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Creative Leadership in Learning

An innovative Sydney Opera House program that embeds creativity into schools 

Creative Leadership in Learning brings the artistic resources and creative processes of the Sydney Opera House into school eco-systems by increasing creativity, communication, collaboration and curiosity in teaching and learning. 

This flexible three-year program has two main streams of activity; 

Immersive professional learning for school principals and teachers, and

Collaborative art projects between students and Sydney Opera House Artists that are developed in the classroom or online, with the opportunity to stage these projects at the Opera House.

The program

The Creative Leadership in Learning program takes schools on a three year journey of discovery, growth and learning. Each school participating in the program is paired with Artists from the Sydney Opera House who lead the program and work with the school community to develop their individual focus question that drives artistic projects. All of the Artists are practicing creatives, theatre makers and artistic directors with backgrounds in education and creative learning.

After three years schools will:

  • Have up to 20+ teachers participate in immersive training programs exploring creative learning practices
  • Be experienced at integrating Sydney Opera House programs into their creative learning practices
  • Perform in Amplified Festival at the Sydney Opera House – the annual showcase of work from participating schools

“Creative Leadership in Learning has revolutionised teaching and learning at Casula High School...the potential benefits to the teachers and students are limitless.​”

Andrew Walsh, Casula High School

 

Amplified 2019

Amplified: A Festival of Creative Learning is the inagrual two-day festival when schools present their major projects from the Creative Leadership in Learning Program. Watch and celebrate how teaching creativity turns up the volume on learning, amplifying the connection between education and art. 

The Creativity Framework

The Sydney Opera House Creativity Framework sits at the core of the Creative Leadership in Learning program. The Creativity Framework is a description of the creative process for learning environments. The Creativity Framework drives the professional learning sessions, exploring creativity as a method of teaching and learning any subject. 

The Sydney Opera House Creativity Framework is not a system that is followed, but a way of seeing, thinking, interpreting, reflecting and doing. Art will often be an outcome, but not the intended sole purpose of this program. The broader aim is to explore the inherent instrumental value found in art that is shared in teaching: that of creativity.

What does this project look like in your school?

Year 1 

Term 1 - Define focus question, lock in teacher and students groups, sign agreement including the cost of the program. 

Term 2 - Ten weeks of TPL (Teacher Professional Learning) sessions exploring the Sydney Opera House Creativity Framework. During these TPL sessions an in-class and onsite project is designed around the focus question.

Term 3 - The in-class and onsite project is rolled out with ongoing evaluation after each session. This involves the Teaching Artist and teachers working closely to deliver each aspect of the project. The students visit the Sydney Opera House twice to see shows and attend bespoke tours.

Term 4 - Evaluation with possible extra TPL. 

Year 2

Term 1 - Define focus question, lock in teacher and students groups, sign agreement including the cost of the program.

Term 2 - Last year’s teachers step into a leadership role, working closely with the Teaching Artist to plan and run 10 weeks of TPL, exploring the Sydney Opera House Creativity Framework. The difference with the year before is the Creativity Framework is more integrated into the culture of your school. During these TPL sessions, the in-class project is designed around the focus question.

Term 3 - The in-class and onsite project is rolled out with ongoing evaluation after each session. This involves the Teaching Artist and teachers working closely to deliver each aspect of the project. The students visit the Sydney Opera House twice to see shows and attend bespoke tours.

Term 4 - Evaluation with possible extra TPL. 

Year 3

Term 1 - Define focus question, lock in teacher and students groups, sign agreement including the cost of the program.

Term 2 - The first year’s teachers lead a full program, training, designing a project and evaluating a full term of TPL for a new cohort of teachers. The Sydney Opera House Creative Learning team mentor and assist as needed.

Term 3 - The in-class and onsite project is rolled out with ongoing evaluation after each session. The previous year’s teachers lead and deliver the program in class, running the planning and evaluation, supported by the teachers from the first year and the teaching artist. The Sydney Opera House Creative Learning team mentor and assist as needed. The students visit the Sydney Opera House twice to see shows and attend bespoke tours.

Enquire about this program for your school

Teaching Artists

Each school participating in the program will be paired with a Teaching Artists from Sydney Opera House. All of the Teaching Artists are practicing artists, theatre makers and artistic directors who also have a formal or informal background in education and creative learning. 

What do teachers think of the Creative Learning program? 

Click to watch video

Why Creativity, Why Now?

By Professor Michael Anderson

People need to choose to be creative. They need to buy in. What makes someone train in the rain? Or stand up and present when their shyness screams at them to do everything but? In this section, teachers learn games and artistic processes to build enthusiasm, motivation, engagement and joy. This stage of the framework is fun, playful, immersive and thoughtful. 

Discussions about creativity in education have shifted substantially in the past five years, with several key international initiatives bringing the profile of creativity in primary, secondary and tertiary education to the fore (Davis, 2010, p. 31). This has not, however, filtered effectively into many classrooms, curricula or schooling systems. Indeed Robinson argues that though schools extol the virtues of creativity, often they are organised against much possibility of it actually emerging (2001, p. 41). 

If schools accept that creativity is required in schooling – and there is ample evidence in curriculum documents that this is the case (Craft, 2002, p. 129) – then there is a pressing need for tangible, professional and relevant support to make creativity learning a reality across the curriculum. That is the motivation for this program, Creative Leadership in Learning. The program is designed to galvanise and empower school leadership teams and the teachers and students in their schools by leveraging the combined efforts of professional educators, teaching artists and the vast potential of the Sydney Opera House for creative learning.    

The program arises in the context of a boom in research around creativity. This may be driven by the corporate sector, which, spurred on by the Creative Industries and Creative Class discussions (Florida, 2007), is beginning to demand creativity – or, to use another term, ‘innovation’ – in its workforce. For educators, teaching ‘what industry demands’ can be problematic (Harris, 2014), as it suggests the end point of education a job rather than a broad liberal and developmental education. There is, however, an opportunity for educators to make a case for creativity being the ‘must have’ attribute of the 21st Century, for future citizens as well as future workers. A recent study from Oxford University predicted a major shift in workforce towards creativity and interpersonal skills:

As technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerisation – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills (Frey and Osborne, p. 44, 2013).

Additionally, recent research published in the Journal of Educational Psychology from the University of Sydney (Martin, Mansour, Anderson, Gibson, Liem & Sudmalis, 2013) provides strong evidence that young people who engage in subjects where creativity is taught explicitly in schools have enhanced outcomes in academic and non-academic spheres. The three-year Australian Research Council study examined their academic and personal wellbeing outcomes over two years. Students who engaged with the arts in schools as active participants in creative processes were more likely to do better in academic and social spheres than those who passively consumed the arts, the research found.

By allowing young people access to the tools of creation, creativity learning provides new ways of thinking and communicating that provoke ingenuity, imagination and possibility (Anderson, 2012). These tools are central to creativity learning – but they are also vital in a rapidly changing world that will require citizens not just to be consumers of “their” world but also to actively change the world in the face of complex and pressing problems such as global warming and overpopulation. 

This will require active, transformational creative leaders and leadership teams in schools.

Teacher Professional Learning 

At Sydney Opera House, our professional learning programs are designed to be practical, hands-on and equip you with skills and solutions to apply immediately into your classroom. 

Find out more

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