Have we forgotten something?

My last post finished with the realisation that, despite the expectations of the education and business worlds, children are not seeing that creativity is an important life skill. This notion has stayed with me over the past few months and bothered me somewhat.

Our children are fed through a compulsory education system that is regularly and publicly critiqued by Government and media and more privately by staff and parents. Standards, achievement and global comparisons keep the media busy which, in turn, continue to fuel expectations. And I do wonder if these are purely adult expectations? There is nothing wrong with that; as a parent I would hope my son experiences the education that enables him to be himself fully at any point in his life.

However, what do the children think? After all, they are the ones going through the system so what does it feel like? How are they responding?

The Cambridge Primary Review Trust report (Robinson, 2014, p21) states the dearth of research in this area and is maybe an indicator that we have possibly forgotten the views of the chief protagonists in the whole education game – the children. An online search that I performed generated observational types of research findings but very little from the children themselves. (I am happy to be directed otherwise if anyone knows of other sources!) I wonder if we as researchers are happiest as armchair watchers of the match, rather than active participants with the players? Robinson’s report (ibid p3) highlights the profound United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) requirement for us to get onto the pitch and listen to those playing the game.

United v ShrimpsThe whole report is, I feel, an inspiring read, and in it, we glimpse children’s comment regarding creative characteristics and those subjects traditionally deemed creative (Craft, 2011, p19). They like being challenged, being expected to find answers themselves and to be pro-active learners. They also noted that subjects such as music, drama, history and art were seen to teach them a lot but are given insufficient time in schools (Robinson, 2014, p7-8)

Jo Goode, a local headteacher, is no stranger to the pitch. She wrote recently on her school’s Facebook page about a Forest School session. She has also noticed that school should not being a place happening ‘to’ children, but somewhere they can watch and then opt in; a place of safety where they can make choices. Her account is an encouraging one (Grasmere School, 2018).

UNCRC Article 12 expects us to take a child’s views of all matters that affect them into consideration, giving due weight to their age and maturity (cited in Robinson, 2014, p3). The paucity of the research may indeed not be an indicator that we are not listening to children but I wonder what influence that actually publishing these voices would have alongside the research of our observational colleagues?

An Ofsted report (2010) suggests that creative approaches have the effect of raising achievement. Would bringing forward children’s perspectives on the benefits of a creative space give us a more robust picture of the characteristics of an excellent learning game? As a parent, child or teacher we would all then know if a classroom had a match worth turning up for 😉

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References:

Craft, A. (2011) Creativity and education futures: learning in a digital age. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books Ltd

Goode, J. (2018) Grasmere School [Facebook] 12th February. Available at: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1805535492829896&id=906121239437997 (Accessed: 16th Feb 2018).

Ofsted (2010) Learning: creative approaches that raise standards. Available at: http://www.creativitycultureeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/learning-creative-approaches-that-raise-standards-250.pdf (Accessed: 16th Feb 2018).

Robinson, C. (2014) Children, their Voices and their Experiences of School: what
does the evidence tell us? York: Cambridge Primary Review Trust.

 

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