The majority of people would always like to think outside the box. In some way that is their way to be innovative or progressive. Generally, there is nothing against this way of thinking, yet often it is ending nowhere hence to the incapability of thinking inside the box. This might sound a little arrogant but that is not the intention. I just want to pin out the fact, that it is time to start thinking inside-the-box, to set the base to do the outside-the-box thinking. Why are all the solutions always to be found outside the box? Have we actually covered the ground inside it? People hat want to think outside the box obviously have covered all their options inside the box and are convinced that hey will find, whatever they are looking for outside of it. Or is this just a way to gain more time to look for something that is not yet in their vicinity? Why is no one saying that she/he is thinking next to the box. Maybe because that is to close to the inside and hence, not enough time available to do the proper thinking, that is needed to find the solution necessary. Maybe it is another way to say that one takes a step back, or actually outside of a ongoing thought process, to come back again after and having refreshed their thoughts…
Maybe that’s it…
Christoph, you write: “Why are all the solutions always to be found outside the box? Have we actually covered the ground inside it!?”
For me, your use of the word ‘box’, here, represents my own creativity, which can be a scary thing to open. It takes a reflective teacher and trained observer to identify the significance of taking the road less travelled. Everyone is creative, but not everyone knows how to ‘let themselves’ be! (Julia Cameron). Creative recovery is one of the practices I use to help me dig deeper, i.e., be reflective and nurturing.
One of the tools I practice is ‘morning pages’, (before) I plan my lessons, which often times can morph into new curricula choices. I find that my thinking process is ‘recursive’, which is evident in my pre-writing when I can simply stop what I’m doing, in the moment, pick up a pen and write, whatever comes to mind. My morning pages, like my pre-writing often leads me to pre-planning lessons. ALSO I find that it makes me less resistant to going with “the flow” (Bhatkin), and changing curricula directions, in real time, while I’m interacting with wonderfully unpredictable students. They each bring with them their own ‘boxes’ and “unconscious-absorbant minds” (Montessori). Their ‘surprise-awareness responses’, within our classroom, come from their own unique life experiences and the sacred details of their lives, from the time they wake up*, to the moment they enter our classroom community. This “response-based learning” approach helps to inform my curricular choices, if allow it.
*(Sometimes before they wake-up, if they remember their dreams).
I find that the more time I devote to interiority or my own creative recovery, the more open I am, socially and mentally. ALSO the more open they tend to be! This level of ‘organic’, ’quantum’ or psychological teaching; what I call “creative pedagogy” grows from within my creative recovery practices. How can I help my students find what’s inside their “unconscious absorbant intelligence”, if I’m not looking or don’t know how to look inside of my own box!? The more time I spend on ‘covering the ground’ within my own hidden creativity, the more seed growth I see on my own forest floor.
But how do I share this with students!? The more I look inside my own ‘creativity container’ the less vulnerable I feel and the more creative I think. Also the more I am able to accept the differences within my own thinking, the more I am able to accept the differences within my student’s thinking. They told Mark Twain he’d never amount to much. He had a few words to say about it. Great minds don’t always think alike. A reflective and nurturing teacher is aware of this.
On a deeper level, life is radically about love. Although I try to not be wedded to the outcome of what I try, unless my theory is linked to practice, I fail to bring my ‘creative pedagogy’ to life. As I finger the thinking patterns created by my uniquely profound teaching experiences, my hope is to integrate what I call “creative constructivism” theory with classroom practice. Like the Maria character does, in the film, The Sound of Music – (Interior, the Von Trapp home. Maria, the new governess arrives and is confronted by the children’s father, the captain):
“The children will be drilled in their regular studies!” the captain demands.
“Excuse me, captain,” Maria interrupts.
“I will not have them dream away their vacation!” the captain continues like a runaway train.
“When do the children play!?” Maria asks with a pleasant look of confidence.
Maria begins to construct creative pedagogy. The captain represents linear logic and traditional left-brain patterning with discipline based thinking and a lock-step approach. Maria represents a social-emotional, multi-dimensional, right-brain voice with innovative, creative based thinking. The captain uses forced instruction to make the children comply with his agenda, and a whistle to organize them into an efficient, high performance team. The after effect: behavior management problems, which are eventually radically solved by Maria’s intuitive nurturing. The captain creates intimidation. In contrast, Maria invites the children to play with her and gets to know them, first. She calls them out by name and asks them essential questions to learn how they think, how they feel and what their interests are!? She asks them to tell her their names, age and something about themselves. She directs with intimacy:
“I’m Liesal, I’m sixteen and I DON’T NEED A GOVERNESS!” she demands.
“Well Liesel, we’ll just be good friends,” Maria confidently replies, with a smile in her voice.
Maria uses positive “I” statements to redirect and model good social skills. She practices what I call, “creative pedagogy”. Not only does she show me how rules without authentic relationships (with students) can cause rebellion, but also I see that ‘I can’ learn new skills, i.e. how to plan a lesson before planning by simply doing the recovery work inside my own box, so I am mindful enough ‘to try’ changing curricular directions, co-created with students. By paying attention to the contributions students make to my understanding of curricular choices and to each other as we ‘meaning-make’ and build learning together, I can trust the inner voice of a student’s internal social talk to help construct conversations together within their ‘creativity containers’. How to meet students where they are at, motivate them to open their own boxes and still enjoy teaching!? By practicing my own creative recovery I can nurture mindfulness and vulnerability, which can be key to inclusive leadership.