Friday, 11 March 2016

Creating to Learn - The importance of creative expression

The pedagogy of Manaiakalani "Learn, Create, Share" for me is quite often thought of as a linear process, as I often hear the words in that order and that order alone. This morning's session reminded me that this is not the case; Dorothy helped to unpack this understanding by asking what opportunities we provided for our students to learn through creation. Within these first few weeks it has been easy to default to 'what are we learning, what can we create to show this learning and how and where can we share it?', when in fact in reality it is far from this linear thought process. In thinking more deeply about what opportunities I provide for learners to engage in learning through creating, I see I have not been as slack at it as I had originally thought. Of course, through the process of creating, learners can consolidate knowledge and gain knowledge or understandings along the way. Overcoming obstacles and reflection, whether through self-reflection or questioning from others, allows individuals to learn during the creation process.

One wondering that I have often had, I think due to the high number of texts read throughout University that emphasise the importance of creative expression in Education for our Maori and Pasifika learners is, is how relevant is this to Pakeha learners in high decile Schools? How significant is this 'creative expression' to these learners? When in fact some research has said that the traditional school system works in favour of the dominant Western culture. Is creative expression part of the traditional school system? (Not my opinion, just a wondering based on what I was fed during Under-grad studies). I guess the fact is that from what I have seen so far, all learners, regardless of their ethnicity or culture, love to create things, so many different things, after having learnt something, they love to create things to show their learning and now that I think about it, they are always learning when they are creating, whether it be content knowledge or new skills.

From here, my next steps are to be mindful of the opportunities I am providing for students to learn through creation, to think outside the box when thinking of 'creative expression' and to start to rewire my brain from seeing learn, create, share as a linear process to a complex, intertwined, cycle.


D J Burt said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderings here Latai. I see how it could be easily stereotyped that Māori and Pacifika learners value creativity, but as a Pakeha, and mother of Pakeha children I can assure you that whoever told you that my ethnicity didn't value creativity must have their head under a blanket!! Perhaps we have had it knocked out of us in the schooling system earlier? Perhaps we adopted to the 'shut up and pass the test' culture earlier? Who knows :)
Bring back creativity for everyone!


Latai Fa'apoi said...

Thank you, Dorothy, for sharing your thoughts! Yes my thoughts exactly around the stereotype. No one had told me that Pakeha didn't value creativity as such; I just felt that the emphasised focus was always on people of Māori and Pasifika descent, however being both Tongan and Pakeha, l know that Pakeha people value this just as much! You are right, Creativity for everyone! Including Teachers!