This edition of CPD Week is about planning professional learning in order to navigate future challenges, with a particular focus on creativitypdf-5893182

CPD Info Sheet – Creativity.pdf

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and the learner are located in the same individual.
Arthur Koestler

A new term, a new year and a new decade! What will the next 10 years have in store for the young people we teach? If we can’t answer that question with any certainty, how can we plan appropriate professional learning? This and more gets our focus this week.

Spotlight on creativity
Another year has passed and now we’re into a new decade. It’s a sobering thought. The previous 10 years have whizzed by so fast I’m almost breathless, and what about all the changes we’ve seen? In the field of technology alone, our world is barely recognisable from the one we inhabited 10 years ago. It’s rather curious, therefore, that as teachers we are charged with preparing children for a world we cannot possibly predict – for jobs which don’t yet exist and for social and political challenges which can only be guessed at. Faced with these undeniable facts, how can we possibly identify useful routes through traditional curriculum subjects that will best support children through the unknowable territory of the future? And how can we ensure that any professional learning we undertake now will serve that need in the future?

These are issues that schools need to return to repeatedly as part of their overall strategic planning for professional learning. The Training and Development Agency for Schools’ strategy for the professional development of the children’s workforce in schools is a good place to start for inspiration. This strategy is first and foremost about embedding a learning culture both within and across schools. With that in place, it’s safe to assume that staff (and students) are more likely to have the flexibility required to respond to the rapidly changing features of life in this decade. The three priorities of the TDA’s vision are:

  1. Embed a learning culture.
  2. Increase coherence and collaboration.
  3. Improve quality and capacity.

One overarching theme which might usefully support schools as they meet the demands of the future is creativity. For years now, thinkers such as Ken Robinson and Philip Pullman have urged us to prioritise creativity in the classroom. Just as life is diverse and dynamic, so, too is intelligence. If we don’t focus on creativity and critical thinking, we won’t achieve the dynamic responsiveness we need to see in young people today. Yet most importantly, if we don’t, through our CPD, focus on creativity and critical thinking, how can we ever hope to develop that in others? The task for us is to nurture the have-a-go mentality in staff, but we operate in a wider environment which can seem to stigmatise ‘mistakes’. Great teaching and learning cannot happen if we’re not free to experiment and get it wrong, as long as those experiences are used to inform. Creativity isn’t necessarily a rational process, but teaching and learning without focusing on creativity is most certainly irrational.

So, at this turning point in the academic year, and at the launch of a new decade, explore these key questions:

  • Where is your focus as a school?
  • What is the CPD you undertake for?
  • Are the actions you take to support CPD directly linked to this purpose?

Find out more…

This e-bulletin issue was first published in January 2010

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.