Monday, 4 February 2019

PBS TOD: Exploring 'create' through clay...

Today we had a fantastic TOD (teacher only day) that added richly to our own baskets of knowledge. Through a variety of fun challenges Richard helped us to strengthen our own connections to ways we can bring 'creativity' into our teaching programmes to help our learners strengthen their connections to the learning. 

My takeaways from this session were:
  • Creativity is a powerful tool for strengthening connections.
  • Creativity should be valued.
  • Creativity helps learners engage and inspires curiosity.
  • Creativity helps learners to choose to think instead of simply remembering.
  • Creativity stimulates imagination.
  • Creativity strengthens innovation as it allows opportunities for good ideas to be put into practise.
  • Everyone has a creative capacity. 
  • Creativity is not about reinventing the wheel, it is about refining knowledge, thus becoming a collaboration of events. 
  • Creativity promotes opportunities for rich conversations.
  • Creativity helps learners to use content vocabulary in context.

Our final session today was an opportunity for us to explore our own creativity and was definitely the most fun. We were all challenged to create clay bird figurines! Our teacher Barbara, scaffolded us and pushed us way outside most people's comfort zones. As with anything when you are trying to make connections to new learning you tap into what you already know. For me that meant realising I had a figurine at home similar to the exemplars shown. Immediately that meant I had a small connection to the learning. With that connection in mind I set about forming the body of my bird. Accidentally pressing too hard when I was forming the neck gave me the tilt in the head that I wanted. What I noticed then was that I immediately felt an increase in my own confidence. This meant I was keen to apply the new learning of attaching a tail. Attempt one was a disaster so I quickly adapted my thinking and noticed I was using a trial and error approach to improve the aesthetics and proportions. I realised I naturally asked questions to clarify both vocabulary and methods. 

(My finished bird)

The vocabulary clarification sparked my curiosity and was something I did without thinking but something I thought would be a challenge for learners who do not have English as their first language. The word in question was 'slip'. When I heard it I naturally formed an image in my head of falling over and most definitely not the mix of water and dried clay it turned out to be. The creative aspect of the learning meant I was able to gain and apply meaning in context. When I sat back and observed for a moment I realised we were all using the newly introduced content language in context...slip, grog, smooth, adhere, texture, shape... rich conversations were naturally evolving as we shared our successes and asked for guidance.

Every part of this session showed me first hand how empowering and powerful building creativity into my programme can be for my learners, and was most definitely a fun way to begin our PBS 2019 learning journey together!

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