Creativity and Innovation

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Nourishing Creativity and Innovation

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If you are a teacher, does your program or school nourish creativity and innovation? If so, how does this happen? Does your state ABE system nourish these? If so, how? How do you nourish creativity and innovation in your work and in the work of your colleagues?

Below is a list of possible sources – and examples – of creativity and innovation in adult literacy education. What other sources and examples are you aware of? Please describe them or add in a link to them below.

Sources of and Opportunities for Inspiration and Creativity

  • Literary, visual and performing arts integrated in the classroom and as special (voluntary) classes and projects
  • Need to decorate classroom walls decorate
  • Content standards and curriculum development Fabric of History
  • Individual teacher development plans
  • Movies and books about inspiring teaching Books_and_Films_which_Inspire_Teachers
  • Students’ perspectives: learning about new cultures, hearing new voices from student writings
  • New tools, for example new electronic technology: computers and LCDs, electronic whiteboards, digital video cameras, alphasmart keyboards and other technologies in the classroom
  • Opportunities for dialogue with colleagues (such as through electronic discussion lists)
  • Retreats, for example writers’ retreats for teachers and/or for students The ALRI Annual Retreat Need I Say More Retreats
  • Writing an article for a teacher newsletter or journal
  • Funding for Professional Development Projects Connections journal
  • Action research/teacher research as professional development
  • Support from administrators for creative approaches and for nourishing of teacher curiosity
  • ”Delivery” of adult literacy education in a different setting, for example at a workplace, in a homeless shelter, in a jail, at a distance
  • Teaching a new (and culturally different) group of students
  • Teaching a different content area
  • Structured opportunities to pursue curriculum or program design/re-design such as summer workshops or short “sabbaticals”
  • Presenting at an adult education conference
  • New tools, for example new electronic technology Cristina Costa
  • Making videos of your classroom teaching
  • Found Materials grocery store inserts, flyers, magazines, bills, and announcements along with various products that students bring in because they wonder about what the labels say and mean.
  • Looking creatively at learning styles. In a September 11, 2007 message to the Workplace Literacy Discussion List, Victoria Lichty wrote "There are two books that I like to use as inspiration.... "Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain"...and "How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci". While not expressly involved with learning styles, they point the way for all of us to utilize our brain more efficiently and perhaps that is what learning styles is ultimately pointing towards." Dan Paul posted a follow-up message recommending “Brain Gym” information on Educational Kinesiology. Mev Miller suggested her article in Field Notes - Teaching with Mind, Heart & Spirit that she said includes some simple, specific suggestions. She also recommended Field Notes - Teaching from the Heart Vol. 16, No. 3 (Summer 2007) These posts will be found at and and

Sources of Innovation

  • New tools, for example new electronic technology Cristina Costa
  • Program or system-wide teacher retreats The ALRI Annual Retreat
  • Youth, ambition
  • Funding for innovative projects
  • Visits from Expert teachers who talk about what they do Jane Mace
  • Dedicated time for reflection and for building new program designs
  • Reflection on performance data, especially on the failure to achieve student or program goals
  • Reflection on program problems and how they could be solved
  • “Interdisciplinary” dialogue among teachers
  • Professional development: new approaches, models
  • Close observation and reflection of teaching – use of video in the classroom for “microteaching”
  • New research findings
  • New leadership
  • A new decision-making model
  • Program evaluation
  • Observing short videos of innovative teaching teaching videos

I have created a web project for online e-portfolio to replace paper based portfolio that UK learners use for key skills. It is only a small part of the portfolio but it shows a great achievement on my part [1]

What stimulates innovation?

What discourages teacher creativity?

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