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Barriers to Fostering Originality and Creativity in Students

What do you see as the biggest barriers to fostering originality and creativity in students?

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Michelle Pellew
3 years ago

Creative subjects are unfortunately undervalued in today’s society. That’s pretty evident when this year the government cut creative funding. When schools went to online learning the DET put our a post to parents – “if you are struggling with homeschooling just try and focus on English, Maths and Science”. Creative subjects are higher order thinking – they teach creating, evaluating and analysing. The skills you learn in the creative subjects are so important for these so called jobs of the future. Its time it was recognised and valued more that just being considered colouring in or banging out a tune for fun…..

Richard
3 years ago

Well said Michelle. The rareness of creativity today has been fueled by what society (the government) deems as more important, and our higher order thinking skills (through creative endeavors) have been put on the back shelf.

jacqui
3 years ago

Yeah that Literacy numeracy etc statement hit the creative subject teachers pretty hard, they did leave it in their final communications though. Stem vs Steam pfft

rhonda farley
3 years ago
Reply to  jacqui

well said Jacqui. The creative subjects are very undervalued.

rhonda farley
3 years ago

So true Michelle. the creative arts have not been valued in the education of our kids because it is often referred to as not a ‘real’ subject, like the core ones. The skills needed to create an artwork, a piece of music or putting on a play enable students to use parts of their brain and their imagination to ‘think outside the box’

Barbara Tate
3 years ago

Creativity and imagination that is included in practical subjects reinforces traditional subjects of Math’s, Science and English . Students enjoy creating but unfortunately these subjects are seen as soft options, this is also reinforced by the inequality that the creative subjects have in lesson allowances. Usually less lesson time allocated than the “core subjects”. Greater emphasis on these subjects is needed to enable students to develop skills that assist with creativity. Societies attitude to these subjects is negative, it is important to make the community aware of the growing importance of the creative subjects for the development of creativity and originality. Students sometimes challenge me asking can we do this by working together we usually develop solutions and they are able to create.

Glen Bowman
3 years ago

It is the age old argument ” which is harder Physics or Visual Arts?…everybody says well of course Physics is…well…here is a pencil have a crack see how you go…

Richard
3 years ago
Reply to  Glen Bowman

Love this analogy Glen. I have been gifted with an education that held artistic endeavors highly, and have an artistic and creative mind and skill sets. I’ve also recently been getting into quantum physics (string theory), and I found myself drawing pictures of what it would look like as a resource to help my children better understand it.
I vote that we try to include creativity and the arts in all areas of the curriculum.

Alison
3 years ago
Reply to  Glen Bowman

Yep, ain’t that the truth. Look at the lines for parent teacher nights to see what society sees as important for our kids to be learning!!

Rachael Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Glen Bowman

This is a great argument. Certainly thought provoking!

Jacob
3 years ago

The greatest barrier to these things is probably the education system itself. Crowded syllabuses, and routine weighing of the pig don’t allow teachers to be able to explore these avenues effectively.

Sally
3 years ago
Reply to  Jacob

This is true. Time frames pushing the finishing of set tasks and then moving straight on to the next doesn’t allow for stillness, wonder and creativity.

Bev Lamotte
3 years ago

Creativity is not valued, more importance is placed on “left brain subjects”. It is interesting and encouraging to know that this way of thinking is being challenged. Also mobile phones are one of the major problems in the classroom. Not only are the students distracted and have an 8 second concentration span, they are also tired.

peter bull
3 years ago

The fact that most assessment tasks in what are considered to be the more important academic subjects with perhaps the exception of creative writing are based on the submission of answers which are either right or wrong, and the collection and compiling of facts/figures from pre existing reliable sources. Very little room here for rewarding creative thinking. Also in my subject area of music where we are required to assess composition, in order to mark the work, there are guidelines where the student is required to write a piece to a brief and the work is assessed on how well the music satisfies those requirements. While this is a legitimate compositional skill that can later be applied to a variety of lucrative jobs in the music industry it can be restrictive on the students natural creative ability and discourage them from attempting to just let ideas flow freely and use improvisational techniques.

Glen Bowman
3 years ago
Reply to  peter bull

Sometimes creative and improvisational skills are not as highly regarded, as the concepts are a little more abstract in regard to value and these skills can apply in Mathematics and Sciences as well as Drama, Music, English and Visual Art. In fact I can think of examples in each course we deliver quite easily.
The “what job will you get with that”thought is even a more absurd position in light of the collective range of skills a young student should collect to be competitive in changing and emerging employment landscapes.
Plus it is a very useful human condition to be able to create. Whether you are paid for it or not. Social isolation has shown a great desire for people to create, improvise and design to keep sane. There is great pleasure in dusting your hands, standing back, tilting your head, observing your creation and mumbling..shit I did that.
Posting the result on You Tube may or may not be as successful.

