Creative teachers, creative students

Today was a hugely happy day for me. Two delightful things happened, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. I’ll talk about the morning one in this post.

This morning, four teachers and I spoke at a seminar organized by my Department The theme of the seminar was promoting collaborative eLearning in the primary English curriculum through Web 2.0 activities. The four teachers are Ms Peggy Yau, Ms Bess Wong, Ms Clare Wong, and Ms Janet Law. I opened the seminar with an introduction to Web 2.0 tools. This was followed by experience sharing by the four teachers. Prior to the seminar, I had the chance to preview their PPTs, but didn’t have the time to organize a mock presentation for them. So when my introductory talk was over, I listened to their sharing attentively. This turned out to be a highly rewarding experience.

First, their presentations were showcases of teacher creativity. The technologies, such as wikis, online journals, podcasting, etc., are there, but there are no definite models as to how they should be applied in teaching. The four teachers created and designed their Web-based activities from scratch. The only thing they could rely on was their own imagination and creative power.

Second, the work produced by their students was superb examples of learner creativity. We often complain that students in Hong Kong lack imagination, but the activities designed by the four teachers show that when given the right opportunity, students’ creative ability is fathomless. Those Web-based activities were a stark contrast to the routine accuracy-focused tasks and exercises we mete out to students day in and day out. It is time we asked ourselves whether it was we teachers, and the education system, that were stifling students’ creative potential.

When I was leaving the university after the seminar, this question kept lingering in my mind: Is there any correlation between teacher creativity and learner creativity?  At least from the four sample projects, that is obviously the case. When you see a creative teacher, you will see creative students.

A related question is whether there is any correlation between teachers’ effort and students’ effort. Again, from the four sample projects, the answer is obvious.

For me, listening to the sharing by these creative teachers is a highly energizing experience.

(I’m indebted to those who fought the ghastly rainstorm to come to the seminar. Their support made everything worthwhile.)

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