While we are 16 years into the 21st Century, we are still grappling with creating school experiences that will create 21st Century citizens. In my previous job, we spent many hours discussing the 4 C’s:
- Critical thinking
In our biweekly team meetings, I built-in time for a creative activity. I led the first activity, and each of our team members led at least one creativity-inspired event in the following weeks. It was so much fun to give ourselves time to think outside of the box, to let our creative juices flow, and to just have fun! It was our own mini version of “Genius hour”. If you aren’t familiar with genius hour, I encourage you to watch this simple explanation video here.
In many of our schools, creativity has been stifled by the negative ramifications of high-stakes testing and accountability. Teachers are fearful of trying something new when they have been chastised in the past for straying from “fidelity to the program”. One of our biggest challenges to date is the need to empower teachers to find their own creativity once again.
To me, this means that leaders need to step up and be models of creativity. Leaders can appreciate when they see students and teachers expressing creativity throughout the learning process. Leaders can build in time for creative activities, instead of spending time delivering information that can be read in a bulletin update. Leaders can help teachers rejuvenate or rediscover their creative side in support of true learning.
If we want true 21st Century students who can create successfully in the future, we must open up the compliance boxes we have been living in and let some new light shine on our creativity.
Thoughts to ponder:
- How do you build in creativity in your site or district?
- Do you have a genius hour?