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Quantitative Literacy – How Creative Is Your Teaching?

Creative Teaching… Does it frequently involve artwork? Does it involve drama? Does it involve music? Does it involve some practical activity? Or does it involve making choices about a tech tool to use? Problem-solving? Open-ended tasks? Self-directed learning? Collaboration? Peer feedback? So when it comes to Quantitative Literacy – How Creative Is Your Teaching?

I can be creative – I have spent many hours following a knitting or cross-stitch pattern. I have followed dressmaking patterns. I can follow a piece of music when playing my guitar or singing. But I think that is a different sort of creativity to the creativity I use in class.

Perhaps creativity means using “creative skills”. Perhaps it means using “thinking skills”. Perhaps both have their place. Perhaps there is a place for following a creative pattern – after all, it can be quite relaxing to follow someone else’s instructions. And perhaps there is a place for creative thinking skills too – where we use those skills to express our thinking. And perhaps there is a whole host of other skills that are creative – perhaps it’s not what we do but how we engage our brain in the process and take “ownership”.

I was reminded this week that there is something called “divergent thinking.” Perhaps as educators, it’s the divergent thinking we need to be encouraging. Perhaps as educators, we should be looking to a “divergent thinking” curriculum rather than just putting a label on a curriculum and calling it creative to fit in with the current fashions. Perhaps we need to consider carefully what type of creativity our curriculum encourages.

Reading and Writing

A summary of research on reading and writing concluded that “reading and writing to be understood and appreciated fully, should be view together, learned together, and used together.” Tierney and Shanahan further stated that special relationships exist between early reading early writing and are quoted below:

Beginning reading offers writing opportunities, while early writing stimulates language awareness and development. Early writing aids reading and promotes invention while reading exploration stimulates meaningful literacy activities.

Jane Hansen (1999) also observed various ways that writing benefits reading.

  • Children become determined to “make a story make sense.”
  • As writers read, they use the insights that they learned as writers. They wonder about the decisions the authors of what they read made in their writing. They wonder what information authors may have left out and how authors decided what order to put their information in.
  • As writers, they write the kinds of things people want to read. They develop a sense of audience important to a writer.
  • As writers, they learn how print is put together. “They write reading.”
These two related processes are intertwined in such a unique way that some say that writing is reading turned inside out. The writer hears his or her own voice. The reader hears the voice of another. Reading and writing are fused together in the experiences of children and adults of all ages. Together they form a lifelong adventure in literate activity.