Today marked the third in a series of one-hour seminars I offered within my district centered around TED talks. Each session was purposely kept to an hour: twenty minutes for the TED talk, and forty minutes for discussion and commentary. I wanted to kick-start conversation around two topics: creativity and motivation.
The first session featured the old standby with Sir Kenneth Robinson’s “Are Schools Killing Creativity?” which to my surprise, not a lot of my staff had seen. Regardless, I wanted to show it to begin the conversations around what we do as a system to creativity within children. The second in the series was actually not a TED Talk, but the RSA video of Dan Pink’s explanation of what motivates people in organizations (I just couldn’t show the TED Talk–he was kind of creepy in it). This last one featured Elizabeth Gilbert’s views on our relationship to the genius during the creative process.
Throughout the three sessions, internally I kept pulling to draw relevance to the work we do with students. I was constantly asking myself “how will this relate back to the classrooms and schools they work in?” and it wasn’t until the discussion following Gilbert’s talk that it really clicked for me.
When is the last time teachers were given some play time? When were we given an hour to just let our minds be elastic and think some really crazy thoughts about the world around us?
That’s what these three were able to do, in my view. The group, especially in the last two sessions shared insights and battled with themselves and others in the room about ideas that I am sure were not discussed at the lunch table in the faculty room any time recently. We played with dangerous ideas like eliminating grading systems, allowing students to determine pacing on projects, and giving faculty the ability to design their own staff development days. We also challenged each other’s ideas of what it means to be “creative”–is it a mindset, different vision? is it a work ethic? is it the ability to fit square pegs in seemingly round holes?
Regardless, it was a pleasure to listen and engage with the groups throughout, and I fully plan on doing this again.