Saturday, November 28, 2015

Make Room for Creativity and Change

I just read a great post from Jon Harper (Happiness, Silly) about finding our state of creative flow, those times where we feel we are in our zone and are able to develop our best ideas, create our best moments, and generate seemingly unending personal energy. Jon suggests that he finds his creative flow in those moments when the tyranny of what's next fades away. Too often we are so busy with what's next, our schedules and to do lists, that we don't find those creative flow moments.

Jon's post resonated with me, in part, because I've been thinking about ways our education system could encourage more creativity and change. I agree with him that we don't have enough white space for educators to pursue their own passions and ideas, to find that creative flow.

We need to increase creativity and personal meaning for everyone involved in education--teachers, students, administrators, etc. Creativity results in greater meaning and personal relevance. It results in more perseverance. It results in positive change. It turns schools into learning organizations instead of information organizations.

But too often, leaders want to get behind people and push them toward an outcome. We develop one-size-fits-all programs. We hold never ending trainings. We mandate this or demand that. We pile on more paperwork.

It's piled on from every level of our system. What's next is coming at us from federal, state, local, and building levels.

We even require a lot of the new stuff in the name of change. We need to change this or that. We need more technology integration. Everyone must use this new method or strategy.

And this crazy dance goes on with noble intentions.

But what if there is another way? What if we provided more white space to allow professionals to develop their own ideas, to start their own movements, to share more of who they are and what they believe in as educators?

Instead of pushing, maybe just a nudge is all that's needed.

A nudge that encourages, "You have great ideas. You should share that."

A nudge that challenges, "How could we give students more ownership in that?"

A nudge that hopes, "Wouldn't it be great if..?"

To unleash the creativity latent in our profession, we have to make room for change. We have to stop pushing and pressuring and start providing conditions that allow for new ideas and problem-solving.

It will require trust. It will require taking things off of people's plates. It will require leaders who support risks and celebrate ideas. But it will be worth it. Make room for change.
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