Creativity is one of the cardinal virtues of education, writes Simon Head, headmaster of Chafyn Grove School.
Twinned with Curiosity, it fuels exploration and discovery: the grail of learning. Freedom and encouragement are essential features of a creative environment; every possible care must be take that ‘targets’ do not inhibit this most natural and powerful of instincts.
You inspire creativity by being creative, in as many ways as possible. We don’t relegate extra-curricular pursuits to the end of the day, but embed them in the timetable. Creativity is not restricted to art lessons: everything we do is infused by the recognition that this is one of the most precious qualities to nurture.
If you can be creative in Latin and Cricket, you’ll find yourself swimming in imaginative waters all of the time. Similarly, there is no ‘one way’ of learning maths, but many methods from which to choose. The teacher has a key role in ensuring that choice does not become confusing, just as they do in guarding against lessons becoming merely linear, predictable or dull.
Where creativity is allowed to flourish, it enhances appetites and habits. For some it will emerge as a driving strength, for others a complimentary one. Above all it protects all children from submission to a culture of testing and those stresses and limitations. Creativity allows children to remain children for longer, becoming ever more confident in their individuality – and light years ahead of robots.
Teachers encourage creativity by understanding its importance. Outcomes are less important than how they are achieved: having the confidence to wonder and wander will take you anywhere. A good teacher will channel the energies and talents of children without hampering them, by being imaginative, sensitive and curious themselves.