Insights for the creative educator


Creative thinking involves both hemispheres of the brain, sometimes alternating, at other times, in synchrony. Ideas hop, skip, and dance a tango often culminating in creative resonance, where great insights explode into consciousness.

The creative brain views peril as a situation bearing promise; risk as a proposition concealing reward, and setbacks as stimulus for success. The best ideas are a multiplicity of ideas, constantly interacting in a ballet of balance, counterbalance, and feedback loops.

 Issues that are of high interest intrinsically arouse creative individuals, who are governed and guided more by inner stimulus than by outer demand. The impulse to create comes not from external order, but via internal compulsion. Not preoccupied with the pursuit of happiness, she knows happiness from immersion in creative activities. Never unduly influenced or enslaved by established knowledge, the creative individual appreciates that creativity will always be the natural enemy of dogma and conformity. One of the most powerful ways of stimulating creativity is via the process of visualisation. Internal imagery, whether clear or murky, frequently contains the kernel of a new, original idea.

There are enormous psychic differences between people who live creative lives and people who are commanded to be creative by institutional mandate. The creative personality relishes periods of privacy, but is seldom withdrawn, isolated or uncommunicative. Creativity is impelled by imagination; for ideas to spark into existence, imagination must never be reined in, or else it will shrink and shrivel. No matter what emerges, ideas need to become tangible reality. Creative evolution involves transformational learning. This requires identification, acquisition, and application of intellectual effort, so that it is converted into intellectual capital. Only then can organisations — including education institutions — and people within, reach their goals.

To augment the chances of your ideas being accepted, you have to be especially sensitive to the political matrix in your institution. Yet, it is never easy to extinguish the human spirit, especially one propelled by an innate sense of innovation. In a cosmos of infinite variation and continuous creation, we have natural conditions for human ingenuity to flourish. Creativity and innovation emerge from a sense of purpose. Curiosity and diversity inspire experimentation and adaptation, whereas meaning and significance determine purpose. This is what inspires creativity.

Creative individuals are not set back by setbacks. When they fall, they make sure it’s on their backs, knowing that if they look up, they can get up. In truth, they believe that nothing succeeds like failure!

Systems, organisations, communities, societies, nations, are all a collection of elements which host invisible group creative intelligence. Purposeful focus can harvest this intelligence. The output is a force that glistens with innovation.

Principals, is every teacher of your school actively involved in classroom innovation? Or are they merely following rules and discharging traditional roles?

Thousands of teachers walk into work every day, yet many of them are sleepwalking. How many of them have become passive teachers dispensing obsolete paradigms? We live in exponential times. Innovators don’t follow best practices; they lead with different, revolutionary initiatives! They are aware that pedagogy and content are shrinking, and thus have incorporated innovation into their consciousness. They extract wealth from minds, not mines!

Today, “business as usual” means “business as unusual”. Real time has become ‘unreal time’. Are you operating on the leading edge or on the bleeding edge? What is your cost of confusion and the value of clarity? Clarity is not certainty. Clarity comes from a level of awareness that allows us to manage ourselves; certainty often comes from blind belief. You can have certainty from clarity, but not always clarity from certainty, which often means buying into the illusion of guarantees and controls offered by management administrivia. Lack of clarity leads to an abundance of confusion!

Is this institutionally affordable?

(Dilip Mukerjea is a Singapore-based strategic learning specialist)