Leanne Ralston
3 years ago

This has made me really think about allowing more creativity in both my students and my own children. I remember my sister and I playing shops and Barbie houses as well as board games like Monopoly and making up our own rules. I really miss that my own children aren’t doing this to the same degree. I’m fortunate I get to see creativity and imagination in my school students and it’s a beautiful thing!

Brian Raglus
3 years ago

Initially I think our system of grading & reporting on & against our curriculum makes it hard to support imagination. Plus there is a lot of pressure to make sure the product we send home, even if there was student input, is quality, to send the message we are teaching them properly.

peter bull
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Raglus

I agree. Parents, like students, make judgements on work based on the criteria it satisfies and the result it received rather than an emotional perception of the work which could have been enhanced more effectively with greater student input to create distinctive, unique original work.

Nigel Reece
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Raglus

It comes back to the issue of community/society support of these skills… perfection vs learning experience.

ruby
3 years ago

How can students be creative when they don’t need to imagine. Their devices do it for them. hey have Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, and app after app that provides the imagination and entertainment. Younger generations are not given enough opportunities to be bored because parents are so busy that it becomes so easy to just let them watch for a bit or do some gaming etc. Sometimes it is difficult enough getting students to observe physical the world around them. More time observing and being present would allow more originality and creativity.

Brian Raglus
3 years ago
Reply to  ruby

As Michael delivered it at another time
Fear of Missing out & Fear of not Knowing – the need to keep up to date, to be included
drives a lot of their need to be attached to the screen.

Bev Lamotte
3 years ago
Reply to  ruby

Yes, too many students feel the need to be constantly on their phone. You don’t even need to think and write comments as there are emoji, gifs and stickers to do it for you – originality and creativity out the window.

Michelle Pellew
3 years ago
Reply to  ruby

I agree that students imagination and creativity is being impacted on by apps and technology. Once upon a tie I did a degree as a Graphic Designer – now kids can do what I studied at uni for 4 years on an app with no real thought about it….

Nigel Reece
3 years ago

That’s a very good point, Michelle, but their lack of meaning as to why their doing what they are doing is a concern.

Jordan Hardy
3 years ago

For some students it is that fear of failing or being judge from their peers is a major barrier of students showing their originality and creativity sides. Could this be from social media having such a big impact on the students. We see all the time the negative impact that social media has on people through the judgement of others. We always here and see the negative comments from others. Another thing that has a impact is the attention span that students have 8 seconds which is less than a goldfish.

ruby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Hardy

I agree Jordan that a few students would not want to express their ideas for ‘Fear’ of being different, not following the pack. I believe as an educator it is important to make a big deal in the most positive way when students put their ideas out there. Help push against the tide of judgement from their peers with positive feedback and praise, even displaying genuine excitement about their ideas.

peter bull
3 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Hardy

Unfortunately being original creative or different is not encouraged by their peers. It’s something students get bullied for. Same as being smart to some extent. Yet if you ask students which adults they consider to be cool, its usually the ones who are a bit different to the norm or who aren’t afraid of speaking their mind, taking risks or making bold and challenging statements in their professions and exhibit strength!

Bev Lamotte
3 years ago
Reply to  peter bull

I totally agree. Hopefully students will follow in the footsteps of the teachers thay look up to and respect. These are usually the ones that have the confidence to be themselves.

Katherine Hristofski
3 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Hardy

I agree that students are not risk takers and their fear of failing and being judged are barriers that prevent students showing their originality and creativity sides.

benn saunders
3 years ago

I believe that the fact we are dealing with children that are part of a culture where any information in the world is almost immediately accessible and in their fingertips has established a norm where people know they can access any information at any given time. Consequently, this has resulted in students developing apathy towards fostering their own creativity as it is just too readily accessible. In support of this, marking programs such as ‘turn it in’ are becoming more popular with schools as many students appear to be becoming quite happy to just submit someone else’s work. This could be a result of students avoiding risks or challenges.

Chris Collier
3 years ago
Reply to  benn saunders

It is definitely starting to become ingrained into their culture to have information instantly at their fingertips. As a result, I believe we will have to adopt technology into teaching and learning plans but exclude social media.

Carolyn McCann
3 years ago

Some students have a fear of being judged and this is a major barrier to being creative and imaginative. Social media is a platform where people are constantly judging others often with quite negative consequences. Students see what is being posted about other people and their ideas on social media and ‘learn’ that by thinking or stepping outside of the box may mean that they set themselves up so social judgement or ridicule. Thus making it easier for students to want to play it safe and not be as creative as they would otherwise be.

Jordan Hardy
3 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn McCann

I agree that students have that fear of being judge and it does not help that they see on social media the negative comments will have towards one another.

Brian Raglus
3 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn McCann

So true Carolyn, especially if that is the only outlet for them to be creative & then potentially judged by so many. Additionally one of my past Principals bought up equity as an issue. Some of the devices are far superior & even with the students recording their major work progress for the folio. Some students have a big edge in quality & ability to enhance their shots.

