Monday, December 1, 2014

A New Definition of Creativity--Guest post from Victoria M. Whitfield

A New Definition of Creativity--Guest post from Victoria M. Whitfield (Autauga County Schools/@2live2teach)
I've always viewed creativity as something for "artsy" people or those who always think"outside of the box ." It is always something I have brushed aside, and I would often tell people how "uncreative" I was in order to not participate in creative things. To be quite honest, I never saw myself as someone who possessed creativity or would ever possess creativity. I always considered creative teachers as those far different than I.
My definition of creativity changed the moment I became a secondary instructional coach. As an instructional coach, I have the privilege of working with and observing English teachers on a daily basis. With the introduction of Alabama's new College and Career Readiness Standards in English, it is ever pertinent that these standards take on life--a life that is enriching and engaging for students.
I have listened and met with teachers who have grappled with understanding and implementing the ELA CCRS Standards. The types of lessons, strategies, and activities I have seen are nothing short of amazing. These same teachers embraced the new standards and found a way to make the standards enriching and engaging for their students. This is creativity as its best. In essence, these teachers have changed my earlier views of creativity. Creativity can no longer be considered something for those "out of the box" teachers, it must now be embraced by all. Our students' learning depends on it.
In her popular text Thrive, Meenoo Rami writes, "When you do truly creative work, you have to take risks and fail in order to succeed."
What risks have you taken in order to better your instruction and student learning? How have you embraced the CCRS Standards in your classrooms? How have you made learning come alive for your students? Why not share your approaches with other English teachers.
I look forward to seeing and hearing from you about ways you have tapped into your inner creativity as it relates to the CCRS Standards. We can only grow as a community if we share our successes as well as our failures. February is rapidly approaching. Until then, continue to make learning engaging for your students. After all, this is what creativity is at heart.
Victoria Whitfield (@2live2teach)
Autauga County School System