I was talking to a really amazing brain today (well all right, it was in the form of a wonderful academic who is seriously overworked but let’s not get into details) and it showed me something I hadn’t seen before. It was about how people think. She spoke about how creativity and ability to think outside the usual context are linked. She also spoke about a whole range of other things I’m not going to pretend to understand. I did say the brain was amazing.
Anyway, what does this have to do with anything? It has to do with why we teach. We teach for all sorts of reasons and purposes. As my father always says, people go to work for all sorts of reasons and it’s very rarely about the work. What this means is I’m asking the wrong question. I need to start asking why academics should want to teach and how can I support that to happen? I shouldn’t be thinking about why they come to work. That shouldn’t shape what I do. I need to think creatively about context and how that varies from academic to academic and how I shape their context to achieve organisational outcomes.
The brain also said you can teach people to think creatively. It’s about pushing the brain into the creative space and out of the comfort zone. It’s about driving home a different way. My job is to work out how to entice the brains I work with into a different zone. Any ideas?