In this episode, we build on our previous conversation about fostering curiosity in our students by focusing on the role of math teachers in encouraging students to be curious and creative in math class. With full awareness that we are teaching and influencing students who will leave our classrooms and schools to go contribute to the world, and that we are preparing our students for jobs that don't exist now, we acknowledge how important it is to attend to a culture of curiosity and creativity in math classrooms. We talk about the importance of fostering intrinsic motivation so that a passion for learning follows them into their lives beyond school.
We wrestle with the challenge of wanting to provide structure and efficiencies in ways that can sometimes unknowingly stifle students' creative freedoms. We acknowledge that in our desire to make learning meaningful and impactful, we can inadvertently provide too much structure or control, stealing students' "lightbulb" moments in their learning journey. We know that no teacher creates classroom practices that detract from learning, and that there are appropriate times and situations where more structure and more directed learning is the best way for students to learn. But we also challenge that a teacher should always be the sole source of knowledge and learning in the classroom. We also recognize that teachers' tendency to control the classroom is based in a feeling of responsibility for students' learning. We suggest that fostering creativity and curiosity allows students to take more responsibility for their own learning, which can be freeing for us as educators.
We wrap up by sharing some practical ideas for fostering curiosity and creativity. We know that this will look different in every classroom and would love for you, our listener, to share how you do this in your setting!
Additional resources to explore:
· Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk Do Schools Kills Creativity? https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_do_schools_kill_creativity?language=en
· Daniel Pink’s Drive – Book: https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805; RSA Animation summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
· Peter Liljedahl’s Building a Thinking Classroom in Mathematics – https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/building-thinking-classrooms-in-mathematics-grades-k-12/book268862
· Creativity by asking questions: https://www.creativityatwork.com/teaching-for-creativity-asking-questions/ (100 questions activity)
· Ways to develop creativity in our students: https://www.edutopia.org/article/4-ways-develop-creativity-students
· NCTM article - Graphing Portfolios in Calculus: Reinforcing Concepts and Inviting Creativity: https://pubs.nctm.org/view/journals/mt/98/6/article-p404.xml?tab_body=pdf (Members only access)
Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy.