Teaching as a creative act

I think children learn best within a social environment in which the group of people genuinely know and care about each other. I think this forms the foundation for the most successful classrooms. To me, Rita Pierson in her 2013 TED talk described the need for relationships in education most clearly and passionately:

“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Every day, teachers have the opportunity to do just that.

I find relationships and learning to be very closely related. Both are creative acts. They are creative because every day they need to be nurtured, utilized, examined, improved, and remade. The heart of constructivism is that knowledge, skills and values are built over time in socially safe and growth-focused environments. Knowledge building is never done.

Very new knowledge is often wrong but knowledge is not static. For example, I once heard a child explaining wind like this: “wind is made by the trees as they wave back and forth.” As we experience more, play more, talk with others, and as we make things and share things, knowledge gets improved; it becomes more accurate or sophisticated.

Highly effective teaching involves creating the conditions for learning and exploring that are not only developmentally appropriate but are also respectful of children’s personalities, passions, and dreams. Sir Ken Robinson said in his 2010 TED talk:

“And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.”

I can’t think of a better reminder of the awesome responsibility of parents and teachers than this.

(Originally post: https://makelearn.org/2016/09/14/teaching-as-a-creative-act/)