The difficulty in measuring the success of a creative approach to primary learning and teaching gave our education system many problems. As a result headteachers, under the pressures of Ofsted inspection and statistical league tables, became reluctant to take risks with the curriculum. However, more recently this situation has started to change, especially with the development of the creative partnership schemes.
The Reggio Emilia approach The success of the Reggio Emilia approach to early years education has influenced theory and practice in the area of creativity in primary education. In Italy in the primary sector there is significant teacher autonomy with no national curriculum or associated achievement tests. In Reggio Emilia the teachers become skilled observers and they routinely divide responsibilities, so that one can systematically observe and record conversations between children while the other is teaching the class.
Teachers from several schools sometimes work and learn together and this contributes to the culture of teachers as learners.
Creativity and Academics: The Power of an Arts Education
The learning environment is crucial in the Reggio Emilia approach and classrooms often have courtyards, wall-sized windows and easy access to stimulating outdoor areas. Each classroom has large spaces for group activities and specially designed areas for pupils and staff to interact.
Display areas are large and stimulating and reflect the creativity of the children. The curriculum is project-based and there are numerous opportunities for creative thinking and exploration. The teachers work on topics with small groups of pupils while the rest of the class work on self-selected activities. Projects are often open-ended and therefore curriculum planning is flexible and is sometimes teacher-directed and sometimes child-initiated.
This philosophy is inspiring and can be partially transferred to the different framework of the British primary school. Creativity is not an add-on and it cannot be imposed by the headteacher. There needs to be discussion, involvement and ownership. How does your school measure up?
So how far has your school got in developing a creative approach to learning and teaching? Is there a nominated governor involved in this approach? Creative successes should be carefully evaluated, highlighted in the SEF and showcased to parents and the community. Once these seeds are sown, creativity will flourish. Staff kept saying that too little time was being devoted to the arts and humanities.
This imbalance was having an effect on the motivation of some pupils, especially in Years 5 and 6 and on the job satisfaction of the staff. Like every school, we were very anxious to maintain high standards in English and maths and to ensure that our KS2 SATs results were good. However, we decided that we were fairly secure in the core curriculum and that the time had come to reclaim the curriculum.
Therefore we reviewed our whole-school curriculum plan and looked at all the ways we could make our school a more creative and exciting environment. We decided that the school grounds were under-used as a learning environment. Each of our 11 classes chose a different type of container Reception chose old wellington boots while Year 6 chose a large tractor tyre and in the summer they were decorated and planted up.
The school decided it was important to give the early years staff the confidence to develop an exciting integrated curriculum based on the needs of young pupils rather than on the formalised curriculum. This was an expensive approach but worthwhile as often the skills of the artists inspired school staff to try new ideas and therefore provided a professional development aspect to their work. As our school was very keen on teaching MFL to all the KS2 pupils we decided to celebrate all the languages of our school by designing a mural which showed pupils from all the countries involved saying hello in their home language.
Our pupils decided that on the mural the pupils from the different countries should have hats showing the flag of their country.
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The large mural was painted by the pupils with the support of a professional artist and is now proudly on display by the entrance to the school office. Introduction 1.
The Scottish Executive Education Department has agreed to supplement the HMIE report by providing a brief overview of some key national policy developments and other initiatives across the UK promoting creativity in education. The aim is to help educators and policy makers by highlighting some important advice and other support to encourage good practice. The paper is not however a comprehensive review. The bibliography is intended to assist those who wish to explore further the issues discussed.
Creativity, Culture and Education Developments in England 3. The report emphasised that all children and young people can benefit from developing their creative abilities and this should be seen as a general function of education. Creativity can be developed in all areas of the school curriculum: including the sciences as well as the expressive arts.
For instance, the report led directly or indirectly to important initiatives such as Creative Partnerships and Artsmark. Creative Partnerships is a government-funded national initiative operating in 36 of the most disadvantaged areas in England and designed to build sustainable relationships between schools, creative individuals and organisations.
