To create means to me that something is made. By that definition, we all create, probably multiple times over. According to my computer’s dictionary widget, the verb create means to “bring (something) into existence” or to “cause (something) to happen as the result of one’s actions”.
Creativity also entails the act of creating, specifically creating from scratch, making use of “imagination or original ideas”. The widget uses a number of adjectives to help flesh out what it means to be creative: original, imaginative, inventive (“the practical side of imaginative”), resourceful, ingenious, and clever.
I am in accord with Sir Ken Robinson and Garr Reynolds, both skilled at making presentations within their respective fields, in their assessments of creativity. In the beginning we are all creative, but to summarize Sir Ken’s words, that sparkle of creativity is educated out of us by our educational systems. Why? – because we teach children to not make mistakes. Yet, children make mistakes because they do not know they should not make mistakes, and it is their comfort with making mistakes that nurtures their ability to be creative. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Sir Ken shares some humorous, to–the–point anecdotes in his 2006 TED Talk about creativity. Referenced here previously, I steer you to it again if you have yet to watch his entertaining and thought-provoking presentation. He believes that creativity entails the “interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things”.
In a different talk, this one to our faculty at opening meetings, Robert Greenleaf, stated that “Creativity is more parietal lobe and the optimal functioning of both hemispheres.” I conjured up a picture of neurons firing all over my brain, lighting up from my cerebral cortex all the way deep down to my amygdala, and I thought of how satisfied and exhilarated I felt with the completion of the Professional Development activity I created.
Garr Reynolds, on his Presentation Zen blog, writes about The creativity imperative: nurturing what is our nature. He begins outright with “You are a naturally and supremely creative being – why do you think you are not?” Presentation Zen is about presentation design, and creativity has a very definite role in the design and carrying out of presentations. Garr’s point, similar to Sir Ken’s, is that as we get older, creativity takes a back seat or – even sadder – creativity is no longer even riding along with us. Yet, as he continues, “…the real irony is that our true nature is to be creative – it is who we are …”.
I have long felt that nourishing a teacher’s creativity is one of the primary roles of professional development, and you can be sure that this theme will reemerge in my posts! (Images from Fred’s Abstract Art and SketchUp Models collections.)