I had a great time giving this morning’s keynote at the annual Montessori teacher’s conference (NAMTA). They invited me to talk about how to foster creativity and collaboration in high school classrooms.
In my keynote, I gave an overview of the core lessons from my creativity research, combined with my learning sciences research:
- Creative learning is active
- Creative learning is collaborative
- Creative learning engages with projects in real-world contexts
- Creative learning is artfully guided and structured by the teacher and the designed learning environment
Then, I gave some practical advice for how to make this happen by overcoming challenges faced when you try to do this in any school environment. I provided a few case studies of learning environments that are doing creative education very well (like the San Francisco Exploratorium).
One of the things I always associate with Montessori is the distinctive custom-designed manipulatives, most of them created by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. So I had fun browsing the vendor displays, where you can buy famous things like the pink tower (it’s at the left).
My message resonated loud and clear with the audience of Montessori educators. Many of them came up to my afterwards and said “You really helped me understand better what we need to do when we use Montessori methods to teach adolescents.” My latest book, Zig Zag, sold well at the book signing after my talk. I hope the creativity techniques in the book will give teachers ideas for how to help their students be more creative!
One thought on “Montessori, Collaboration, and Creativity”
Your Creative Learning maps incredibly well with my notion / definition of what I call Effective Learning. Of course, I’m not surprised by this because to be effective, learning has to be creative; said another way, creative learning will be effective.
FYI, I typically pair Effective Learning with Effective Problem Solving – for a couple of reasons. For one, the skills associated with both are reinforcing for each other and easily joined for development. Also, EPS typically includes the need for EL while EL provides the resources that make meaningful EPS possible.