In the second part of his guest post for Books and Adventures, Steve Saville of Alfriston College in Auckland, New Zealand, discusses the lessons to be learned from his pioneering comics in the classroom workshops.
Most educators currently involved in secondary schools in New Zealand would agree that creativity is a good thing and that it needs to be encouraged; that we need to nurture and encourage the creative young people who will solve the problems posed by our ever changing world.
We can all look to our own school environments and proudly detail how creativity is nurtured, encouraged, and celebrated in our schools. We provide ample opportunities for writing, artistic expression, the creative use of digital technologies, dance, and drama. Our schools have bands, singers, sculptors. We offer classes in creative writing and philosophy. It can be argued that we have countless opportunities for young people to express and develop their creative skills.
We can also think of numerous teachers that we would classify as creative in their approaches, talented educators who find new and exciting ways to get their learners thinking. Teachers who challenge thinking by making learners ask questions and by asking learners to seek the relevance and authenticity of material studied.
All of this is totally correct – but is it enough?
It may be creative to enable a learner to write a story, to perform in a play or to design a web page but who chose the play and who decided the topic and who wrote the brief?
There is a difference between asking a learner to produce a creative response to something on a particular day, as part of a particular programme of work, and allowing an individual to be creative.
More profoundly, how can creativity flourish in schools, which are essentially non-creative environments?