Many years ago in my undergraduate days at Seattle Pacific University, I was privileged to take part in several classes taught by the late professor of biology, Cynthia Fitch. A finer teacher I have never met, and her guidance and words have stayed in my heart and mind to this day. To think that one individual can have such an influence is humbling, and to remember her manner of teaching is informative and inspiring. Professor Fitch allowed for investigation and exploration. She encouraged questioning and a quest for answers. And not just small answers, but instead, she encouraged seeking an understanding of the big picture, of the interconnectedness of our natural world.
A concept that has stuck in my heart through all of these years is the idea of innate human creativity. Our brains are designed to create new connections, new products, new solutions. Dr. Nancy Andreasen writes about this in her book, The Creative Brain: “During the creative process the brain begins by disorganizing, making links between shadowy forms of objects or symbols or words or remembered experiences that have not been previously linked.” (Andreasen, 2006, p. 77, 78) There is one Creator of heaven and earth and we are all created in God’s image, therefore it is His desire that we create. That’s not to say that we all will be the next Monet or Mozart or Frank Lloyd Wright, but that preemptive argument has been used as a crutch for far too many reluctant creators. “I’m not creative” is not an acceptable response in my world. It takes courage to take a leap of faith and to synthesize and create.
When someone truly puts their heart and soul into the process, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone create, no matter how polished the final product. While composing a symphony is a creative process, it’s just as amazing to watch a child make a unique text-to-self connection while reading a picture book. They’re making a connection that is creative and uniquely theirs — similar connections can be made by other readers, but the complete vision will never be exactly the same. The same case can be made for quality teachers. Each classroom is unique. Each day is different. Each child is constantly changing and developing. Teachers who embrace their innate creativity are not afraid to try new approaches to lessons in order to reach each child, and they will readily acknowledge that not every creative attempt will be successful, though there is still often great learning that can result from those “failures”.
Personal Vision & Mission Statement posts
Andreasen, N. C. (2006). The creative brain: The science of genius. New York, NY: Plume.
International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). Standards for Coaches. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-coaches
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2015, September 23). Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from http://tpep-wa.org/the-model/framework-and-rubrics/instructional-frameworks/danielson-framework/
Ribble, M. (2014, June 25). Essential elements of digital citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=101
University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. (2015). Surveys of CPS Schools. Retrieved from https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/surveys