A step above the restKathyann Lorka, Vice-president, Board of EducationWebster’s defines it as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships…and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc….”
The “it” is creativity! And we should remind ourselves of and take pride in how central and unique creativity is among East Aurora teachers.
It’s creativity that turns hum-drum into happening, boring into believing! I myself firmly believe that it is creative teaching methods that ultimately make the difference. How so? Simply because of the time-honored axiom that in order to educate people, you first have to get them genuinely interested.
Our teachers here in East Aurora do so much in the classroom, beyond the obvious, beyond the mandatory. Their creative ideas make a huge difference in the quality and high level of learning. Our district’s teachers cover the essential material, of course, but they do so in special and innovative ways.
In just one case, for example, I recall an English Language Arts class project, where 5th graders learned about keeping journals. But not merely by being shown some books and then given an accompanying series of lectures. Instead, the teacher tapped into her creative side, engaging the youngsters by having them produce their own journals – science field journals!
They developed ideas for the book’s content, and even created artwork for the cover – lending a kind of real-world, multidisciplinary flavor to the assignment. Again, the teacher took what is typically a potentially “dry” or routine project – you know, the usual lecture/book report routine – and infused it with rich layers of creativity. The kids loved it. Who would have thought!
What this focus on creativity in the East Aurora School District’s teaching approach and philosophy adds up to is a sense that the kids are being involved, not merely lectured to. That’s why kids love learning in East Aurora.
There’s another dimension to all of this, as well. Let’s face it: not every child is going to excel in sports or other activities that tend to “garner the spotlight,” so to speak. But when teachers exercise creativity to make learning truly enjoyable, meaningful, and relevant, it gives students a chance to show their talents in the classroom.
Our teachers bring that out in the kids throughout the entire academic year. This is part of what makes a well-rounded child. They may find their niche not on a football field, swimming pool or gymnasium – or in front of a microphone on stage – but through the classroom. Through learning experiences that leverage the awesome capability of a creative spark to fire-up students’ imaginations and potential.
This is why I sit on the school board – for the kids. At the end of the day, I’m there for the students. And, as we embrace the joys and challenges of a new school year – staying upbeat, even in the face of certain adversity – it will continue to be rewarding to witness how the creative flair and dedication of the faculty in the East Aurora School District apply directly to the academic success and personal motivation of all of our many fine students.