativity can look messy. Creativity is powerful.

In a recent paper Dr Julie Robson and Teya Dusseldorp (2015) reflect on Creative Learning and how it has the capacity to bring about powerful change. They outline key behaviors that  Creative Learning seeks to encourage:

“asking questions, making connections, imagining what might be, exploring options and reflecting critically”. Seeding these habits grows more than just a love of (life long) learning. In stimulating imagination and curiosity other capacities are discovered and strengthened too, like the ability to tolerate ambiguity, to take risks, to think independently and emphatically, and to be resilient, collaborative and resourceful. Add in some top rate digital skills and, according to much of the research, you’ll have what it takes to navigate the complexities and uncertainty of the 21st century environment, a readiness for unpredictable futures.”

These ideas have been reinforced by the popular creativity expert, Ken Robinson from the UK,  who insists that teaching creativity has become as urgent a priority as teaching literacy. In this TED talk Robinson argues to transform our education system and allow creativity to be cultivated.
Robson and Dusseldorp (2015) state that “as hundreds of experts tell us, knowledge and creative capital drive and dictate economic growth, social prosperity and environmental security.” Creativity is non-negotiable. It is an integral part of who we are and how we were made. Acknowledging our creative drive has amazing potential to transform our learning, engagement and attainment.
How does this apply to me as a post graduate student? How might it impact my research? Deciding to take an Arts Based approach to educational research has brought unfounded joy back to my project. As an academic doing research it has given me permission to ‘play’ and see the world a little differently. But it has been the importance of connection that has been a powerful influence on my work. Connecting ideas and practices happens when I connect with colleagues face to face. Learning happens when I can  ‘join the dots’ so to speak from one twitter chat to another. Creativity occurs when my reading, blogging, writing, conversations, online discussions all align and force me to ask again, “What if…?”
So to answer my question. Yes, I am a creative learner, an active learner, an independent learner, a life long learner. Are you?
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