EDS 111 Module 3C: Creative versus Interesting

As a sucker for Buzzfeed and internet facts lists, idling before for hours on end (and probably procrastinating), I have come across an article on the 4 general traits of interesting people (“Four Characteristics Interesting People Have” by Steve Bloom), and it immediately reminded me Danah Henriksen and Punya Mishra’s list of the five guideposts for teaching creativity, and somehow I have found a huge deal of similarity and parallels. It has made me reflect whether interesting is synonymous to creative, and the other way around.

According to Bloom’s list the four general characteristics of interesting people are:
1. a risk taker
2. curious
3. opinionated
4. has presence

and in Henriksen and Mishra’s list of what makes creative teachers are:
1. connects their interests in their practice
2. imparts real- world learning
3. has a creative mind-set
4. collaborates
5. takes risks (Henriksen and Mishra, 2013).

Putting these side bsy side will undoubtedly yield parallel results. For one, risk taking, according to Bloom, makes for stories that will have historical value in the future because they were the type of people who were headstrong on making a big move for the sake of experience, and then knowledge. This was the same lack of fear of mistakes Henriksen and Mishra was looking for in teachers to become creative and inventive. Curiosity takes you out of passivism, and in taking charge of discovering interests; with these interests, you will be able to share something with your class. While idea collaboration and risk taking may have something to contribute to being an opinionated individual, Bloom said if you are offering no opinions and or afraid of forming new ones, then that is not worthy of interest. Confidence is something that we can borrow from all of guidelines from Henriksen and Mishra, as strong and creative pedagogy requires presence to deliver in front of students.

This comparison begs us to think that if being creative and interesting are indeed similar, then does that mean that interesting individuals automatically make creative, and effective teachers? Perhaps, but as the TPACK framework suggests, it takes a union of different kinds of elements– pedagogy, content knowledge and technology to fully assist learning (Koehler and Mishra, 2009). To the layperson, this means that not everybody who is good in the arts, who is interesting, who takes risks and who is confident makes for a creative, and effective teacher. I have personally seen teachers abroad with zero teaching experience and nay any form of training go straight to occupying a teaching post in SE Asia. Foreigners are revered this way and are seen perhaps as more competent by virtue of their accents and bright skin color, and most of them, due to the privilege of language, brave the teaching waters, armed only with “a tad bit of teaching creativity sense”, and this is where we mess up becuase of our definitions. Sure, some of these intersting individuals proved to be “naturals”, but there are some whose practice still requires formal training and education of pedagogy.

Perhaps it takes a certain teacher sensibility and mindset to become a teacher, formal training or none, to be able to creatively execute a fun and engaging lesson. Making sure that proper learning occurs can be accomplished by at least trying to subscribe to the lists above, and strive to be both an interesting person AND a creative teacher.
Bloom, S. (2011). Four Characteristics interesting people have.Retrieved from http://dosomethingcool.net/4-characteristics-interesting-people/

Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2013). Learning from creative teachers. Educational
Leadership, 70(5). Available at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Learning-from-Creative-Teachers.aspx.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/articles/v9i1general1.pdf

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