Without creation, there can be no creativity. If we want to inspire our students to be creative, as teachers we must invite students to CREATE content frequently. Creative sharing should not take place only at the end of the year, or as a culminating project, but as a regular part of learning. The following story illustrates this dynamic in the context of ceramics, but this is applicable in other domains as well. In his book “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat,” author John Ortberg writes:
A book called Art and Fear shows how indispensably failure is tied to learning. A ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. One group would be graded solely on quantity of work– fifty pounds of pottery would be an “A,” forty would be a “B,” and so on. The other group would be graded on quality. Students in that group had to produce only one pot– but it had better be good.
Amazingly, all the highest quality pots were turned out by the quantity group. It seems that while the quantity group kept on churning out pots, they were continually learning from their disasters and growing as artists. The quality group sat around theorizing about perfection and worrying about it– but they never actually got any better. Apparently– at least when it comes to pottery– trying and failing, learning from failure, and trying again works a lot better than waiting for perfection. No pot, no matter how misshapen, is really a failure. Each is just another step on the road to an “A.” It is a road littered with imperfect pots. But there is no other road.
The book Ortberg is citing was written by Ted Orland, and is titled “Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.”
How are you inviting your students to CREATE as a regular part of your class? Students should have regular opportunities to create content and share their ideas with both analog as well as digital tools. Just as “quality time” usually only takes place between parents and children when there is “quantity time,” the same can be said for creativity in multiple domains. Quantity is critical.
Let’s get creative!
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