By Peter Ford
If we were asked to list our creative heroes, it is probable that we would include many outstanding individuals whose creative endeavours have positively impacted our lives in some way. These exceptional individuals have operated with originality, adding value to society with their works and ideas.
My list would include people such as Christian Barnard, a heart transplant surgeon (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/christian barnard.htm); Michael Morpurgo, an author (http://www.michaelmorpurgo.com/); Taylor Mali, a poet (http://www.taylormali.com/); Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist (http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4); Sarah Jane Szikora, an artist (http://www.sarah-jane-szikora.com/); and more controversially, Wayne Rooney, a footballer (http://www.manutd.com/bio/bio.sps?iBiographyID=6977).
The creativity that we reserve for such exceptional people has been described as ‘Big C’ creativity. As teachers, however, we are in the business of developing the day-to-day creative potential of all our individual students. The promotion of ‘little c’ creativity in our schools may not win international acclaim and recognition but it will ensure that our students are able to adopt a creative approach to 21st century life and adapt effectively to the striking changes taking place across the economic, political, social and technological landscapes of society.
Much helpful advice continues to be written about creativity and our students. The emphasis in some of the literature is on the pedagogy of ‘drawing out’ the creativity of students across the curriculum, while other works highlight the need to ‘tap into’ the creativity that students are already producing outside the school environment, particularly in their embrace of new technologies. These approaches to creativity are of course not mutually exclusive and both have, in my view, the same crucial common denominator for success – the creative and innovative teacher.
Teachers who wish to promote creativity in the lives of their pupils need to be able to model and share the range of creative experiences from their own lives – as individuals working in communities which are shaped by engagement in, and resistance to, the wider social, economic, cultural and political arenas in which education takes place11.
As teachers, we have a duty to be creative and innovative in the classroom. Of course every lesson is not characterised by invention. We are busy people,