Recently David Didau (I’m a great fan, visit http://www.learningspy.co.uk/) blogged about creativity and the importance of teaching knowledge and having constraints if pupils are somehow to be taught to be creative. A long series of comments ensued with folk both disagreeing and agreeing with David (See http://www.learningspy.co.uk/myths/dark-art-creativity/#comments) . However it seemed to me that a major point had been missed. Something that those who have taught design & technology have been aware of for some time. In collaborating with colleagues in art & design a set of conditions for enabling pupils to produce creative outcomes was identified. The first four conditions are:
- Teach appropriate knowledge and skill
- Put the task into a context to which the pupils could relate
- Provide a stimulus
- Encourage pupils to reflect on their actions
Initially we thought these would be sufficient but we were wrong. The next two conditions are crucial.
- The pupils have to take risks – not health and safety risks but intellectual risks in developing their ideas in response to the first four conditions.
- The teacher has to help the pupil manage the risks they are taking – too much risk and the endeavour flounders; not enough risk and the results are mundane.
Given that both art & design and design & technology teachers like to represent to representing things visually we’ve come up with a diagram that describes these features. It’s in the form of a double AND gate. The first four features have to be in place to give activity which when supported by the next two features results in creative outcomes: