Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creativity... It's in the Design

Why is Creative Confidence Important?
By Trina Penner
Photo credit
I teach grade 9-12 in the Fine Arts (Drama, Technical Theatre, Dance). I’ve always felt comfortable within this world professionally and personally. I need you to know that this is both a comfort and a stress. When folks know that I am an “artsy”, they automatically assume that I am able to create on the spot. This is not how creativity works. In fact, creativity takes preparation. It takes energy, thought, stimulus (ideas), inspiration, trials (prototypes), and time. Sometimes this is a cycle that repeats itself over and over until it feels just right to share. When I work with my students, this is something that I am sensitive to based on my own creative experiences.

When I am creative and I share it, it is because I have percolated on the subject for quite some time. I have invested of myself into the creation. It is not some willy-nilly thought bubble that just pops out for the world to see. Creativity requires courage sometimes. It is best shared amongst those that you can trust. When you are supported and share your creation in a community of trust, with people that allow you to fail and feel alright about it, then that is the ultimate freedom for a creative person. I have to wonder how many students feel this support in their classes?

What I want educators to know is that when you design learning for students that requires creativity, you need to be mindful. Creative learning tasks are best designed with the accompaniment of a trustful and supportive creativity lab (classroom). It takes time to establish a sense of this community in a classroom but it is worth it. If you can do this, students will feel creatively confident no matter what outcomes happen during the learning task. The affective domain of the individual student is nurtured and cultivated in this type of setting. A deep sense of belonging and ownership become intrinsic to the learning.

Because of what I teach, I am able to teach creativity daily. It requires my students to be thinkers, innovators, experimenters, collaborators, and problem solvers.  Most of all, it is hard work but the learning that happens when they are in this type of creative flow is exceptional. They build skills that will assist them for a lifetime. They make me proud to be present during their creative discoveries. How will you make this happen for your students?

Need ideas on how to build community in your classroom? Please contact Trina Penner for some stimulus.  trinapenner@gmail.com
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