My experience with the creative process is quite personal. I started to experience it when I was getting my master’s degree in Arts and Learning from Endicott College. It was during those courses in the various art forms that I was able to take the time to work through projects, persevere through mistakes and rough patches and come out with something that was satisfying, yet not quite finished. (Nothing ever really is.)
When given the opportunity to experience the creative process, I was learning so much and because I was cognitive of my journey, it made all the more sense to apply these newly discovered ideals to my teaching.
The creative process isn’t something that happens every so often and only with art, it happens all the time and with everything. Writing is a creative process, working is a creative process, constructing is a creative process, learning is a creative process. When I cook, I often go through the creative process. Whether following a recipe or trying to create a meal from what is in the kitchen I am working through stages of planning, exploring, refining, and sharing. And all the while, I am learning: discovering what flavors work with what, what temperatures cook the best for which foods and how to best present the food on the plate.
The same is true in the classroom. The creative process is everywhere in schools, the trick is allowing yourself and your students to recognize it in their writing, their working and their completing of projects. It is also important to allow students to purposefully go through the creative process with certain specific tasks which can be anything including art projects and group work. When they go through this process, they are learning so much at two different levels.
One level is the academic. Students are deepening their knowledge of the content whether that be in art, science, math or language. When my students work on their science illustrations to show the meanings and differences among the three states of matter, they are working on artistic skills (media, design, color) and science content (states of matter, molecular structure).
The other level of learning is that which builds character. We learn how to plan, how to revise, how to persevere, how to work with others, how to work independently, how to communicate, and how to present our ideas. With the same science assignment, students are planning out their illustrations, learning how to best communicate the concepts of the states of matter, learning how to budget their time and space as well as work through problems that may arise throughout the process of completing the product in an attractive manner.
The creative process is a very powerful tool that can be utilized by teachers to help students understand the importance of learning and working hard. And by bringing these ideas to the students’ attention, they will get even more out of their experiences.