Ronan Swift is a teacher and a musician. He is also well known for his unusual choice of shoes! In this More Stress Less Success guest post Ronan recalls a particular question posed to him some years ago at the end of a lesson and uses his shoes as a platform for a provocative discussion on imagination, inspiration and creativity in the teaching profession.
“Sir, we were just wondering (giggles); why do your shoes (more giggles)…look like Cornish pasties?” Much giggling.
This little enquiry was a genuine end of class interaction some years ago now and the reason I’ve included it in my post is because it started me on a train of thought that has led me to writing this post. Today, I’d like to talk to you about shoes.
Well, no what I really want to talk about is not strictly speaking shoes but has more to do with imagination, inspiration and creativity.
When a country decides what to include in the courses it makes for its children’s education it has to include all the building blocks of knowledge that are the basics upon which further learning can blossom. Every school system needs to both provide its young people with fundamental knowledge and equip them with certain skills so they can perform various tasks and so they can do their own learning. On this we all agree. It’s too easy to give out and say that our education system places far too much emphasis on learning facts and stats and not enough on cultivating imagination and creativity. That’s not really what I want to do.
I just would like you to be a bit more aware of the importance of creativity and imagination in making the world a better place and for you to be aware of the potential to be creative that you, that we all have. For me creativity begins with a sort of openness, with allowing thoughts, words or phrases, ideas to enter your mind, to wash over you and to allow your thoughts to roam, to make connections and links that may lead to a spark of something new and different. Certainly you can’t shut yourself off and be ‘closed’.