Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Creativity Empowers Learning

This year when asked to share an Ignite talk at the Auckland EdTech Summit I chose to attempt presenting in five minutes the PLD theme for Manaiakalani schools in Term 2: Creativity Empowers Learning.

Our innovative Manaiakalani teachers and facilitators are preparing professional learning group sessions and staff meetings based on this concept so I thought I would give it a go too.

This movie is a slightly expanded version of the Ignite talk - without the relentless auto switching of slides I was able to slow it down a bit!  It includes snippets from two movies, a New Zealand documentary "The heART of the Matter" and a fun piece from Will Smith.

Our teachers spent a month in April contributing ideas to create an understanding of what we mean when we use the word Create in our pedagogical framework. I included this in the presentation. We debated fiercely as we co-constructed a way to synthesise the multiple contributions and after coming to an agreement Karen Ferguson created us a graphic to use. It incorporates the idea that while many definitions of creativity focus around thinking and using our brains, the pathway to creativity for many of us - and the children we teach- involves other parts of the body 'doing creative stuff' before the brain makes sense of it!


  1. Really enjoyed watching this. It fits hand in hand with another clip called 'Song of the Bird' (found on youtube), a clip about experiential learning practiced by kiwi educator Elwyn Richardson in the 1950s. I thoroughly enjoyed making connections between these two clips. Your post reflects the importance of children connecting to their learning through experience and context which can sometimes get lost in the demands of curriculum and societal expectations. When outcomes are 'create' based the learning is put into practice, not put aside or forgotten.
    Thanks for sharing this Dorothy

  2. Thanks Michelle. I enjoyed discovering that clip you recommended. We are so blessed in NZ to have an expansive curriculum and a national psyche which embraces creativity and innovation. We want this in every class for every child.

  3. Hi Dorothy,
    Came across this post while looking for "learning conversations". I have always been a firm believer in creativity for learning and am delighted to see my grandchildren maintaining their creativity at primary school. This seems to have been more difficult in some secondary environments with the emphasis on credits. My best teaching years were when I was teaching Drama as a subject in a secondary school. The students ran to the Drama Room and eagerly participated in all activities. I was also teaching English Yr 9 -13 and began introducing Drama as a way of hooking students into English. I ran workshops for teachers in how to use low-level drama activities in virtually every subject (low level because the teachers were scared they would lose control and yes, Drama is noisy, but all students are engaged.) It would be good to see activities like this reintroduced if and when NCEA Level 1 is changed.