Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Do templates kill creativity?



I am no fan of templates - I would much rather encourage the children to create from scratch - in much the same way I would much prefer to provide home-made food cooked from scratch than prefabricated food...

BUT, instead of thinking as an adult about children's creativity and what they need from my adult view - I decided to go back to my own childhood, to root around in my own memories and how templates influenced my creativity - are templates the opposite of creativity?

to read the complete and edited/updated version of this post
please go to my new website
https://www.interactionimagination.com/single-post/2018/12/21/Do-templates-kill-creativity

13 comments:

  1. So funny, this is my view and has been for a long time, we not long ago wrote a blog on the same thing. If templates are a problem, it is not in the template, but rather in the delivery from the directing adult. Children aren't born knowing how to create and templates can give them a creative springboard, and confidence to extend and enhance their creativity. Thank you for you blog, I really enjoyed reading it.
    Bec

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    1. glad you enjoyed the post... and there is always that balance between templates being a scaffold for creativity and stifling creativty... it is all down to delivery, and knowing your children.

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  2. Finally, someone else who will openly admit to loving colouring in! I still do, only now I colour in reproductions from old decoupage books to decorate furniture, as well as colouring in books such as The Human Brain Colouring Book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Human-Brain-Colouring-Coloring-Concepts/dp/0064603067 to help learn anatomy.

    There is nothing wrong with templates!

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  3. I always thought, maybe it was our old time when colouring books were seen as fun ways of extending children's fine motor skills. I have used templates to extend children's knowledge on the topics that they were showing interest, such as Dinosaurs and for Christmas decorations. Some times it becomes difficult to fool our smart pre-schoolers that few lines they have drawn looks like a Christmas tree. They want to learn to draw properly to bring perfection in their work. In such case templates serve that purpose(!?) While saying this I also think we should provide other provocations to support children's imagination and logical thinking rather, providing them simple techniques. They may become lazy to use their own creativity.

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    1. yes I agree, as long as the template is scaffolding the children's creativity and not taing over it, so the children become dependant on them, then I think templates can have their use...

      I tend not to use them, but only when I see the need for them.

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  4. I know this is an old post, but I just had to leave a comment- I love your view on this, especially the question about whether "creativity is being stifled by casting out the child into the great world of creation without enough skills"...I often wonder about this very thing!

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    1. I keep sharing this post every once in a while, so in a way it is never old ;-)

      I think equipping children with the skills they need to BE creative is essential.

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  5. I am another adult who loved coloring books and finds them soothing, helping my mind to wander off creatively. They make experimentation easy to try out. Now I am a drama teacher who makes costumes for my students. If I could only make costumes by drafting my own patterns, it never would have happened. Instead, I let the patternmakers supply me with endless opportunities to make dressup clothing. And quilters? Much of the joy is seeing what happens when you change the colors or otherwise make variations on the templates. Thoughtful discussion which is one of Reggio's greatest contributions to the field of learning.

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    1. Yes, if the templates are guides then they can offer a great deal of excitement... it becomes the creation of more than one person's thinking... it is always essential to support children in their creative development to dare to make changes, to enhance, to deviate ...

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  6. I am always hesitant to be so black and white in my thinking. I feel if you think purposefully about what templates you use for the children, there is a place for them in scaffolding the children's learning. I too spent many happy hours 'colouring in; developing both my fine motor skills and my imagination. Some colouring books offered a return to known and loved places, others inspired me to develop my drawing skills. I have always been guided by what the children show me, and they have shown me that they are an enjoyable and engaging tool that the children can use to develop focus, collaboration, relationships with others, and gain 'new knowledge'. As we all know, learning happens for children through a myriad of different experiences, and templates can play their part in this, as their completion reflects the uniqueness of each child.

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  7. Colouring in is definitely therapeutic without doubt, just look at the amount of colouring books targeting adults in our shops today! As for educational value, I believe anything which allows ‘me time’ for children is good for the mind, good for the soul and good for the confidence. Like other comments, I believe 'sheets' should be used sparingly and when they scaffold an educational content agenda. Many of my children used to flee to the colouring pages during Golden Time (remember that) and while away time, it was lovely to watch.

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  8. I can totally agree with this in my setting we have a wide variety of resources on our mark making trolley including colouring in sheets I know as a child the sight of a blank sheet of paper was both boring and scary The blank paper almost made my thoughts blank as my brain rushed with a million ideas of things I’d like to draw but didn’t know where to start, pencil control was not developed enough to draw recognisable pictures I hated hearing my mum say “that’s beautiful” I remember thinking “mum im three that’s a page of scribble” I’d write tons of pretend writing just because she would pretend she could read it and told me the most original stories but a colouring book gave me confidence to develop pencil control, shading and blending colours and tracing it’s all hand and eye development and I think many practitioners are throwing the baby out with the bath water by banning colouring pictures and templates altogether

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