Laura
3 years ago

Yet again as in the previous discussion, it is the fear of expressing individuality and of peer judgement. Each time a student puts pencil to paper they expect and immediate and successful outcome, they have no sense of delayed gratification or that process is required to create a product. The romantic idea of absolute perfection reflected in an artwork overrides the path to imagination. Students are nervous and uptight about expressing individual thought.

Rachael
3 years ago

Students are to afraid to make mistakes and sometimes the best creativity comes from those mistakes.

Laura
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

Yes! They have their sights set on immediate perfection and a polluted sense of the aesthetic because of an overload of stimulus from the internet and social media.

ruby
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

So true. I make a point of praising students who make mistakes as opposed to students who do not even try because they don’t know THE answer. Some of the best learning comes from students coming up with the wackiest responses to a question that they don’t know an answer for 🙂

Michelle Pellew
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

Completely agree! In Visual Arts I always tell the students keep all of your mistakes in your book. They are part of the learning and creativity process. Then they hand their books in with all the pages ripped out…buy the end of the semester they dont have many pages left……

Alisha Whitfield
3 years ago

Students are surrounded by a world on social media that tell them what they should be doing and how they should be doing it, which in some ways hinders their ability to think for themselves, which becomes a huge barrier to be original and creativity. This also brings into focus the way that social media and devices in general distract students from learning, making it increasingly harder to foster that creativity and originality in today’s students.

Rachael
3 years ago

Also if they are seeing the best of everyone’s creativity all the time on social media it would discourage them from developing their own creativity.

Jordan Hardy
3 years ago

I agree social media has such a big impact on students. Students addicted to their phones which is having a barrier on their learning.

Jayson Hourn
3 years ago

He is certainly correct with the analysis of the reliance of students on their devices (and there have also been a couple of comments made in previous contributions to this). I think we need to try and adjust the illusion that students have that it is the devices that give them the ability to be creative and are their source of independence.

Apii Nikoro
3 years ago

Social media has constantly dictated the societal norms for the current generation. Most are herded towards what is normal behaviour and the numbers mentality has almost always influenced the many toward a narrow pathway. This may have lead to a lack of imagination and creative thinking.

Carolyn McCann
3 years ago
Reply to  Apii Nikoro

This is spot on. Especially when students who use social media see the posts made by others hiding behind their screens making judgments of other people’s creativity. They lose the confidence to freely express their creativity and imaginative ideas.

noelene
3 years ago

Some students can be very creativity and original but it has a lot to do with the particular subject area.But in general most students would rather copy some one’s work just so it is done.a lot don’t even attempt to change the wording.Students due to social media no longer can think for themselves.

Kodi-Leigh Beattie
3 years ago

Students have become more apathetic towards originality and creativity, this means that for some, it is easier to wait for answers or rely on others rather than actually having to think. Perhaps this has also been heightened due to fatigue that young people experience because of poor sleeping habits due to increased social media usage, especially at night.

noelene
3 years ago

Hi yes I agree with your comments.Students need an active healthy body to have a creative mind.

benn saunders
3 years ago

I think your spot on Kodi. Unfortunately, I have also noticed students willingness to wait for answers rather than actively engage their own thoughts and I completely agree that students are showing up to class not prepared to actively engage as they are just too tired; I agree that social media is the most likely cause of this.

Jay Harris
3 years ago

Two things that I believe are barriers to fostering originality and creativity in the classroom.
1. Time: we as teachers have an ever ending list of things we should/need to be covering in class content, syllabus, differentiated learning, positive reinforcements that it is hard to forster and encourage originality and creativity in all activities.
2. Students fear/reluctance to participate due to getting something wrong or being ridiculed/targeted/isolated for being studious, creative, original.

Kodi-Leigh Beattie
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Harris

100% agree with this, Jay. It seems almost impossible for us as educators to foster and cater to students imaginations and originality/ creativity with everything else we need to cover.

Apii Nikoro
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Harris

I agree Jay. With the expectations as an educator, how are we to compete with the changes demands and expectations let alone compete with the environment of social media. The effect that social media has on students is an enormous barrier to get through.

Carolyn McCann
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Harris

This is so true. Some students do have a fear and a reluctance to participate in some of the creative activities in class in front of their peers. In one class I programmed some creative activities in class and my really clever students didn’t do much in front of their peers but created wonderful projects on their own away from the judgement of others. It is a shame that they feel this way as these students have a lot to share.

benn saunders
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Harris

I didn’t even consider it from a teachers perspective Jay, but I completely agree. We are constantly under the pump with demands associated with our role and it is completely understandable how this impacts our ability to promote creative thinking from our students as often as we would like.

Barbara Tate
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Harris

In total agreement Jay. They are also fear that their mistakes or errors will be shown on facebook.
Mobile phone dependence is another problem as some students will not come into the classroom without their phone

Paul Crook
3 years ago

Facebook and other apps create a massive influence on students. The status quo is safe and venturing outside the norm is a threat to them.

Rachael
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Crook

If students feel that they have to conform to the status quo on social media how will they every develop their own styles and creativity?

