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Creative teachers spark students' awe for science

2 December 2015
Schools innovate with creativity in the classroom

A unique teaching model designed by the University of Sydney and the Opera House is unlocking classroom creativity and reaping results across the curriculum. 

Creative kids are the key to our future.

Using creativity in the classroom can accelerate student enthusiasm and learning, suggests an innovative teaching program. Image: iStock

Four Sydney schools have shown creativity can be taught during an innovative pilot program devised by the University of Sydney and Sydney Opera House.

The Creative Leadership in Learning Initiative builds on growing international evidence base, which forecasts society’s biggest problems will need citizens who can think and act creatively to solve them.

“Programs like these are just the first step. What we need is sustained and substantial research funding from philanthropists and government, to make creativity central to schools and the innovative economies and communities of the future,” said Professor Michael Anderson, its lead co-creator.

Lurnea High is one of the schools that participated in the ten-week pilot program. Located in Sydney’s West, Lurnea High has students from over 30 different language backgrounds.

Attendance has seen a major improvement and the students are far more engaged in science than they were previously.
Lurnea High teacher Catherine Myers

In one exercise, Year 8 students at Lurnea High formed and re-formed in different groups to simulate the flow of blood through a human heart and in another they arranged their chairs throughout the classroom to help each another rank forces in physics.

Lurnea High teacher Catherine Myers said the pilot program has had visible effects in the classroom.

“Students have become more confident in getting involved in the activities and, as a result, are having much more fun with their approach. Attendance has seen a major improvement and the students are far more engaged in science than they were previously,” said Myers.

Professor Anderson and staff from the Sydney Opera House and Catholic Education Office teamed up with Lurnea High, nearby Lurnea Public, Casula Public and Kirrawee High in south Sydney to design tailored primary and secondary teaching models across all subjects.

The Sydney Opera House funded the 10-week pilot program.

“We’re very excited about the Creative Leadership in Learning Initiative and its potential to inspire innovation and imagination in the next generation,” said Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron.

“This program, developed in partnership with the University of Sydney, embeds what the Opera House does best into teaching and learning at schools far beyond the building. It is really at the cutting edge of cultivating creativity.”

Luke O'Neill

Media and Public Relations Adviser (Humanities and Social Sciences)