One of the posts I wrote for my summer Teaching of English Practicum class was about how the lessons that teachers plan have been thought of and used at one point or another. The post is as follows:
“When I was planning lessons on my own and with Heidi, I find that most everything has been done and used before by many others. With the internet, we can find ESL lessons on every topic imaginable. As language learners and language teachers, we have seen and used many of the same lessons that (always) work well (alligator river anyone?). We have mixed and matched activities and thrown together lessons at the last minute. We have games and tricks that we turn to when we are out of ideas. So, where is the creativity and the innovation that people talk about? We have new ideas and concepts all the time and most of these ideas and concepts are based off of something that we have come across. The end product is always something different, and in a way, the same. This is where I tie in what we learned from Curriculum Design: we plan units, lessons plan themselves. Everyone is capable of being creative. When we think of ideas to put in a lesson, sometimes we realize that, wait, this is cool because I’ve never done this before, nor do I know anyone else who has! The truth is someone else somewhere else some time during or before may have already thought of and perhaps used the same idea. This does not mean that you are not creative or anything. Just take a look at history, hundreds of years ago in Ancient Greece and Africa and China , they were thousands of miles apart yet they all thought about the meaning of life, gods, good and evil, ideal society, the cosmos, and so on and so forth. Now we see that the ideas they came up with have many similarities (not going into it).
Curriculum and units and lessons are the same. Ideas have been floating around and probably have been used in one way or another. Even though people are completely different and can be on two ends of the world, our way(s) of thinking are similar (evolution hello!) I think as teachers, we have a limited amount of time and if we constantly come up with new things to do, our lives are over! So, we need to be smart and know how to adapt and change what is already there in order to use it for our own classes according to different contexts and teaching situations. I think this is where creativity and innovation come in: Combining different things, because the possibilities are limitless.”
I still stand by what I said: Creativity is about remixing and renewing ideas, and looking at things from different angles through different lenses.