Joel Kelly
3 years ago

A student’s reluctance to try and think of an answer or their unwillingness to give an answer due to the fear of being wrong holds a student back. A student’s fear of being ridiculed also is a major factor.

Jay Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Joel Kelly

Agree! I am finding this more and more common…. The idea that some students believe that it is uncool to be studious, creative, complete your work and they value the opinions placed on them by their peers greater than school work.

Apii Nikoro
3 years ago
Reply to  Joel Kelly

I agree Joel. The emotion toward making mistakes and looking silly is a big factor. Students have that anxiety toward anything they do in their lives. I believe social media allows toxic behaviour, where users have no limit on the feedback given to others especially when something or someone is wrong.

Rochelle Payton-Clark
3 years ago

Students do not want the judgement that comes from original ideas.They would rather just go with the flow of what everyone else does, than show their own originality and creativity.

Joel Kelly
3 years ago

Good points Rochelle! I agree with most happy to do the same as others.

Kodi-Leigh Beattie
3 years ago

I agree Rochelle, young people today are constantly seeking validation and feedback through others. How is it possible for originality and creativity when you’re constantly in fear that what you’re doing is incorrect or its not going to meet the approval of others.

Jay Harris
3 years ago

Agree. It also links into the last section we were discussing the idea that many students prefer teacher directed learning over student centered or student directed. Many students like the “go with the flow” compared to thinking for themselves and putting their ideas forward.

Alisha Whitfield
3 years ago

I agree with this. They are so afraid to step out of the ‘normal box’ and show their true potential, as they feel they will be judged. Such a shame, because these students could go on to do and create great things.

Tim Hunt
3 years ago

It’s easier to copy/paste than use their own brains. Anything that requires effort is a barrier for creativity.

Paul Crook
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hunt

Entirely agree as apathy is the new norm

Leanne Ralston
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hunt

True that! And your creative imagination has been explored in your latest song Tim! Mechanical Obsession….greatly titled.

ian reynolds
3 years ago

One of the biggest barriers to fostering creativity and originality in today’s classrooms is time. To get through the basic requirements of most curriculum courses there is not enough time to explore real original thought and creativity and have a real go. Depth studies are now a part of the process but they require some sort of correct answer to be attained rather than a genuine open exploration of a concept or idea.

Mark
3 years ago

100% Distractedness. If adults have an attention span of 8 seconds on average I shudder to think what it is like for our students. How can you truly mull over and contemplate some deep knowledge if you only spend 10 seconds with it in your mind. This happens so much when I teach. What’s even worse is that students don’t seem able to ignore their phones, as soon as it vibrates or dings they HAVE to check it … it’s an automatic reaction for them. I guarantee that they don’t even think about it.

brianna.honess
3 years ago

Teachers often need to be incredibly innovative, entertaining and energetic in attempting to combat the apathy and distraction brought into learning spaces by students. Motivating students to generate ideas, invent and create requires high levels of strategy and planning which means a lot of sustained energy from educators.

brianna.honess
3 years ago
Reply to  brianna.honess

.

Tim Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  brianna.honess

This is true. A student also needs to care about the subject to help their creativity.

Paul Crook
3 years ago
Reply to  brianna.honess

Students want”edutainment’. They do not real understand learning is not always fun but requires self motivation.Peers have become their role models.

Nicole Richardson
3 years ago

I believe that there are two major barriers to fostering originality and creativity in students. First, there is so much content to be packed into each lesson that there is no time for students to have the time to be truly original. Second, the issues dealt with in the previous section of the presentation, particularly social media and personal expectations hinder originality and creativity.

brianna.honess
3 years ago

Yes exactly what I was thinking. This energetic and dynamic style of innovative teaching is potentially a hard task for older teachers.

Alisha Whitfield
3 years ago

I also agree that the syllabus definitely places some limits on our ability to help foster originality and creativity in our students, as there is usually little time outside of the main curriculum to further develop these skills and give students opportunities to exercise these qualities in the school year.

Leanne Ralston
3 years ago

Absolutely agree!

carol stapley
3 years ago

I think one of the biggest barriers to fostering originality and creativity in students is the need for the completion of a lot of in depth content in subject areas – thus taking away time for original ideas to develop. This leaves little time for creativity.

brianna.honess
3 years ago
Reply to  carol stapley

Yes, getting the time with students to ensure deep learning of course content is important for idea generation.

Trent Boyle
3 years ago

I believe that the biggest impact to fostering originality and creativity in students is the availability of time to do so. Teaching all of the mandatory content often leaves little time for students to explore their own interests where creativity will flourish. This is particularly true for senior subjects, such as biology which are overloaded with content and leave little time for students to explore the concepts deeply and get creative.

Rochelle Payton-Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Trent Boyle

Time is defiantly a factor that can add to this issue. They can spend so much time doing other things, their own creativity doesn’t always get explored.

Jacob
3 years ago
Reply to  Trent Boyle

I suppose this has been less of an issue in the past. Syllabuses have probably always been quite full but time outside school to let the mind wander was greater.

