Principals Australia Institute (PAI) played host for the visit of Dr Ron Beghetto, an international expert on creativity in educational settings. He is Professor of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.
The Institute hosted two workshops for principals in Adelaide and a session with PAI staff before he went to Hobart for the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) annual conference. Ron is presenting two workshops, ‘An unshakeable sense of possibility thinking: How to lead for, and with creativity’.
His research focuses on creativity in educational settings. He examines how teacher and student creativity can be sometimes (inadvertently) suppressed and how to incorporate it every day in the classroom. Ron has extensive experience in providing professional learning for teachers and instructional leaders to assist them develop new and transformative possibilities for classroom teaching, learning, and assessment across the school years and higher education settings.
Over the past decade, he has served as an outside evaluator and research consultant on more than a dozen educational and STEM-related research and evaluation projects.
In one of his workshops Ron emphasised that teachers can support and encourage different levels of creativity in the classroom. ‘The power of enjoyment of learning is an end in itself and an outcome of educational leadership.’ He believes that schools need to look at levels of creativity which he defines as a combination of originality and the requirement to meet task constraints. Teachers demonstrate creativity when they assist students to generate different ways to solve problems and initiate new forms of reasoning or ‘unstoppable thinking’.
In an interview at PAI, Ron highlighted the significance of creativity as an element of wellbeing for students, teachers and school leaders. He advocates for the development of creative expression as a value in itself. He spoke about his research and work on creativity and leadership in schools. ‘Principals play a critical role in supporting creativity in schools and they assist teachers to create spaces for this to happen. They have the opportunity to scale creativity. I think principals can demonstrate creativity through taking sensible risks and in the unexpected, unscripted moments. Principals, in a state of genuine doubt, demonstrate the micro-moments of everyday leadership.’
For Ron, the work of instructional leaders is about reclaiming and nurturing creativity and providing the circumstances for students to attain goals for healthy living and wellbeing.
Watch the video in which Ron discusses instructional leadership for creativity, recorded at PAI on 15 September 2015.
To read more about Ron and latest publications, see his website.