Unlock their imaginations

28th March 2003 at 00:00
Stung by the charge that children do not have time to be creative anymore, ministers back new pack to stimulate the left side of the brain. Helen Ward reports

EVERY teacher will be offered a pack of Government-approved lesson ideas to help make their pupils more creative.

Ministers are keen to prove that they want to promote imaginative thinking and originality across the curriculum in response to teachers' accusations that they are obsessed with test results in literacy and numeracy.

The new creativity packs have been trialled in 1,000 schools. Margaret Talboys, director of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's creativity in the curriculum project, which devised them, said: "We've started at a very practical level because a lot of teachers feel particularly daunted by creativity. We had teachers who said they couldn't see any creativity in their subject, by the end of it they had changed their mind."

The three-year project was set up in response to the "All our Futures" report from the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education which called for changes in the national curriculum to ensure enough time for arts and humanities.

One of the report's recommendations was to give teachers access to better materials and training.

The QCA's evaluation of the trial found that the biggest obstacle to carrying out the project's ideas was teachers' lack of time.

Ms Talboys said:"All the teachers in the trial worked within their existing planning. They identified particular activities where there were opportunities for questioning skills or working with others.

"Creativity leads to what people describe as deep learning, one child referred to her experience when she questioned something and changed the course of the scientific investigation in that lesson."

The project ends this year. A leaflet will be sent to all primaries and secondaries, explaining the project and how to order a pack.

There will be also be a guide to boosting creativity on the National Curriculum in Action website with subject-based case studies.

Ms Talboys said: "We want people to contribute. We've got this far but we want to engage in debate about it and move forward."

STIMULATING SUGGESTIONS

In ICT:

Set up an experiment with pupils controlling a virtual robot for a Year 1 lesson.

In GEOGRAPHY:

Ask Year 5 or 6 pupils to come up with a long list of river words, such as "delta", as a class before working in pairs to make cards that show drawings of the features. Then use the cards to play a game of "river snap".

Next, work in groups to illustrate the stages of a river's course through dance. Let pupils choose their own music and props.

Finally, let the whole class work on a big book for the infant classes, producing pictures, maps, diagrams and songs.

In RE:

In a lesson on Christian worship get Year 5 children to draw and record their thoughts on the incense, music and icons of the Orthodox church model set up in their classroom.

In ART:

Ask pupils to use wire to "draw" a three-dimensional object in a Year 8 sculpture lesson.

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