Rohan Abbott
3 years ago

Mobile phones and social media are an obvious distraction for students in class which influences originality and creativeness.

Rochelle Payton-Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Rohan Abbott

Mobile phones do influence students and their ability to contribute their original and creative ideas in class. They are more concerned about getting likes on their social media.

Laura
3 years ago
Reply to  Rohan Abbott

Yes, agreed. But is this because they do not know how to feel fulfilled from delayed gratification? Do we need to start teaching them how to tolerate being bored? I feel our students are constantly over stimulated with their need for social media and connectivity that they have forgotten how to just sit with themselves and listen to their own thoughts.

Toby Gollan
3 years ago

Teaching to assess. This is the biggest impact – we are too caught up with trying to cover content to demonstrate student learning or expected learning outcomes to give students the time to be more creative. If there was a more holistic approach to education and a greater appreciation for need to allow students to explore differentiated learning opportunities (obviously within reason) there might be be a greater adherence and connectedness to their learning

ian reynolds
3 years ago
Reply to  Toby Gollan

I totally agree there is not enough time to allow for both.

Tim Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Toby Gollan

The school model is a one size fits all. Benchmark testing, ticking boxes etc.

Kim
3 years ago

As an arts educator I believe the systematic low regard for the creative subjects and the low value placed on students taking these subjects is having detrimental impacts on our future thinkers. The constant hype and focus around STEM rather than STEAM has perpetuated this systemic low regard. I commend those schools who place Arts Education at the heart of their curriculum as these are the schools that are truly devoted to not only developing creative intelligence and future innovators but these are the schools that understand that the Arts is where we develop the ‘humanness’ of our young people.

Nicole Richardson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Hi Kim,
I agree with your comment that the Arts is where we develop the ‘humanness’ of our young people.

Christine Kirby
3 years ago

Levels of distractedness – students get so catch up in their phones and what is happening right now that they forget to just stop and take in the world. Too many students are looking are the world, thinking this is boring, then looking at their phone and they are really missing out on what could be an experience of a life time.

Toby Gollan
3 years ago

Distraction can be overcome with opportunity to experience and engage in a different learning environment. Teaching withing 4 walls does not always provide the most fruitful learning environment. Also imagine if you had more time to allow students to explore concepts in various ways or using various methods of delivery.

Gail Phillips
3 years ago

Available time, examinations and curriculum restraints are what I believe to be the biggest hurdles to building creativity. I’d like more time so that my students can explore concepts through a range of modalities and develop a range of methods to answer problems. Pressure related to Departmental expectations, universities and parents tend to make us tunnel our students along the shortest pathway to academic achievement and success.

Christine Kirby
3 years ago
Reply to  Gail Phillips

Very true – the education system doesn’t allow time to foster and nurture student creativity and imagination.

Jimmy Weeks
3 years ago

I find the biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity in students is the levels of distractedness. The biggest distraction is mobile phones. There are so many social media platforms; facebook, snapchat, instagram, whatsapp, messenger, tik tok, etc…. this list goes on. How students keep up with every group chat, like or post is just impossible. The hours wasted scrolling through irrelevant content is just ridiculous. They see a new notification and have an obsession to check it, respond and be seen. It removes them from what being in the moment and takes away the opportunity to used their imagination and be creative.

Christine Kirby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy Weeks

I agree Jimmy – it is like if they don’t check it now their entire world would collapse in front of them and they would be lost.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy Weeks

Yep! Had a student tell me once “I spend about 3 hours a day on tik tol” I asked “what do you even do on tik tok” her response “oh just watch short videos of people doing random stuff” 3 HOURS. I don’t even get it anymore ………. and I’m fairly young

ian reynolds
3 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy Weeks

The most dangerous object that a student has in their possession is their phone. The need for recognition and inclusiveness outweighs all.

Joel Kelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy Weeks

That is definitely true Jimmy! Mobile phones seem to be an addiction for many students and the phone is their passion which holds them back for learning.

Jenny Umbers
3 years ago

One of the biggest barriers in education is the amount of mandatory content in our different curricula that allows very little time for originality or creativity. Then students don’t want to use their imaginations, just give them the information to write down and no discussion! Difficult to ensure they have understanding when they are not willing to contribute their thoughts.

Gail Phillips
3 years ago
Reply to  Jenny Umbers

Totally on the same thought wave Jenny. Our curriculum demands just bind us up in restraints. Where is the fun of learning by experimentation? What used to be there has now been abandoned due to WHS dictates, lack of time and pressure from the department and parents.

Toby Gollan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jenny Umbers

I totally agree with you as well Jenny. I believe that this is systemic in education and needs a change.

