At a recent professional development session on curriculum differentiation the facilitator shared this quote that really resonated with me…
Great Thinking Takes Time!
How often in the classroom do we give students time to contemplate their answers or develop ideas in creative and unexpected directions?
How often do we give ourselves this time?
The curriculum, often imposed by government bodies is calling… so are pending assessments and reports!
Have we lost sight of what learning is about?
Gifted children and gifted adults love to immerse themselves DEEPLY on projects that they are passionate about.
Unfortunately most schools are poorly designed to provide the CONCENTRATED TIME that gifted individuals crave.
Step into most classrooms and this is what you will see…
1. Students working on similar content, in a similar way at a similar pace. Regardless of interest level or level of expertise.
2. Compartmentalised subjects in finite blocks of time. For many gifted students it can feel like they are just getting started, only for the bell to go!
3. Assessment rewarding the acquisition of knowledge, instead the development of ideas, creativity and innovation.
Education has becomes prescriptive, surface level and black and white!
It is time to provide all students, gifted and talented students in particular, concentrated time on areas that are important to them.
Given the opportunity, students are capable of knowing what ‘lights them up.’ With support, they can design projects that allow for depth of understanding, diversity of thinking and creative presentation. Ask the students and they will be able to tell you how the quality of their work ‘measures up.’
Instead of one size fits all prescriptive education, we have learning that targets the unique needs of each child. We acknowledge the professionalism of teachers who have the expertise and experience to support students.
Curriculum, standards, structures have not just been imposed on students, they are imposed on teachers too! No wonder it all feels so heavy!
Great thinking takes time! It also requires the freedom to move in different directions.
We would never ask Leonardo Di Vinci, Einstein or Beethoven to work for the next 50 minutes and them demonstrate their understanding on a multiple choice test!
Education asks this of students constantly. We also demand this of ourselves and then despair when we don’t measure up!
Too many people adamantly believe that they are NOT Creative.
We MUST address this, or we will end up with a society who have lost connection with the innate creative nature that is their birthright.
Here are five ‘ideas’ to get you started.
Share these with your students, your children and own them for yourself!
1. Give yourself permission to have ideas
Society has conditioned us to be critical of ourselves and our ideas. This means your most intuitive ideas get rejected before their TIME!
While not all ideas are worth taking further, capturing them in an idea file gives them time to grow. Who knows what will develop.
2. Notice the energy of your ideas.
Ideas, like people have personalities. Each has a distinctive energy. Some will noisily demand your attention. Others evoke indifference. While some quietly tug at your heart, refusing to be dismissed. (I love these!)
Your job is to notice these distinctions. Listen to your intuition.
3. Focus and choose.
Time to build evidence in your own creative capacity! Choose an idea that has the most energy for you. This is the one to focus on for now.
Warning: Don’t get caught in the quagmire. Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for overwhelm and inaction!
Give ideas time to develop. Play with them, make a mess, daydream, contemplate them in the shower, let them grow while you sleep!
Be your own cheer squad. Protect your ideas from the dream stealers – ready to criticise or offer advice before it’s time.
Give yourself time to immerse yourself in your projects. Or give yourself permission to take a break. Many a breakthrough has occurred whilst taking a walk or washing the dishes.
5. Work within restrictions.
Deadlines, government documentation, time constraints. These are unavoidable AND you can use them to your advantage.
Paradoxically, creativity flourishes within restrictions!
Let the very things you complain about keep you on track!
You are a creative being, believe in yourself and your ideas.
It is time to build that creative muscle!