Everyone Can Create

Why Creativity Matters

Working alongside educators for some 40 years, "we’ve seen — and research has shown — that creative thinking leads to deeper student engagement. When students are more engaged, they take more ownership of their learning. Creative skills help students become better problem solvers, communicators and collaborators. They explore more and experiment more. They tell richer stories and find their own unique voices. They stretch their imaginations and make connections they might not otherwise make — and they carry these skills through everything they do in school. And beyond."

Apple 2018

Unlocking our Student’s Inner Genius

An article from Ms Roseanne Madden Deputy Principal - Teaching and Learning

I recently listened to Andrew Fuller’s podcast ‘Unlocking Genius’. I have heard him many times and we have relied on some of his brain based learning research in designing our curriculum to ensure that it meets the development needs of our students. 

His message was that we have forgotten, in our desire to label some people “a genius” that everyone has a “genius” within them. We all have a special talent or skill that sets us apart from others. Fuller promotes the concept that the contribution made by an adult, whether parent, teacher or grandparent, to a child or teen’s success in school, is enormous.  Families who assist children to develop the skills to build and express their genius will be “future proofing” them substantially, through encouraging them to better concentrate and plan, make decisions and be motivated.  He advises that we need to:

Be positive

Remind young people that the world is an amazing place, despite the problems that occur within it.  Discussion about interesting things, new ideas and discoveries is key to modelling that adults are learners too.

Allow for creativity

Andrew says that becoming a genius is sometimes messy!  Young people need space to create and experiment, it’s one of the ways that they learn about persistence. We have just introduced a Maker Space in the ARC and our Year 7 curriculum is being redefined to ensure that creativity in all subject areas is celebrated.

Help children understand that mistakes are opportunities

We all know that the best learning comes from the mistakes we make along the way.  Adolescents who can’t bear to make a mistake, won’t fully access their problem solving skills and build their resilience. In Year 7 we build this strength as we explicitly teach the skills of reflection and encourage students to reflect on their learning focusing on the areas where they need to improve.

Develop concentration

Concentration is a skill like any other to master and it’s hard to learn if you can’t focus or concentrate.  Children concentrate on different things and it’s important to notice what these are and to build upon their natural tendencies. All subjects incorporate ‘thinking’ time where we ask our students to simply ‘stop and think’ before asking a question or writing or brainstorming with others.

Learn to plan and make decisions

Fail to plan, plan to fail!  Children need to practise the skill of looking beyond the now and considering the possible courses of action and outcomes of situations.  Mapping out possibilities and involving young people in decisions can empower them and reduce the dissatisfaction of life “happening around them”. Our end of year program for Years 7,8 and 9 forces our students to problem solve creatively and to think of different solutions to the same problem.

Reinforce their strengths

Andrew’s final point was to let young people know how incredible they are.  With so much “improvement focus” these days it is easy to forget to praise accomplishments along the way.  Successful people often remark that they felt that no-one ever told them they couldn’t achieve their goals.

We want to ‘unlock the genius’ of all our students so that they achieve their individual successes and become ‘all that they are created to be.’

I highly recommend accessing Andrew’s website. He has a whole section for Parents and is an entertaining read.

Jane McGonigal

“Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible and that it’s always worth trying and trying now.” — Jane McGonigal

According to Jane McGonigal, an epic win is “an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it 

… it was almost beyond the threshold of imagination and when you get there you are shocked to discover what you are truly capable of.”

The Epic Win course is for older teens and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Aspergers Disorder (AD) designed to support them in developing skills that will be needed in the transition into adulthood.

Jane McGonigal - Ted Talk