Experts discuss importance of creativity at coaching and teaching panel

A panel of Millfield experts and national and international coaches came together to discuss developments in creating a successful learning environment in a variety of disciplines, including academics, sport, art, music and business, in front of an audience of 200 pupils and staff.

In the first of a series of talks about the ‘Value of Sport in Education’ series, Millfield Headmaster Gavin Horgan joined Director of Sport, Dr Scott Drawer and Director of Music, Matthew Cook, as well as former GB rugby player and current head of coach and player development at Ireland Rugby, Joe Lydon, and current GB men’s hockey coach Danny Kerry, who also led the GB women’s team to success at the 2016 summer Olympics.

The panel discussed how to teach creativity, encouraging their pupils to remain ‘uncomfortably excited’ and how constantly challenging the individual can lead to success in many different disciplines.

An overriding theme for coaches and teachers was the ability to stay focused on the outcomes of your learner, and to support them to achieve what they want to achieve. The panel concluded that great learners generate higher probabilities of success, as they have to overcome challenges, are open to risk and have failed multiple times to reach a goal.

Headmaster Gavin Horgan proposed the importance of working at multiple levels at the same time, and suggested the advantage of seeing any discipline from all angles and developing critical thinking skills. He also stressed the importance of play in schools, and how happiness can encourage creativity in academics.

In music, Matthew Cook discussed the ways in which a ‘creative’ subject can actually hinder creativity and how the department is pushing pupils to think beyond traditional compositions. Matthew also explored the ways in which the department is inspiring creativity, by encouraging pupils to overcome the necessary barriers that come with composition, to truly understand the creative process.

With regards to sport, Danny Kerry and Joe Lydon discussed how athletes need to be comfortable enough to be creative, and how coaches must encourage players to think for themselves. They also talked about the ways in which limiting a player’s environment and creating challenges for athletes on and off the field can develop resilience and winning behaviours.