Friday, February 1, 2019

Are You Competent and Creative?

Shouldn't teaching be a creative profession? In my mind, most every profession should have opportunities for creativity. I think humans are made to be creative. And if we don't have the chance to use those abilities, we are mostly going through the motions. We're merely "doing" or "implementing" without much opportunity to use our unique gifts or strengths.

I'm referring to creativity here in the broadest sense. It's not just artistic creativity, although that's an important kind for sure. I'm talking about the ability to have ideas, initiate plans, and solve complex problems. Much creativity is needed for these types of activities.

So are you competent and creative? Having both. That's probably the best scenario. Being competent is knowing your stuff. It's being well-trained. It's having knowledge and expertise and maybe experience too.

But being creative is the ability to use what's available in novel and interesting ways. It's the ability to meet the demands of your current situation and add tremendous value because of your unique gifts and abilities. Being an expert is great, but it has its limitations. How are you leveraging your expertise to create the greatest impact? That's where creativity comes in.

I think we've valued competence to the extent in education that it's placed limits on what we're able to accomplish. When we simply double-down on past practices and past outcomes, we're not thinking in interesting ways. We push for more of the same and pile on greater accountability and less freedom for good measure. 

The world is changing and the skills needed to be successful are changing too. When we fail to adapt our practices to current and future contexts students will face, we are failing to help them adapt. We must adapt if we want students to also have the ability to adapt and meet challenges. We need creative schools. We need adaptable schools.

Recently, LinkedIn published a list of the top in-demand soft and hard skills of 2019. Creativity was at the top of the list for soft skills. That's right, creativity was number one. It's clear the global economy continues to shift from an industrial world to a world of innovation. Ideas are increasingly important. Creativity is increasingly important.

So back to the original question, are you competent and creative? Does your school encourage you to be both? Or, does it limit your ability to be creative? Do you feel boxed in? 

Every organization has some limits. But limits don't have to result in the end of creativity. It's sad when schools create structures and expectations that crush creativity. But it's equally sad when educators fail to use their creativity as best they can in the current situation, whatever it is. 

Even if you feel limited in your ability to use your creativity, use it to the fullest extent you can. You can still be creative. You may wish you had more freedom and flexibility in your work, but you can still create within your current situation.

Seek out others who are interested in finding ways to be creative too. You'll be a happier, more successful, and stronger overall as an educator if you're using your creative abilities as best you can.

How are you taking your creativity to new levels? When you're creative in your work, do you see better results and enjoy greater fulfillment? Leave a comment below. Or, share on Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. I am a teacher from South-Africa ���� and I know exactly what you are saying. I try my best with limited sources to give my learners the best. I try to make samples of what I must explain.

    Sometimes it is hard when the staff around you tells you, why you doing all these hard work for the kids. I am glad over the last couple of years more and more teachers have been joining in.(Showing if you are persistent people will join you)

    I found in trying to be creative I laugh more for myself and kids enjoy classes more.
    Because I have to buy material myself I use mainly recycled goods and that is my theme in classroom. I don't call it junk I call it an opertunity.
    We make posters with it and I found that learners like these things, because they can express themselves as homes become smaller and precious space is needed schools can provide that.

    That just one way I try to be creative I am busy with found raising so I can buy a pc and projector so I can bring the world to my classroom and not just read about the world. I have done all the training of creating on Google apps so I am ready to be creative there aswell.

    Subjects I give is a long list but here it goes: Mathematics,History, Geografy Grade 7 than Natural Science, Creative Arts grade 6 Pysical trading for grade 5.
    Everyday I still walk with one of the biggest smiles in the classroom because I love what I do, I urge all teachers be creative, laugh at yourself and see how teaching can be fun again.