Dr. Michael Anderson (Literacy, Mathematics, and Creativity)

Michael Anderson is an education professor at the University of Sydney. His research interests are creativity, technology, the arts, especially theatre and film. He referred to this website to supplement his speech. He is the second keynote speaker at the IB Asia Pacific Annual Conference 2015 here in Macau.

Creativity should be the center of schooling and sit besides literacy and numeracy. It is urgent in the rapidly changing global economy for our students to be creative. Why?

#1. How suseptible are jobs to computerization? Of the 702 occupations studied, half are at risk. What jobs will be available for our students?

#2 Students that engage in the arts as active participants enjoy school more, have higher self esteem, are happier, and have higher achievement in schools. Dr. Anderson’s research is here.

#3 Challenges that will face the next generations of humanity – world events like climate change, food/fresh water security, clash of cultures

There is a misunderstanding of what is creativity. It is trial and error, improvisation, playful exchange of ideas among students and teachers. Dr. Anderson used the metaphor of a waterfall cascade to teach creativity.

The first pool in the cascade is noticing. Dr. Anderson used this Diane Arbus – image to get us to look critically at a photograph. The second is asking why and then asking really why?

Dr. Anderson pointed to the life of Elon Musk, a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci. He invented pay pal, tesla electric car, etc. Only 15 of the 1000 people in the room knew who he was. He is the paragon of asking why. “Why is it hard to pay for things on the internet?”

Playing with possibilities – improvisation, trial and error,

Evaluating Responses – not all feedback is good feedback; usefulness of the response; seek feedback from someone who understands the project; discerning responses to the creative process and project

Things you can do at your school

1. Do a creativity audit – Is creativity happening in the classrooms?

2. Work with all stakeholders to put creativity front and center –

3. Use the research on creativity

Dr. Anderson was featured in the December 2014 issue of IB Global News.

High Quality Learning in Fine Arts that lead to students having critical, creative skills —>

  • Teachers engaged students in both mind and body. (compose, sculpt, film, play)
  • Resilience perseverance – failure happens all the time and is accepted
  • critical reflection
  • great discipline (rigorous, controlled, exacting form in the specific arts)

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