There is a quote I love that is part of a poem by A.W.E. O’Shaughnessy:
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams...
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.
Over the past week at Danebank, we have been privileged to observe and enjoy music makers and dreamers of dreams.
At the Year 12 Showcase last Friday and the Year 12 Individual Drama Performance evening on Monday, our students amazed and impressed us with dramatic performances, musical performances and evidence of exceptional compositions, as well as intriguing and exciting projects in design and technology, and textiles and design.
At the Showcase, we were privileged to see art works that were dreams made real. However, creativity was evident not only in art works, music and technological wonders, but also in the culinary pursuits of the Year 11 Hospitality students. Creativity and imagination were evident across so many different media and fields of endeavour.
During Book Week this week, we have had the opportunity to hear from poet Eileen Chong, who encouraged our girls to enjoy poetry by reading it out loud. She said that, like song lyrics, the pleasure of hearing the words will change the effect they have on a person.
Throughout Book Week our girls have shown their creativity and we have also seen the impact of reading on their imaginations. They have been encouraged to see the power of reading to take them to new and previously unknown places and situations.
The benefits of creativity and imagination has long been seen as significant. As O’Shaughnessy says, the music makers and dreamers of dreams are also those who are the movers and shakers of the world.
Why is this the case? I believe it is because it is through imagination and creative thought that we are able to see possibilities, to see different ways to approach a challenge, and different ways to find a solution both on our own and in the company of others.
Some of the benefits of creativity and imagination in learning are:
- Students can observe and celebrate the breadth of human expression: creative writing, poetry, sculpture, ceramics, creation of 3D models, creation of culinary wonders, painting, singing, music making and so many more forms of expression of the creative spirit.
- Our girls’ minds are expanded and challenged through the creative process. According to Lev Vygotsky, creative expression allows students to internalise and increase understanding of the world around them. Creativity and imagination are an intrinsic part of a growth mindset.
- Through these many forms of creative expression, students can find their “voice”. Girls can find it easier to express deep understanding through creative expression. This may be through art, music or drama. However, it is often even more evident in creative writing and poetry writing.
- Other cultures and the expression of those cultures can expand girl’s understandings of the world in which they live. We should keep in mind that creative expression can occur in conversation. As children and young people engage in conversation about challenging areas of their world, their communication skills build and they explore other viewpoints.
- Emotions can be expressed and explored: sometimes words are not enough to express the powerful emotions that form part of the growing years for girls.
- We learn to be brave: when our girls present evidence of their creativity in a public space, they inevitably learn the value of critical feedback which will be both positive and negative. What a wonderful lesson to learn both in accepting praise and in being resilient and learning from critical feedback.
- As our girls are exposed to and learn from different approaches to creativity they also learn to view life experiences and beauty from a variety of perspectives.
- Perhaps most importantly, our girls learn that making dreams and imagination tangible is a process and in the grand scheme of things the process will probably be more important than the product. This can be hard to accept for our growing learners.
- Creativity can be an individual activity, however, exploring the world with one’s imagination in top gear will usually involve interaction with others; talking through different perspectives, engaging in group drama, music making or culinary pursuits assists both social and emotional development. It is often through creative expression that girls can work through difficult emotional experiences in a safe way.
At Danebank we celebrate the fact that we are preparing our girls to be the movers and shakers of the world because:
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.