Why is there a need for AMoS?

Creativity as a beacon for the future

There has been increasing commentary recently about the slowing of the Australian economy as a result of the diminished demand for our primary resources: the boom is slowing and coming to an end, we’re told. What will we do then? How will our society continue to function in its present form?

It has been suggested that the creative economy [1] is a potential means by which we can maintain our economic wellbeing. And the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on his recent ascension to power, called for an Australia that is agile, innovative and creative in order to meet the challenges ahead.

There is an oft-quoted claim that 65% of children entering grade school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t been invented yet[2] [3]. Whether that figure is 65% or some other number, it is certain that the world is changing and along with it, workplaces, jobs and ultimately workers.

It is already difficult to predict with any certainty which skills will be important for jobs in the future. Or even what jobs our children will be called upon to perform. However, there is a growing consensus that creativity will be more important than ever, and there is an ever-expanding body of research that explores the concept of creativity and how to develop it.

Here is an amusing talk about how to foster creativity, presented by John Cleese. It’s worth watching.

So just how do we prepare children for a time when being creative will be their key marker of success?

The main role of education is to prepare children for the future. However, in the past, that task used to be simpler; we knew the contours of the world children would be entering, and there were well-defined career paths they could choose from. This is no longer the case. Jobs that have not yet been thought of will be part of the job market in the future.

It’s obvious from all the research, that what we need to do is to give children the tools they need in order to adapt and to think creatively.

However, it has been argued that what the current system of public education educates actually does, is drive the creativity out of children. Sir Ken Robinson, a British educator, has presented a number of entertaining talks on the way children are currently educated. Again, they are worth watching.

While we do not advocate the wholesale abandonment of public school curricula, what we do know from teachers is that in the existing curriculum, with its focus on testing and assessment, there is often little time to encourage creative endeavour.

We also know that it is beneficial for students to be exposed to high quality creative arts programs that can help nurture creativity. Robyn Ewing, professor of teacher education and the arts at the University of Sydney in her paper, The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential[4], documents many benefits such programs can bring, such as:

  • Increased engagement and active involvement in learning
  • Acceptance of a range of different perspectives and meanings
  • Challenging of stereotypes and assumptions
  • Increased creativity and flexibility
  • A tolerance of ambiguity
  • Increased self-reflection
  • Improved ability to collaborate
  • Increased willingness to work at overcoming difficulties or challenges
  • A willingness to apply learning in one subject area to other contexts

That’s why we have developed a program of creative writing workshops for Perth children.

A Maze of Story is an attempt to introduce a small group of children in need — children who would otherwise not be exposed to such stimuli — to the concept of creativity.

Furthermore, we believe that the children who participate in the A Maze of Story program will then realise they can continue to be creative long after the workshop is over, and this will give them the confidence to explore other ideas and develop capacities they haven’t previously conceived of.

[1]   https://theconversation.com/the-creative-economy-could-fuel-australias-next-boom-19108 [Last retrieved 19th October, 2015]

[2]   http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/project-classroom-transforming-our-schools-for-the-future/244182/ [Last retrieved 19th October, 2015]

[3]   https://medium.com/making-diy-org/preparing-our-kids-for-jobs-that-don-t-exist-yet-de6331afdb41 [Last retrieved 19th October, 2015]

[4]   Ewing, Robyn, “The Arts and Australian education: Realising potential” (2011). http://research.acer.edu.au/aer/11