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Creativity in the Classroom

NEWS 7 May 2021

“Exploring creative passions is key to a holistic and well-rounded education. The academic rigour and ability to think analytically and critically is just as crucial in the Creative Industries.” — Haileybury Head of Creative Industries, Dr Karl Sebire

Exploring their creative side has always enabled students to shine. Now it is also helping them to succeed in work and in life.

Employers are increasingly seeking creative thinking and skills, which are useful for solving problems, organising tasks, having an open mind, and thinking outside the square.

Haileybury’s creative programs are extensive and engaging. As well as traditional Art, students can embrace the likes of School Plays, Music, Dance, Debating and Public Speaking.

After studying Art in Junior School, Year 8 students can choose a Designers Studio elective. Senior School offerings include:

  • Product Design and Technology
  • Visual Communication Design
  • Media
  • Studio Arts
  • Hospitality.

Students can also join a range of lunchtime clubs, excursions, exhibitions and shows.

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Celebrating Student Imagination

Head of Creative Industries Dr Karl Sebire says highlights so far this year include Sandwich Sessions, a Vocational Education and Training (VET) collaboration that saw student DJs inject life into the Altera Terra, while Hospitality students served sandwiches and juice to the School community.

“After a year where the studio spaces and workshops lay dormant while students moved online, it has been wonderful to see creativity being injected back into school life in ways that were somewhat lost while working online,” he says.

“The learning spaces encourage working collaboratively and on a range of shared projects, to accurately replicate the process for many creative industries once students enter the workplace.”

All campuses are rolling exhibition spaces, and one-off initiatives such as The Koala Project see students collaborate on art for a cause.

A range of koalas decorated by professional artists and students will be auctioned this year to raise money for the koala population impacted by Australia’s devastating bushfires.

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The Benefits of Creative Thinking

Dr Sebire says divergent thinking is an increasingly valued skill in the 21st-century workforce, as rote learning and systematic approaches are superseded by technology.

“It will be the most creative individuals who will be able to devise solutions to questions that haven’t even been asked yet,” he says.

“Whether a Haileybury student goes on to Medicine or Floristry, Engineering or Landscaping, the ability to take a blank page and turn it into a tangible concept will be an invaluable life skill.

“Just like History students don’t all become historians, or Maths students don’t become mathematicians, it is the way of approaching challenging tasks learned in the Creative Industries that will benefit every graduate as they leave school.”

Dr Sebire’s title is in itself a tale of inventive thinking, chosen to recognise his department’s close alignment with a growing range of vocational and tertiary pathways.

“There is a misconception that these subjects don’t make a positive contribution to a student’s (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) ATAR,” he says. “This is often attributed to misinformation on scaling.

“If a student excels due to it being their passion, Haileybury has the resources, staff, and capacity to guide students towards a study score commensurate with their efforts and skill.”

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Recognising Flexible Pathways

Director of Individual Student Programs and Head of LEAP (Senior School) Ms Rhonda Allen says university prerequisites are also increasingly fluid, recognising the importance of creative thinking.

“There’s not a set pathway for anybody now,” she says.

As well as being encouraged to explore inventive subjects, Haileybury students are urged to approach traditional subjects such as Mathematics and Science creatively.

“We’d see creativity as being embedded into the curriculum,” Ms Allen says. “It’s an important thing to bring to every subject.”

While nurturing ingenuity, creative subjects and activities enhance skills such as collaboration while working on a set design.

“All these project management skills are so important, whether you’re setting up your own business or in the workforce,” Ms Allen says.

“The creative subjects ask you to have an individual response and build confidence in exploring new ideas, which is a critical skill for students.”

Exploring Passions Reaps Rewards

Haileybury students are also encouraged to follow their passions by starting a political discussion group or pursuing a business idea through an entrepreneurship subject.

“To have it as a mindset throughout the whole curriculum is really important, to not feel that there’s only one way of going about things,” Ms Allen says.

All of this is embedding creativity into Haileybury’s culture and nurturing broad skillsets attractive to employers.

“You may be a Science student, but you may have done a creative play as well,” Ms Allen says. “It’s a real point of difference. It differentiates you from other students.”

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