Things That Are Not Taught About Creativity

I ran into an article about ideas and beliefs that we are not taught about creative thinking. It really spoke to me because there are so few people who truly view themselves as creative. I used to be one of them, but through finding what I love to do, who I am, and how to express who I am through what I love to do, I found my creative self. I want to help others find their creative selves, as well. The article cites twelve points, and my next twelve blog posts will cover each point as it relates to the field of Early Childhood Education.

POINT ONE: YOU ARE CREATIVE

As I said above, there are so many people out there that feel that they aren’t creative. It simply isn’t the case. The article points out that creative people believe that they are creative, and people that don’t believe that they are creative don’t feel the need to put forth the effort to be creative.

I think that there may be a little more to it than that. Yes, creativity does involve an attitude – a certain way of thinking about yourself and your surroundings. But some people feel trapped by circumstances. In early childhood education, I know a lot of teachers that want to be creative, but feel like they can’t. Maybe they feel that the administration won’t go for their ideas. Maybe they just aren’t sure where to start. But part of being creative means taking the risks that are associated with it. Talking to the other people that have an affect on what goes on in your classroom can go a long way. Starting small and work your way up to the big ideas.

One of the factors involved in showing creativity as a teacher in Early Childhood Education is to ensure that our creative ideas do not endanger the safety of the children in the classroom. As teachers, it is our job to come up with creative ways to teach children, as well as keep them safe. Administrators are also responsible for the safety of the children, and are ultimately the ones who answer to the parents. Because of this relationship, it is a good idea to be in communication with your administrator about your ideas. I know that I have had several ideas that, while they were wonderful, wouldn’t have been as wonderful in the execution. I tend to think big, and because of this it is vital that I have a sounding board, someone who will listen to the idea and find the issues with it that need to be ironed out before the execution. An administrator can be that sounding board, because in most cases they have been in a classroom environment before. Because of their responsibilities to the center, the staff, and the parents, they are uniquely positioned to be a vital resource when it comes to ideas about what will work and what won’t. Administrators also tend to respect those who come up with new ideas, and who are not afraid to take risks associated with executing new ideas.

The bottom line is that everyone is creative. If you don’t feel creative where you are, you may be in the wrong place. If you feel that you have road blocks when it comes to showing your creativity, you need to examine what you think those road blocks are and work on getting them out of the way. I am a firm believer that a person cannot be truly happy unless they are unleashing their creative potential in the field that they love. Because of this, it is vital to make sure that you are doing something that you feel is worth your time. It brings to my mind the Holstee Manifesto. Check it out when you get a chance.

 

Twelve Things You Were Not Taught About Creativity by Michael Michalko

 

Building Positive Relationships: The Three Areas of Classroom Management

The other morning I was going through a brainstorming session, wondering what to write about next. I have been doing a lot of writing about observation lately, and because I use observation for so many different aspects of the classroom I began to think about it in terms of classroom management. And then I began to think about the big picture of classroom management.

Let me first just say that I hate the term “classroom management”. I only use it because that is the going term these days within the education community for how to get the class to accomplish what you want to accomplish with the least amount of behavior problems possible. I prefer the term “Building Positive Relationships” because that is what I do. I don’t necessarily manage. I hate feeling like I am “managing” the classroom. The children don’t seem to appreciate it that much either.

So what do I do? Well, a few years ago I realized that there are several elements that are involved in dictating a child’s behavior. These elements work together to define the atmosphere of the classroom, which helps define the behavior of the children in it.

1. The Teacher

The teacher is probably the biggest factor influencing the behavior in the classroom. The way that the teacher reacts to behavior, how she/he conducts lessons, and how she/he interacts with the children sets the tone of the classroom. If the teacher is very overbearing and likes to micro-manage children, this will affect the mood and tone much differently than if she/he is more easy-going and flexible in the classroom.

How the teacher views children is usually evident by how they handle these different aspects of the classroom. In workshops and in talking to colleagues, I strongly encourage teachers to take a step back and really think about how they view individual children, as well as their class as a group. The attitudes that we feel about the children manifest themselves in our actions and reactions in the classroom, and impact the tone and mood of the class.

2. The Child

We all know that children come into the classroom with their own temperaments, their own baggage, and their own way of wanting to do things. Kids are kids. Kids like to move around, question everything, and experiment with life. These are things that we need to remember when we think about behavior in the classroom. I am actually working on a workshop right now that talks about the nature of children and how we view them. Want to see what I have so far?

RESPECT

 

It really is another post for another time, but it outlines different aspect of not just children, but people. All people have these different needs or qualities about them, and we need to remember that children have them, too. These different needs and qualities enter the classroom with the child, and every child has differences in the degree and kind of these needs and qualities. The mix that results is different in every classroom, and teachers need to be aware and structure the environment and atmosphere accordingly.

3. The Environment

I mentioned in a previous post that I do not view the classroom environment as a static entity. This does not mean that I move desks or tables around once a week – although that does help. The exploratory items in the classroom – from the manipulatives to the art selections to the blocks are ever changing and evolving to fit the interests and needs of the children in the classroom. This helps keep the calm as children explore new things (although the first few minutes of excitement over new items is kind of crazy) and keeps the children engaged. Playing or working with the same items over and over again in the same ways can get boring – we all know that – so we should change things up in the classroom, or provide new ways to experiment with old items.

These three areas can always be broken down into smaller elements, such as how the different areas of the classroom can be arranged so as to stimulate curiosity and excitement, or how to react when a child does X, Y, or Z. This post is intended to be an outline to get teachers thinking about the big picture and how it all works together. Sometimes I think that it is important to step back and remember the big pictures in the classroom, and reflect on our place in that big picture.