Creative learning

2022-10-25 09:40

Creativity is often thought of as solely:

  • anthropocentric
  • related to artistry

This reductionist view of creativity pigeon-holes it to a small part of life. There's an alternate view on creativity - which recognises it as a force in every part of life - which can be useful when considering how to teach.

Jeroen Lutters, in 'No School: A Theory of Creative Learning', points towards Gayatri Spivak's (an Indian philosopher) theory of 'Strategic essentialism' as a useful leaping off point to define creativity. Strategic essentialism sits between nominalism (ideas are just names with no reality) and realism (things exist in the world outside our minds) by saying that although there is no such thing as 'creativity' we can 'use a supposed essence as a pragmatic compass'. To me this is both pretty much the common sense view, and liberating - as it dissolves the assumption that creativity is a thing that humans do.

If we accept that creativity is present in the whole of nature, outside the world we make as humans, then it becomes a thing to tap into - to be connected to - rather than something to be learned.

Jerome Bruner described the creative act as 'the building of possible worlds.' Any kind of learning is an inherently creative process - as new knowledge is created. This shifts education away from 'understanding' concepts to creating knowledge of them. With this understanding, learning can be less hierarchical, less didactic and more of a creative collaboration. If we accept that we need new solutions to the problems we face today, then this should be reflected in an education that allows for those new solutions to emerge.