Rohan Abbott
3 years ago
Reply to  Jenny Umbers

Good point Jenny

Zoe-Lee Fuller
3 years ago

The level of distractedness we have – with addiction to our devices, decreased attention span and ability to be in the moment, intolerance of boredom – is the biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity. Being distracted by our phones takes away any opportunity for allowing our imaginations to run wild and free. Also, the things that we see on social media, with people trying to copy and outdo one another, and memes that rely on someone else’s previous creation for meaning, mean that we rarely see content that is truly original or creative and thus works inadvertently to reinforce the low regard. Our students, as probably the most distracted are therefore highly affected.

Jenny Umbers
3 years ago
Reply to  Zoe-Lee Fuller

The idea that a child’s future lies in posting to social media and being paid for doing so is ‘normal’ to these kids. Asking them to think for themselves, set their mind free from other people’s lives for a few minutes is asking the impossible. Distraction is common place and today’s students have no other experience.

jimmy
3 years ago
Reply to  Zoe-Lee Fuller

Totally agree with the distraction of mobile phones. Students are finding themselves bored the moment they put them down. It is sad to see the opportunities of creativity that are being lost or ignored.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Zoe-Lee Fuller

Intolerance of boredom is a really nice phrase … I like it! Also very true, the response I got when I said I was bored was “I can find you something to do if you can’t think of anything” I almost always found something to think of 🙂 I just don’t imagine that conversation ever happening in today’s age with the ready distraction of digital devices so easily at hand.

Chris
3 years ago

In junior high school, I don’t necessarily see the amount of content as the hindrance/barrier to creativity. Creativity can be introduced alongside content through learning activities that challenge students to think on and develop their own ideas about the content while guiding them towards the correct conceptions. The issue underlying this approach is that creativity often requires requisite skills and needs (we all know Bloom’s and Maslow’s triangles), which many students don’t yet possess at the necessary level.
This then becomes a major issue in Stage 6 where there are more specific requirements for, and a larger allotment of both content and skills. In trying to diversify assessment we can often be shunted into the same old types of assessment because our students can’t work too far outside of what they are used to. We then go straight back to optimism and tenacity – I can’t, therefore I won’t. There is such little time in Stage 6 to get through the required content, let alone filling in gaps from student’s educational experience up to that point so that you can do so meaningfully.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris, I agree that a crammed curriculum can impede creativity.

Jacob
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I do think that even junior syllabuses are crowded. Perhaps not with content but with the scope. A greater diversity of content is great but would be better served with a system that allowed opt-in for certain areas. This gives students more agency in their learning.

Jade
3 years ago

There are two main barriers that I believe hinder the ability to foster originality and creativity in students. The first being regulatory and institutional barriers, such as time constraints, curriculum content, timetables and bells. I understand that schools are based on order and structure and they are what make a school function but it is these factors that create the mind-set that makes it hard to step outside of the norm. The second is the psychological barriers that impact both students and teachers. Fostering originality and creativity may involve stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking risks. With this comes the need for a high degree of confidence and the readiness to face an unpredictable outcome. Therefore, it is understandable why both students and teachers are hesitant to step outside of their comfort zone and their usual routine.

Chris
3 years ago
Reply to  Jade

A great point Jade – not only do we have to work within regulations and institutional rules that you’ve mentioned, but this level of temporal and spatial constraint also shutters off the interaction of skills, content and activity between subject areas. This isn’t just institutional, it is also psychological for our students. Why do I have to do graphs Science when I do it in Maths? Why write an essay in History when that’s what we do in English? Why do I have to learn about the water cycle in Science when I already learnt that in Geography? Not only do students have to learn to step OUT of their comfort zone, they also need to learn to step BETWEEN it.

Zoe-Lee Fuller
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris

A fantastic point – our society is so stratified and segmented, and that trickles down into our education. Students need to see not just the individual parts but how they relate to one another. Our education system, however, really fosters this mentality by breaking down learning into such sections. Cross-curriculum priorities aside…

Gail Phillips
3 years ago
Reply to  Jade

I agree Jade. The rigour of the school structure often stifles creativity. Sometimes you have a class that are actively involved in debating life issues and coming up with great ideas but then the bell goes! Period over, engagement and creativity shut down till next period. By then many of them have moved on and it is hard to regather the creativity they were displaying.

Rohan Abbott
3 years ago
Reply to  Jade

Great point Jade. With so much structure needed in the day to day running of schools it can impact on the ability to be creative

Nicole Richardson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jade

Great point Jade.
Bells and timetables in themselves definitely impede the quiet and flow required for true creativity.

kathy
3 years ago

The biggest barrier in stage 6 is having to deliver a “jam packed” curriculum that allows no time for originality and creativity. There is so much content that needs to be covered that there isn’t even time to develop and practise skills associated with the subject.

Chris
3 years ago
Reply to  kathy

Agreed, there is a big issue with Stage 6 syllabuses and having too much in them, and not enough time to cover it. Should teachers really be having to navigate what’s more or less important to cover in year 11 for year 12, then in year 12 for end-of-school examinations? Not only that, but there is even less time to return to Stage 4/5 content and skills for students who have fallen behind.

