I read a fair number of marketing books (for fun, you know?) and one idea that showed up in all of them is this – don’t try to invent something from nothing. Go with something at least quazi-familiar or rebrand an existing idea… in other words, don’t try to invent “Innovative Arts”.
It seems that I should be doing a clever take on technology class or taking ‘STEM’ as my starting point. Everything would be faster and easier if I’d done this. And it would work too.
But I just can’t. STEM and Technology classes are both trying to bring content to a student. Innovative Arts is teaching the student about themselves. That shift is fundamental. It is giving the time and space to learn about one’s own creative style and potential. It’s about autonomy and self-reflection. It’s about the student having full control and ownership over their own story and understanding of the world.
STEM and Technology classes are important, but Innovative Arts brings a whole new approach to all new subject matter – the student themselves.
We have the means to differentiate a class in such a way that students can choose their own direction. We can then make creativity and autonomy a lesson topic and even, intentionally, bring them to our other class work.
I see so many easier paths that would work… but I have to stick true to my ‘why’ – I started Innovative Arts when my boys were in kindergarten. Next year, they’re in my 5th grade class. The vision is there and the first steps are coming into focus. If I can keep ahead of them, by the time they come into 8th grade, I will have a resource (this site) that could help anyone bring Innovative Arts to many more settings. That has to be the focus – there’ll be time later for whatever comes next.
And I have to trust that by building an unwise-new-thing, a fraction of other educators will see the value in what I have done. Not just a rebranded STEM class.