Have you ever had so many creative ideas, some that worked and some that are still pending? Have you ever felt like your creativity was overwhelming, others would never understand it, or your ideas may not be attainable? Maybe you are like so many I have met that think they are not creative, there isn’t enough time to be creative, or their ideas are just too silly and will never work.
The purpose of my blog is to share my heart and background as an educator in the public and private school system. I want to encourage others to find their creative potential, believe in themselves and empower children to ‘dare to dream’. My desire is to share over time a little bit of visionary hope in and out of the classroom through visual and creative writing, community partnerships, and various Project Based Learning units that will undoubtedly inspire our youth, reestablish more self confidence, and empower them to live a life of perseverance and compassion for others. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but by the grace of God’s creative gifting in my life, perhaps I’ll be able to share something that motivates you to look at teaching in another way and help us all realize that we are not alone. It’s time to think creatively. It’s time to think out of the box.
I often begin my creative writing seminars or first writing lesson with an illustration. I draw a few lines with dots separating the lines. I give my guests/students a few moments to look at the visual and predict what they think it might be. After a few hesitant responses, I turn the paper and give the everyone a different perspective and the responses are diverse. Before you know it, we have a few giggles and everybody is waiting for the correct interpretation. I just love this part… “What if I told you that everyone is correct?” Of course we all look intently at each other with confidence on our faces. Now everybody is more relaxed and smiling a lot. It amazes me each time I present this illustration because so many of our children enter school and in this case, writing, from a fear of failure. They are afraid to give a response because we sometimes teach them that there is only one answer, one perspective, and unfortunately, we stifle their creativity. It amazes me how many adults are afraid to respond for fear that their answers are wrong as well.
We need to know that it is okay to ‘change one’s perspective’. It’s okay to think outside the box. Who knows, the children may have a better idea than you and me. When we approach teaching this way, I believe we break down even the unforeseen barriers. Now I am not saying that every response a child gives is correct, so as not to hurt their self esteem. There is a time for right and wrong answers. What I am suggesting is that we are more open minded and give our youth the opportunity to think creatively and problem solve through dialogue and /or visual imagery, self expression and interpretation. It’s time to teach our children to live with a voice of enthusiasm and passion. It’s time to teach our students to ‘dare to think out of the box’ and to not fear failure. It’s time take risks. It’s time to teach our youth to have the courage to think creatively.
As a young child, I always retreated to my bedroom to draw, paint or sculpt. I was not a great artist, but what I found in those quiet moments was a birth of self expression because my creation was my interpretation. It represented my thoughts, feelings and creativity and therefore my opinion was right and failure was not an option.
This approach throughout my life has enabled me to become a creative thinker during my 28 years of teaching. Now, I have the opportunity to instill a joy of exploration in my young learners and encourage them to embrace their own creative thinking too. Now it’s time for us to give them the inspirational tools. Let’s get started.