Jenny Umbers
3 years ago
Reply to  kathy

I agree with you! However, our students don’t want to think for themselves or discuss concepts or ideas. Just provide the information for them to write and don’t ask anything else. Don’t ‘distract’ them from getting back onto the phone!

jimmy
3 years ago
Reply to  kathy

This is a fair point. However, I am seeing a lot content being removed as they adjust to a new syllabus. I think their needs to be a balance between a “jam packed” curriculum and the continuation of lowering the bar for these students to make it a achievable.

Beau Harper
3 years ago

The biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity in students is the social construct we have of education. This is not to say the model in use now needs to be dismissed, I simply imply that the system we have at this point in time, serves the purpose, to prepare a large majority of students for their phase of economic productivity, social integration and gene pool manipulation (making babies).

However, if we solely focus on originality and creativity then the education system does not have enough scope to cater for originality and creativity. Originality and creativity are not linear functions of time, they (original ideas) are products that occur sporadically over time and as such, they are valued highly by companies as potential golden tickets (eg. Jeff Bezos comment)…. if every one had original ideas every lesson, I guess, it would be unoriginal? Original ideas are outliers on a bell curve, education uses the bell curve, this will require a substantial change to the system. NAPLAN, HSC, VALID, etc, etc.

At a curriculum level we are starting to see some planning for creativity and originality through the use of project based learning, and areas in the new curriculum for stage 6, where extended periods of time have been included to focus on an areas of interest. These positive steps shift the paradigm of pedagogy toward creativity, and to some extend originality. However, more needs to be done to shift the culture of learning more towards this brain side, so as to provide a better balance. Providing greater opportunity for teachers to do the same would also amplify this cultural shift. It would be illogical to think this approach only applies to students.

Unfortunately, our system does not allow for waisting time, to encourage quiet, introspection and boredom. As mentioned by the presenter, we as a society are plugged in almost 24/7. Homes, even beds are places where connection to devices and social noise remains. Young people have more of everything they want but, are deprived of what they need. School is a place where we provide equality and equity, so students can learn. Should we consider space in our curriculum for disconnection, can we teach young people how to disconnect, will they get a sense for what it means to be still and will they learn and value the importance of switching off, so they can connect to their thoughts and creativeness.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Beau Harper

A fantastic response Beau, so much to consider. i have not yet come across the term pool manipulation!

Rae
3 years ago

I believe that as educators of the 21st century we are hugely restricted in our ability to develop the originality and creativity of our students due to the constraints and expectations of the curriculum that we are required to deliver daily. When you look at the content a teacher is expected to cover, in reality, without cross programming and planning it would be impossible to fit everything in to the day as it is. When teachers do step away from conforming to exactly what is prescribed, and allow students to develop their original and creative thoughts, the results are truly amazing.

Zoe-Lee Fuller
3 years ago
Reply to  Rae

Fantastic point – the structure of our school system and requirements of us as educators, the constraints of our curriculum and the bureaucratic roles we must undertake in the culture of accountability really hinder our creativity as teachers and our ability to provide meaningful opportunities for student creativity.

Andrew Collins
3 years ago

The biggest and I would say single most significant impact on fostering originality and creativity is the content loaded/focussed curriculums in each KLA. Something which adds to this is the expectation of society that these lost characteristics in students will be fostered solely by the educators in schools. What happened to the role of parents and the home in educating students in basic skills? If a student fails, fingers are pointed at the staff, the school, the system. Again, a lack of responsibility.

Beau Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Collins

Hi Rae,
I think you have pointed to a very important aspect of creativity and originality. I feel too that the family dynamic and the impact of technology has impacted the influence of the home environment’s ability to nurture creativity and originality. An example that comes to mind is the ease at which parents thrust technology on to young kids in the prime of brain development and neural plasticity. The importance of play whether it be self-, parallel- or co-play nurture a child’s creativity through the use of language and the modification of the environment both physical and through imagination. If we stifle this through mass viewing of programs or playing of games creativity, imagination, language and social development are severely impacted.

As with past trends, we could make an assumption that providing time, no matter how inadequate, becomes part of the curriculum. Look at the time allocated for physical activity in the curriculum (I am a PE teacher :-)).

Jayson Hourn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Collins

I agree that the point of blame is unfairly directed at staff and the school. Ownership needs to be taken by students of their achievements.

Lanie
3 years ago

One of the biggest barriers to fostering originality and creativity in students is the need for the completion of the course requirements. Time constraints on content leave little time for creativity, especially with senior students with an external examination.

Beau Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Lanie

Hi Lanie,

Yes, I agree that time constraints are a massive factor. I feel that this applies for both staff and students. Having more time to plan would result in greater risk taking on learning activities aimed at nurturing originality and creativity. More time for students would mean we could trial activities that require more time and allow for deep thought and introspection.

Trent Boyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Lanie

Time constraints are one of the biggest barriers to creativity. I agree that this is amplified in senior subjects.

