As human beings as well as educators in our schools, we need to make opportunities each week to CREATE new things. The act of creating is something we are wired to do naturally, yet as we get older many of us schedule our daily lives in ways which make creativity a rare rather than common experience. Notice how much time a young child enjoys creating new artwork or structures with legos or blocks. Creativity comes naturally to a young mind, but in our busy lives of school and work we too often squelch our natural, creative impulses.
photo © 2009 Andrew Magill | more info (via: Wylio)
In “Why change is so challenging for schools: An interview with Peter Senge” from 2001, Dennis Sparks documented some insightful ideas about change and innovation from Peter Senge as they apply specifically to schools. Peter observes our natural tendency is to (this is my paraphrase) become firefighters and put out fires constantly. When we are solving problems, however, we are often NOT creating new things as well as new ideas. It’s vital we make time to CREATE and not just fix. Peter observes:
When people come together to deal with practical problems, it’s important for them to consider what they want to create, not just what they want to fix. This approach fosters shared aspirations. Most people in most organizations — and teachers are no exception to that — are obsessed with solving problems. They spend their lives trying to fix things that are broken. This obsession with problem solving diverts our attention from a far more important activity, which is creating the new. What I mean by creating is directing our energies into bringing things into reality that we really care about. And this is a profound shift, not just a semantic difference. When we’re solving problems, we’re trying to get rid of things we don’t want. When we’re creating, we are bringing into reality things that are valued by us. Most situations in life don’t have a single right answer. Instead, there are more effective and less effective actions. In my experience, the most effective actions arise when we live the question, “What do we want to create?” This is not all that matters — we also need ideas about how we can move forward. But vitality comes when we move in the direction of what we truly want to bring into reality. The key to all this is really pretty simple — believing that every person has the capacity to create. And when you believe that, I guarantee you that you’ll have plenty of people who are continually creating new things on a larger scale.
Make some time today to intentionally CREATE. Consider “talking with media” as part of your creative process. Make time to create collaboratively with someone else, and then together share what you’ve thought about and “made” with yet another person. We’re wired for creation and creativity for an important reason: Creating is something we need to do regularly and with intention!
Hat tip to Cody Loucks for sharing the link to this interview with Peter Senge in his post for The Master Teacher, “Articles about learning, educational change and leadership.”
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