Creativity in Schools: Tensions and dilemmas

First published in 2005 by the late Anna Craft, this classic overview of the challenges of embedding creativity in schools still resonates today

Craft explores some of the practical issues teachers face such as:

  • How can the subject-based curriculum best be organised to stimulate creativity?
  • Given the dominant focus on certain kinds of teaching methods, how much flexibility is there for teachers to use their own professional judgment to do things differently?

Interestingly at the time Craft was writing the government’s curriculum agency, the QCA, had offered a clear definition of what creativity is:

  • questioning and challenging
  • making connections and seeing relationships
  • envisaging what might be
  • exploring ideas, keeping options open
  • reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes.

Craft offers clear guidance to teachers on what effective pedagogies should seek to do, of which these seven are a selection:

  1. Fostering the study of any discipline in depth to enable learners to go beyond their own immediate experiences or observations
  2. Using language designed to stimulate imagination
  3. Providing structured time for learners to develop creative habits
  4. Creating an environment in which learners can go beyond what is expected and be rewarded for doing so
  5. Teacher modelling
  6. Encouraging learners to think of alternative ways of being and doing and adopt different perspectives
  7. Giving time for learners to incubate their ideas.

Although written some 16 years ago, the strength of this book is three-fold - in the honesty with which it examines some of the challenges teachers face when embedding creativity in the busy school timetable and in its description of those aspects of classroom culture likely to cultivate creativity.

Discover more about Creativity in Schools: Tensions and dilemmas.

Takeaway idea

Choose one of the seven ideas above. Plan a lesson in which you actively build in as many of them as you can.

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