Would teachers benefit from Creative Direction with their lessons?

Published by Chris Ogilvie-Taylor, CEO of Marsden Grant on 17 March 2014

I’ve worked in two industries in my career. Advertising and now education. At first sight you might think that they have little in common but there are parallels to be drawn and they make for an interesting and thought-provoking discussion. Advertising agencies employ creative teams working in pairs; art and copy. These teams are briefed by account men (if you’ve viewed the series Mad Men you’ll have the picture) and are well remunerated to come up with ideas for campaigns for the products and services of the agencies’ clients. In the larger, multi-national agencies these creative teams, if they are good, live a charmed life. Long lunches, compulsory multi-media consumption and flexi-hours. At the top of the creative tree is the Creative Director (CD) and here’s where I think the parallel starts to work. The CD’s main responsibility is to oversee all the agency’s creative output and ensure that creative standards are kept high. And to work with teams when an idea that they present to the CD is good but not brilliant. Brilliance in an idea is the holy grail for agencies who need their campaigns to achieve “stand out” from the ad clutter that we are all subjected to daily. So the CD tries to sprinkle a little magic stardust onto an idea and turn it from regular to outstanding.

And this is where I see a huge benefit to teachers everywhere. Teachers are paid because they know their subject(s) and because they have been trained to convey that subject to an audience of pupils. But generally speaking creativity in lesson delivery is not part of teacher training. Educational technology with worldwide software resources has given teachers limitless possibilities for presenting their lessons but they are having to act as creative team and CD all in one person. They are their own arbiter of style, taste, content and creativity. How much better/livelier/more engaging could their lessons be if they had a CD to review their work and add that special stardust to it? With today’s pupils being master communicators in texts, Whatsapp, Facebook and with many editing their own mini short films and posting on You Tube, teachers have to work so much harder to catch and maintain their interest and attention with their lessons and the skills and creative talents of a CD would overcome those hurdles. PowerPoint slides are no longer good enough. Part of the creative solutions is to use the considerable multi-media materials available with interactive hardware, games-style quizzes and evolving facts into digital challenges. Digital native pupils want visuals; a picture and a moving image being worth a zillion words. The remainder of the solutions that edu CDs bring is covered by the all-important creative stardust.

Here at Marsden Grant, we have already started down the CD route for teachers by assembling a team of edu creative consultants who can work with schools that we provide with their edutech to add creative value to their teachers’ lessons. So if you’re working in a school where you think this extra layer creative direction approach to lessons would be helpful, why not make contact and find out more. If you’re an edu consultant with the necessary skills to join our edu creative team of CDs, let me know.

Creative Direction in advertising has prevented some real turkeys and launched many memorable and long-lasting campaigns that are more popular than the programmes they interrupt! Creative Direction in education supported by digital interactive resources will serve educators equally as well and teachers and pupils alike will reap the many benefits.



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Creativity makes the difference!