Dylan Wiliam reviews the changing nature of literacy in our society and the importance of developing creative thinking skills in young people.
In the past we have emphasized what I call the 19th century skills. We have emphasised the skills that you needed to do in the world of work in the 19th century - basic numeracy and literacy, those things would be important. But the biggest difference in terms of moving into the 21st century is that the purpose of the school now is to prepare students for situations that we cannot envisage. The world that we are preparing students for - in the 19th as much as the 20th century was relatively stable. You would go; leave school; get a job and they would actually practise the same sort of skills over and over again. Although we didn’t do a wonderful job at it - at least we knew the kind of world we were preparing them for. We cannot imagine the kind of world that we are preparing our students for today - and that is what we have to do. We have to prepare students for situations which we cannot envisage; which we cannot prepare them for specifically and that is why creativity is so important.
Creativity and ownership is what makes students who - when they are stuck with something they have never seen before - actually choose to think rather than choose to remember. We need students who when faced with challenging situations, they have no idea what this problem is about, there are two responses: one is to say its too hard I am going to run away from the problem - and the other is to say what can I use? What do I know? How can I think my way through this problem? And increasingly the kinds of problems… the kind of challenges that our students are going to face are ones that we can’t imagine - and therefore we have to make sure that our student’s initial response to those challenging problems is how can I be creative here? How can I think my way around the problem? Is it a way of thinking about the problem that means there are different kind of solutions as possible? That’s why we have to encourage creativity in our students. It is the only way we can develop the problem-solving skills that work when you don’t know what it is specifically you have to do.
Carol McGuinness reflects on some of the assumptions and beliefs about creative thinking and outlines ways in which school can help to develop creativity in young people.
Explore Brian Boyd's views on creative thinking. He shares his thoughts on brainstorming, mind mapping and collaborative learning.
Watch Stephen Heppell reflect on how the internet is enabling children to use their imaginations in new and exciting ways and to share their work with others.
Ian Smith examines the way in which perceptions about creativity within the curriculum influences the nature of learning experiences for children, particularly in the secondary school setting.
Take a look at how this secondary school raises the aspirations and increases the confidence of girls. Various initiatives, including a fashion show, help to build confidence and foster creativity.
View the work carried out by this college to identify barriers to learning such as dyslexia, and address them through staff awareness and training, and by providing students with one-to-one support.
Watch Dylan Wiliam talk about the importance of young people being able to reflect on their learning and how teachers can utilise these insights.
Witness this primary school's journey to excellence as it develops its awareness of dyslexia and seeks to overcome spelling and reading difficulties with interactive lessons and physical activities.