Thursday, March 21, 2013

Everyone is naturally creative

Some books I'm reading by prominent authors on our children's global future

I just came back from a Skype call with one of the world's leading lights on developing and nurturing creativity in education. Professor Yong Zhao is a thought leader and author of "World Class Learners - Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students", who is taking action to spread this most important message around the globe, that all children have natural creativity that needs to be encouraged and nurtured to enable entrepreneurial thinking in a global world. Globally connecting children is an enormously exciting project that he has begun - but it is a simple concept - learning from each other, sharing and creating, which is what children do best - but only if they are given the freedom and encouragement to do so.

This is very close to my heart because as a child, I was always doing something creative. I spent most of my childhood exploring nature at our local creek and dam, climbing trees and spending many hours drawing pictures. I was always considered to be an artist by my family and it was encouraged. However, as I grew older and was looking at developing my career, I decided my path was as a designer and I spent alot of time and effort to make sure I became one.
I had many obstacles to cross, however, with many people saying to me, "why don't you keep that side of your life a hobby and look at something else to do, like teaching or nursing." 

But I knew myself better than that and knew in my heart that I was creative and that nothing was going to stop me. So I am pleased to say that I have worked for the past 20 years as a designer and creative thinker and I am so excited to finally see that someone has been brave enough to approach this kind of thinking in education.

I too have begun a journey into this area, to encourage parents to become mentors for their children and to guide them into their life path, rather than resisting what comes naturally to them. 
My work is now bridging the gap between school and home and encouraging parents and teachers to work together for the child. But more than ever, I feel that parents need to feel that they too can be the inspiration for their children. Parents have a role to play as mentor and guide and once their child begins school, this shouldn't cease. It should continue and be encouraged. 

I truly believe that everyone is naturally creative. Many people have said to me, "Oh, you're so creative. I can't draw or be artistic at all." But being creative is not just about having drawing or painting skills.
It is the ability to think beyond the obvious. To encourage your thought processes to challenge ideas and systematic approaches to things. Surely things don't have to stay the same, particularly if they are not working. There must be another way!
It is clear to me that many things need to change in education, because our world is rapidly changing.
Information is at our fingertips and is constantly appearing in our minds. It is what we do with that information that is most exciting and powerful.

Entrepreneurial and creative thinking is a key to our children's future. They will have to think of new ways to live and work - they are already doing this - they are working on i-pads on a beach somewhere in Thailand so they can have work/life balance. They are already inventing new jobs and new careers for themselves through the resources that are now available to them globally.

I know many parents are worried about how much time their children spend on the internet, but why not spend that time with them? Encourage conversation around what it is they are doing on the internet. Encourage them to research and discover the world around them. To be aware of their opportunities and strengths to grow even stronger in this world.
They now live in a global world - whereas when I was growing up, I lived in a small country town and only went to the city on special occasions. We only found out about the rest of the world through TV shows and I clearly remember the first outbreak of war in Iraq and how fearful we were that it was the start of World War 3!

Information is there, it is what we do with it and how we can learn to create new ways of doing things that is the most exciting part of the world our children now live in.
Children are not fearful of this, you as a parent are fearful - but only through a lack of knowledge or understanding - and constantly thinking in terms of consequence.
There are consequences to our actions, however, by putting that fear into children, it is restricting their ability to express themselves and be free to think creatively without consequence or adverse reaction.

After hearing Professor Zhao speak this morning about developing teachers and parents as mentors who inspire creativity in children, I have enormous faith in my own children's future. I would encourage all parents to spend real time with their children. To be in the moment with them, to begin to understand their creative thinking. Listening to children closely provides many magical moments and the more you do it, the clearer their messages become. They are always looking at things in a new light, from different perpectives and are so curious that sometimes we forget they are still learning - we forget they don't know things yet and their curiosity is all about discovery - how wonderful it will be when all of us discover this and nurture that quality in each of us that comes so naturally.

No comments:

Post a Comment