Creativity in Middle School

Creativity is developing as a core competency in Education. It is outlined as a general capability in the Australian Curriculum, it is one of the St John’s Grammar values and it does stand to reason that students need to tap in to their creative sources. A brief consideration of Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted talk – one of the most viewed Ted talks ever – and you can see the importance of the construct.

One reason to include creativity in the curriculum is due to the fact that the way we access information has undergone a significant overhaul in the last 10 – 15 years. Smartphones and the internet have given us the ability to answer any question almost immediately. When everybody has access to information, then we effectively all possess whatever knowledge we seek – within reason. The way students interact with and process that knowledge is what will help them differentiate themselves from their contemporaries.

The Year 8 Creativity Week provides students with a chance to hone their creative skills. On Tuesday of this week we saw how successful businessman David Bowley employed unique marketing and production techniques to help his young, 5 year old winery compete in a highly traditional and contested domain. Father Steve demonstrated that the first ideas aren’t always the best and by employing the assistance of others, and persisting, we can achieve improved results. We also saw firsthand how Goalball has helped vision impaired athletes participate in an engaging and exciting sport.

The remainder of the week will allow students to develop publicity for local businesses at The Vines with Nigel Eaton, visit the Dark Heart Exposition at the Art Gallery of South Australia – with a chance to work with artists on our own creation after the visit, they will participate in the 5th annual Poetry Slam run by Head of English, Jonathan Scobie, and work with local artist Jane Smeets on defining their creative selves. Students will also have the chance to explore their culinary creativity at the Central Market, with our indigenous cuisine task designed by Mary Prentice.

All of these experiences have been designed to provide students with a creative spark they can draw from for the inaugural Ctrl+Alt+Design challenge for Year 8 students. Each student will be challenged to produce a project on the theme of Creativity, Innovation or Sustainability – and they will be assessed accordingly. The students will present to their peers in Week 2 of Term 3, with the best projects being selected for the Ctrl+Alt+Design presentation evening in Term 3. Students are encouraged to explore, research, ask questions, work with a mentor in order to find their information – representing a truly contemporary learning activity.

Watch this space – I’ve already heard about a number of exciting projects and the Ctrl+Alt+Design initiative will certainly become a showcase of the potential that resides in the St John’s Middle School.

Shawn Kasbergen
Head of Middle School