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.