This report is the second in the Creativity Matters series, a LEGO Foundation publication on the importance of creativity in education systems. The interviews bring together policymakers with first-hand experience of working within government on the reform in question, to offer their diverse reflections, insights, and learnings.
We hope that in some small way – as an advocacy tool, resource or in stimulating debate – this report supports and enables much of the amazing work that is already being done in education systems across the world. We also hope that it inspires others to build, and share, their own creativity reform stories.
– John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation
Key Lessons From the Report
- Learning through play is a creative activity. Learning through play enables creativity skills to develop and is a solution to the creativity crisis.
- A learning through play approach is often implicit in the resources and the activities developed by teachers. These examples show a range of ways that teachers incorporated a learning through play approach into the classroom to promote creativity.
- Advocacy to engage and empower stakeholders can help create the political space for education reform to enhance creativity skills.
- Civil society and partner organisations can and should hold a leadership role in this space, helping ensure the sustainability of reform efforts and accountability towards commitments made.
- Governments can’t do this alone.
System change can only be achieved through partnership, and partnerships are a key factor of successful and sustainable reforms.
- This can include partnerships with a range of ministries and from external sectors such as the arts, creative and business sectors, and civil society. These partners can help to co-design new approaches, embed creativity skills in the education system, and demonstrate the role of creativity in society.
- Governments can’t do this alone.
- There is a challenge with a lack of a shared understanding of the term ‘creativity’ which is a barrier to educators fully exploring, discussing and planning for its development in schools.
- In these examples, governments took practical steps to develop a common language and shared understanding of creativity to enable a clear and consistent approach. They needed to commit time and resources to ensure there was buy-in from the range of stakeholders involved – including teachers, ministers and civil servants.
- Organisations such as the OECD can provide the technical support, mandate and systemic focus needed to orient reform.
- International organisations can provide high-level buy-in, reform strategy and process towards delivery, accountability and technical assistance to deliver the reforms needed, even through changes in leadership.
- Teachers are a critical stakeholder of any education reform. It is important to dedicate sufficient time and quality resources to build teachers’ expertise and buy-in around reform.
- Professional development is needed across the teaching spectrum, for example to build an understanding of key concepts, and to ensure teachers are equipped to develop new lessons and to conduct qualitative assessments. Schools will be at different stages of implementation, and will require
different levels and types of support.
- Providing a clear curriculum where creative skill development is explicitly incorporated, is essential to support teachers to plan, teach, monitor and assess the learning achievements of students. It also enables students to understand the required knowledge and skills that they are working towards.
- These examples highlight that education systems often provide a clear curriculum framework from which schools and teachers have flexibility to be innovative and creative in the way they implement the curriculum and design lessons.
- Education reform is often in response to country and global analysis that shows that creativity is one of the top skills needed by employers, particularly as nations look towards the needs of the 21st-century labour market. Governments can draw insights from business and civil society to learn more about these needs and to support their reform efforts.
- Creativity is equally important for children’s well-being, to help them to be inspired, to understand the meaning of learning outside exams, and for a prosperous future.
- A whole-school approach can raise quality and standards across the entire school and enable sustainable change.
- A whole-school approach is cohesive, collective and collaborative action in and by a school community that has been strategically constructed to improve student learning, behaviour and well-being, and the conditions that support these.
- Assessment is an important step to ensure that creativity skills are recognised, articulated and valued and as an important tool to promote learning and to support any education reform. Assessment should be pupil focused and include a range of assessment tools that practitioners are trained to use. Education systems should use a range of formative and qualitative assessments and these should be linked to entrance into higher education pathway requirements, such as university or vocational training.
- It is important to recognise that the impact of any reform to enhance creativity skills is likely to be a long-term task. Assessing too early, assessing the wrong types of criteria or developing the wrong measures and indicators are likely to result in negative results.