Last week, we started to look at the Creativity Cycle, as provided by the Crayola Creativity Project. The first part of this cycle begins with Inspiration. In order for anyone to be creative, there must be inspiration for that work. Think of any great artist and you can research a point in their creative life where they were at a loss for inspiration, and therefore doubted their abilities as an artist. This has strong implications for our students as we want them to explore the possibilities within a problem, rather than just the problem itself.
Think about that for a second:
The possibilities within a problem.
So often, we follow a different cycle in education: identify the problem, brainstorm some solutions, try one of the solutions, evaluate.
The creativity cycle takes a different approach:
Identify the possibilities within a problem, explore the most exciting possibility, create your solution, evaluate.
Doesn’t the second cycle choice just inspire you more?
Suddenly, we aren’t bogged down IN the problem; rather, we are excited BY the problem because we can create our way out of it.
This can apply to every classroom, in every school. It’s not just limited to the arts classes.
You can encourage your students to be inspired more simply by the way you encourage them to look at problem-solving. As their teacher, you have the ability to open their eyes to possibilities through inspiration. YOU can participate in the process of educating our future innovators, simply by the cycle that you choose to use above.
On our quest to become better teachers, I think it’s important that we ourselves are inspired.
This takes effort, but as with anything, the more you put in, the more you get out. The more active you are in your search for inspiration, the more creative and passionate you will be in (and out) of your classroom. Here are some places that I get my inspiration:
TED Talks – An amazing array of deep, meaningful talks in 15-20 minute segments. Perfect for over lunch or after a rough day.
Positive Education Blogs – Some of my favorites: The Art of Education, The Inspired Classroom, Angela Maiers, Artful Minds, and the Principal’s Page. These are all different in terms of size, following, subject matter, and perspective. Still, each brings me joy and excitement to read because they are continually looking for ways to improve. Be careful out there…there are so many education blogs that exist simply to provide an avenue for jaded and cutting individuals looking for a way to spread their overrated opinions out into the world. While these might attract a large following, it is only for entertainment or to “fluff their own feathers”. I choose, instead, to be inspired by positive thinkers who are looking for creative solutions.
Nature – Get outside! So often, we dedicate our lives to four square walls rather than the world that surrounds us. Take 15-20 minutes out of each day to explore the nature that surrounds you. The smells, the sounds and the sights. Take it all in and let your mind wander. It’s incredible how inspired you can be simply by opening your eyes.
So…how do YOU get inspired? Let’s share our ideas so that we can all begin to tap into the power of creativity!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.