I was inspired by the smart, sensitive and, yes, creative presenters at our second Creativity Conference here at Southern Oregon University. Last year I listed what I had learned. This year I will list what stirred me to action.
- Art, its disciplines and the mini-skills necessary for its practice, can inform learning in any field even with difficult (college students) or sad (refugee children) people. I learned from the Jessica Hunter-Larsen and Dez Stone Menedez from Colorado College that the discipline of seeing necessary to art can be transferred to other areas. Physics was an example. I will be using this idea when I introduce graphs of functions and also the unit circle in precalculus. Another thing I learned was that techniques used in teaching art can help break the barriers typical college students have to risk taking and owning their own learning.
- The classroom is for thinking – the higher level the better. This I learned from Dr. Weiping Hu. I have always said that I liked test days because I knew the students were thinking about math. Dr. Hu’s presentation has inspired me to have more active, higher level thinking exercises in my classes.
- The practice and joy of doing art improves learning and much more. I was inspired by the Chula Vista elementary school district that committed fifteen million dollars to arts education to enrich the experiences of its students any of whom are traumatized by the fear of and the actuality of deportation of their parents, relatives and friends. This was presented by Ivonne Chand O’Neal and Harun Tadik.
- Through the tangle of creativity measures, three simplifications stood out. Dr. Dean Simonton’s idea the creativity equals novelty times utility times surprise. Michelle Neumayer’s prerequisites of safety, connection and learning. And Dr. Jonathan Feinstein’s focus on creative guiding principles. The first I will use as we develop ways to measure creativity. The second I will use as a lens into my and others’ teaching practices. And the third I will use as I engage with creative endeavors and products.
- There was so much more. My notebook is full of light bulbs – ideas to pursue and “TD,s” – things to do – look up references, change class exercises, and more.
Thanks to everyone involved for such stimulating ideas and such grace.