The word either makes you excited or sends you running for the hills.
But is it really THAT hard to create or to be “creative”?
I have to admit that I’ve been sitting here for last 10 minutes staring at my screen trying to figure out how I can be “creative” in how I approach this post. So far, I’ve got nothing.
But that’s the thing – you can’t force creativity. You can’t just whip it up like it’s a recipe or something.
Go back to that creativity cycle and see steps #1 and #2: Inspire and explore. Only then can you be “creative”.
Yet, in our classrooms, how many times do we dictate exactly what to do and what results we are looking for? In essence, we are not asking our students to share their creativity, but rather the exact opposite. We want them all to produce the same thing. To be standardized.
On the same turn, it has been stated time and again that the future of our students, the nation, and the world depends on creativity and innovation. So it looks like we are at an impasse. Either we teach our students how to work so that they find and produce the “right” answer every time, or we teach them ways to explore what excites them and to create something new within that exploration.
When you think about it, creating isn’t really that hard. Nope. It’s the starting that is the hard part. Like the difference between thinking about and actually pursuing that masters in education online that you have been considering. Or like when we wake up in the morning and you have to make a choice to actually move yourself out of bed or roll back over. The hardest part is always sitting up and opening our eyes. After that, the rest of the process isn’t that hard. The same holds true with creating. You have to take the fear of being wrong out of the equation.
For both your students and for you.
Instead, you have to accept that creating in and of itself is an art. You can critique the art for its technique and its process. But the art itself cannot be judged. It is something that world has never seen before. So it is with creating. You can evaluate the steps within the creating process. But neither you, nor your students are ever wrong within the creating.
We have this mentality of right or wrong that permeates throughout our schools and our society. In creating, there is no right or wrong. There is simply the art that is created. The sooner we accept that in education, the sooner we will rise to the top and the “race” will no longer matter.
So my challenge to you is to create SOMETHING every day. It could be creating a new recipe that you’ve never tried before. Or maybe it’s creating a new lesson plan. It can even be creating a new look within your wardrobe. Just do SOMETHING every day that is different. The more you explore your own creativity, the less you will care about the outcome and the more you will hold dear the process.
And that is a lesson we could all stand to learn.
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.