the ruyton reporter
The Centre for Creativity
Harnessing the spirit of creative learning
The atmosphere in Ruyton’s Junior School was crackling with creativity.The new
Carolyn Anderson Building, which includes the Centre for Creativity, was formally
opened by the immediate past Principal, Mrs Carolyn Anderson, on Friday 20 May.
In her ten years at Ruyton, Mrs Anderson’s visionary leadership enhanced the already
innovative curriculum and learning landscape to firmly establish Ruyton as a leading
girls’ school in Australia.
Creativity is an essential skill for all young people in the 21st century. It will take
creative skills to solve such issues as climate change, food shortages, population
growth and its implications, and to drive innovations in technology,” said new
Principal Ms Linda Douglas.
The Centre includes regular teaching spaces for Prep and Year 6 students, as well
as for science, design and technology; studios for art and music; a multi-purpose hub
and educational development rooms.
The International Child Art Foundation is quoted saying,‘We humans have not yet
achieved our full creative potential primarily because every child’s creativity is not
properly nurtured.The critical role of imagination, discovery and creativity in a child’s
education is only beginning to come to light and, even within the educational
community, many still do not appreciate or realise its vital importance.’
So what is creativity and what does it look like in the classroom? Creativity is in
all aspects of life; social, economic, aesthetic, technological and cultural. It means
to apply knowledge in new and innovative ways to resolve issues and understand
challenges. Creativity is applied across many fields including science, mathematics,
technology, humanities and the arts and is necessary to drive innovation and
productivity in virtually every industry.
The Shape of the Australian Curriculum paper, written by the Australian Curriculum,
Assessment and Reporting Authority, names creativity as one of the ten general
capabilities to be addressed in the forthcoming Australian curriculum.
Creative skills drive innovation and technology across the globe, as well as tackle
more local issues including improved public transport and skill shortages. Creative
skills will promote productivity and growth in new industries, and generate social
benefits including improved learning outcomes and greater appreciation and respect
for others.
The Centre for Creativity is providing an opportunity for students to explore and
develop their creative skills and to support teachers to embed creativity in their
teaching practice. It is well known that a positive atmosphere and a sense of fun
in the classroom are all conducive to better learning. Positive experiences for students
will allow them to take more risks, to explore and to want to learn more about a
subject.When students are being creative in the classroom they are likely to question
and challenge. Creative students think laterally.They imagine, see possibilities, ask
what if?’. Creative students explore ideas, try alternatives and fresh approaches, keep
open minds and modify their ideas to achieve creative results.They reflect critically
on ideas, actions and outcomes.They review progress, invite and use feedback,
criticize constructively and make perceptive observations.
The implications for teachers are that if we expect our students to be creative,
we need to be role models and show them what it means to be creative. Robert
Sternberg, in his book,‘How to Develop Student Creativity’ says that ‘Children develop
creativity not when you tell them to, but when you show them.’We need to teach
creatively and teach for creativity.Teaching creatively means teachers use imaginative
techniques to make learning more interesting, engaging, fun and effective.Teaching
for creativity means using teaching skills to develop students’ own creative thinking.
Teaching for creativity needs creative teaching.Teachers cannot develop the creative
abilities of their students if their own creative abilities are undiscovered or suppressed.
There are highly creative teachers at Ruyton and their creative approaches to teaching
and learning are encouraged.The staff work in Professional Learning Teams, with one
staff member assigned as the coordinator of that subject team. Such is the
importance of developing creativity in the Junior School, a Creativity Coordinator and
team were established last year.This team explores engaging and creative ways for
staff to deliver all areas of the curriculum as well as developing feature days
throughout the year integrating art, drama and music with other subject areas.
As a society, we need people who think, are creative and innovative. Over the last
decade, the biggest employment gains came in occupations that relied on people
skills and emotional intelligence and among jobs that require creativity and
imagination. In his book,‘AWhole New Mind’, Dan Pink says that,‘The future belongs
to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and
empathisers.These people – inventors, artists, caregivers, consolers, big picture
thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.’
The Carolyn Anderson Building has helped to increase the creative learning spaces
in which girls from the very youngest to the oldest can flourish and thrive.
Mr Brad Nelsen
Assistant Principal, Head of the Junior School