Starting with the needs of schools and young people, creative practitioners work across and beyond the curriculum, animating the classroom and finding new ways for teachers to teach and young people to learn. Through the development of projects of varying scales, creative practitioners, teachers and young people work together as equal partners to place creativity at the heart of learning.
The scheme encourages schools to increase the range of arts that are provided to children in schools and raises the profile of arts education. Further information on Creative Partnerships and Artsmark can be accessed through the links provided in the bibliography. The educational debate has moved forward considerably since the NACCCE report was published and there is now a much wider acceptance that a broad and enriching curriculum goes hand in hand with high standards.
Since September , schools have been working with a more flexible National Curriculum with greater emphasis on the need for creative and cultural education. There are explicit references to the importance of creative and cultural education in the aims for the curriculum and there are explicit references to creativity — encouraging pupils to use their imagination and look for innovative outcomes.
This working group was set up in response to the NACCCE report as a cross-agency reference group with a clear focus on creativity and cultural enrichment. The idea was to share information across various agencies and departments, to provide updates on key policy initiatives and projects and act as a source of new ideas. OFSTED — the inspectorate for children and learners in England — carried out a survey identifying good practice in the promotion of creativity in schools Expect the Unexpected: Developing Creativity in Primary and Secondary Schools published in They found that there was generally high quality in creative work.
Any barriers that existed could be overcome if teachers are committed to the promotion of creativity, possess good subject knowledge and a sufficiently broad range of pedagogical skills to foster creativity in all pupils, whatever their ability.
The active support of senior management is also important. The review team published their report in July This provides a framework for creativity starting with Early Years, developing through mainstream education and leading to pathways into the Creative Industries. The Government will publish a response to the creativity review report and an action plan in Autumn Unlocking Creativity Developments in Northern Ireland The report adopts the definition of creativity contained in the NACCE report — Imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value.
Creative processes have four characteristics. First, they always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieve an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective. The results of the consultation were published in a second report, Unlocking Creativity: Making It Happen, published in The vast majority of responses supported the proposals made in the consultation document and Unlocking Creativity: Making It Happen set a wide range of objectives for future work.
The key objectives for education related to a review of the curriculum being taken forward by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment CCEA. It set a wider objective of signposting clear steps towards accredited programmes of learning for people of all ages interested and inspired by creativity and sought to encourage collaboration between various agencies and departments to ensure that creativity is fully recognised in the development of assessment methods and the curriculum.
The report also highlighted the establishment of a Creativity Seed Fund which invested? The indicators cover outcomes and standards, ethos, assessment and review and management arrangements.
A third report, Unlocking Creativity: A Creative Region, was published in and set out a series of medium term strategic measures to maintain the momentum on developing creativity across education, culture and employment. The Education Northern Ireland Order will give effect to the revised curriculum, which will be introduced on a phased basis from September The revised curriculum will be more flexible, offer greater scope for creativity to meet the changing needs of pupils, society and the economy and have a greater emphasis on developing skills.
One of the Thinking Skills to be developed across the curriculum is Being Creative, where children should be able to use creative approaches, to be imaginative, to take risks, to question and explore possibilities. The revised curriculum will also provide more flexibility for teachers to tailor what they teach to meet the needs of their pupils and therefore encourage more creative approaches.
Assessment will be formative, as well as summative, with pupils assessed in their progress in the skills and areas of learning and pointed towards areas for future development. This Assessment for Learning AfL is already being piloted. One of the most important means of promoting creativity in the revised curriculum will be through Education for Employability.
Pupils will look at enterprise and creativity in the modern workplace, what it takes to be an entrepreneur and they will have opportunities to demonstrate enterprise and creativity. The pilot work for this aspect of the curriculum has involved school pupils working with local businesses and artists to develop creative solutions to business issues.
CCEA is also developing exemplar material and other support materials to illustrate how opportunities can be developed in all curriculum areas to promote creativity. We have forgotten that creativity has to do with creating, that it is connected with great achievements and quality productions. And as a consequence of this lapse of memory, most attempts to foster creativity in educational practice have been misleading at best and dangerous at worst.
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