Jess
3 years ago

The biggest barrier to fostering creativity in schools is the curriculum and the weighting of subject outcomes. With recent developments, this is changing but only slightly. We are so time poor with the amount we have to achieve each reporting period, that even when we are able to teach creativity, it is so highly scaffolded it defeats the purpose.

Jade
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Jess, I totally agree with you in relation to the time constraints faced between reporting periods and what we are required to get through. Let’s hope that this continues to change, to become less scaffolded and will then become more conducive to the fostering of originality and creativity

Jayson Hourn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

This is true. Also the amount of ‘paperwork’ and registration takes its toll on the amount of time that can be used better on other activities.

Kerry
3 years ago

I believe the biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity in students is the requirement to teach to rules as leaders continue to focus on compliance and funding. Leaders need to be fearless and give teachers more freedom to work “outside the box”, to develop new ideas and strategies to engage and prepare the next generations for a very different working world.

Rae
3 years ago
Reply to  Kerry

I agree. Leaders do need to model what they expect others to follow with. You bring up an extremely important factor though Kerry, and that is TIME. If there is one consistent theme that I hear from all educators, it is a lack of time for anything. Time is a precious commodity in education and must be used wisely to ensure all students are provided the best opportunity to learn.

kathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Kerry

TIME – or the lack of. As the saying goes “There is not enough hours in the day” or in our case the school year to be able to tick every box that is asked of us. To encourage and build creativity, we need to be able to stop, give it time and start thinking outside the box.

Leeanne
3 years ago

The biggest barrier to fostering originality and creativity in students is the curriculum that dictates what we teach, and the fact that we are still concerned with teaching to tests. Where do we create room for creativity in our schools? The belief that creativity is important needs to be acknowledged by all facets of the community. As Michael mentioned, what is taught in schools is a reflection of what is important to society. How do we as educators then foster that creativity, when as Michael said that only 3% of individuals at 25 are still classified as creative geniuses, compared to 98% as three year olds? I don’t see myself as creative and I am concerned as to how i would assist my students in being creative.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Leeanne

I do consider myself as a creative thinker and I struggle to assist students. The cultural undervaluing of the ability has filtered through. Self esteem and identity development have large roles to play here. Students often label themselves as being a creative or ‘arty’ person for reasons associated with belonging to a group, rather than the skills that are flourished.

Andrew Collins
3 years ago
Reply to  Leeanne

I too don’t believe myself to be creative or a creative thinker. Though as teachers we are problem solvers, programmers, technologists, team members, communicators etc. We have all just and are still currently working through a situation which requires us to be creative and develop systems which are designed to able our students to continue to engage with their learning.

Rae
3 years ago
Reply to  Leeanne

I think we are all creative thinkers. That is the importance of a growth mindset. I don’t know how old you are Leeanne, but I think sometimes certain generations do not give themselves the credit they should. We can all provide our students with opportunities to be creative and original in their learning. The challenge is in incorporating that into a time poor curriculum.

kathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Leeanne

I consider myself as being creative THINKER, trying many different ways to engage students to master new concepts and giving them the occasional nudge to hopefully start this process for themselves. And the expression on their faces when they do think of something for themselves is priceless.

Trent Boyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Leeanne

Teaching to the test is a major detriment to creativity. Students become overly concerned with weather or not something will be tested and disregard anything that is not going to be tested. Creative exercises often fall into this category.

Ram
3 years ago

The big barriers as I see it is the ability of students from some non- English speaking countries being able to use reflection and thrive in a self- learning environment. To unpack some 12 years of learning routine and make them to change the way they study and break the habit can be quite a challenge initially.

Leeanne
3 years ago
Reply to  Ram

Hi Ram, is it just non-English speaking backgrounds that is the concern? I think even English speaking backgrounds have a big importance placed on literacy and numeracy and not on creativity. I think it will be a big shift for a lot of cultures to realise that the jobs of the future will be based around creativity. A lot of the students in non-English speaking countries have the awareness that learning is hard work and that life is not meant to be easy.

Peter Davis
4 years ago

A big barrier is that we need to teach and evaluate students according to a set curriculum which doesn’t always allow for creativity.

Leeanne
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Davis

Hi Peter, yes i agree, we need society to realise that creativity is important, and do away with teaching to a test, and instead appreciate the value of creativity and how creativity will be an important factor in the jobs of the future.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Davis

Absolutely! I believe that this will be the way long after our priorities shift as teachers. It all comes back to that systemic low regard and what is seen as a valued and safe career path doesn’t it?

Lanie
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Davis

Yes I so agree with you, especially int he senor years of schooling.

Andrew Collins
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Davis

I agree with this statement and it is definitely more relevant for our senior students, in particular Year 12 and their final external exams. Suggestion; what would be the harm in slowing down what we do for junior years and opening ourselves up to the possibility of students being given opportunities to explore learning opportunities? Obviously this would need to be introduced in a controlled environment where boundaries are slowly relaxed.

Jade
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Davis

Definitely Peter, there certainly isn’t a whole lot of wriggle room in the curriculum, making it hard to foster originality and creativity.

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