Have you ever seen Blue Man Group perform? If not, here is a ten-minute video that showcases the group’s unique, creative talent: Blue Man Group – part 01. In their own way, the members of the Blue Man Group reflect the essence of the Landfill Harmonic project. For example, at the heart of Blue Man Group’s act are musical instruments made from things that were not originally designed to make music. Similar to the Landfill Harmonic accomplishments, Blue Man Group’s creativity is not just applied to making music, but to making the instruments that make the music.
Something you might not know about the Blue Man Group is that the members have created a school specifically designed to encourage and cultivate the creative spirit in children. Called “Blue School,” this educational environment applies the principles described by Ken Robinson (and others) to the design and operation of a school. This short three-minute video provides an overview of the school and its mission: The blue school.
Blue School actively supports the learning of 21st-century skills. When carefully examining the instructional experiences that help students learn and apply 21st-century skills, you might realize that culturally relevant pedagogy is often a natural byproduct of such approaches. This discussion is designed to provide you with further practice in analyzing learning situations to better understand how culturally relevant pedagogy, learning 21st-century skills, and creativity naturally form a triangle of support:
As you discovered while viewing the video on Blue School, there are schools that encourage culturally relevant pedagogy, creativity, and innovation. The background information you gained through learning about Blue School leads you to the focus of this Discussion and another prime example of a school doing some amazing things.
Initial Post: High Tech High is a secondary school committed to facilitating 21st-century skills. Examine the 21st Century skills culture video that provides an overview of High Tech High and its commitment to facilitating 21st-century skills. As you carefully examine the information presented about the school, consider how its courses and programs naturally support a culturally relevant approach to instruction that promotes creativity. After viewing the video, answer the following questions about the school:
- In what way is culturally relevant pedagogy evident at the school? Link specific observations from the video with one or more of the following specific characteristic of a culturally relevant environment:
- Maximizing academic success through relevant instructional experiences.
- Addressing cultural competence through reinforcing students’ cultural integrity.
- Involving students in the construction of knowledge.
- Building on students’ interests and linguistic resources.
- Tapping home and community resources.
- Understanding students’ cultural knowledge.
- Using interactive and constructivist teaching strategies.
- Examining the curriculum from multiple perspectives.
- Promoting critical consciousness through opportunities to challenge predominant elements of the students’ social norms.
- Do the same for creativity instead of cultural relevance. In what way is creativity evident at the school? Link specific observations from the video with one or more of the following specific characteristic of instruction that supports the development of creativity:
- Encouraging students to believe in their culture-influenced creative potential.
- Nurturing the confidence to try.
- Helping learners find their creative strengths.
- Promoting experiment and inquiry and a willingness to make mistakes.
- Encouraging generative thought, free from immediate criticism.
- Encouraging the expression of personal ideas and feelings.
- Conveying an understanding of phases in creative work and the need for time.
- Developing an awareness of the roles of intuition and aesthetic processes.
- Encouraging students to play with ideas and conjecture about possibilities.
- Facilitating critical evaluation of ideas.
- Summarize the relationship between 21st-century skills, culturally relevant instruction, and creativity.