One of the many privileges I have in my life is the opportunity to work with amazing people on radical ideas. I have great thinkers and practitioners that I get to work with daily in our kura. Another great group is the trustees for Ako Ōtautahi – Learning City Christchurch. I am not a trustee, but I was invited to bring a secondary school perspective and voice to their mahi. Recently I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon working alongside them as they stepped back to consider their longer term strategy and goals. Leading the work was facilitator Sean, and the question (in my head, anyway) was what is a learning city, what does it look, sound, feel like, and how do we get there? What are the Trust’s next steps?

During the course of discussion of one trustee’s ideas, Sean used a phrase that has stuck in my head. He talked about the ‘point of curiosity’. He did not mean point as in ‘purpose’, but rather point as in time. The phrase and the idea have sat in my head since then. Just sat. Lurking! Loitering! The word came up as something as a possible synonym for learning, or at least a metaphor, or possible a precondition for learning, something that might support the journey of Ōtautahi towards being that learning city.

Then yesterday I had the opportunity to unpack the data for our kura and our kāhui ako from the Creative Schools Index. The index uses 11 dimensions that the development team have established can contribute to a creative environment in schools. One of the 11 dimensions is ….. CURIOSITY!!!

Our own data shows that, as a secondary school, we possibly maintain levels of curiosity better than the average secondary school. A big question (THE BIG question?) is why. I’ve recorded some thinking around that here. Maybe we have found ways to identify that ‘point of curiosity’, much as good teachers can identify what we call ‘teachable moments?

An even bigger question is, what happens if you nurture, support, and sustain curiosity across an entire city? An even bigger question in my head is, what happens if we are deliberate and intentional about nurturing the 11 dimensions of the Creative Schools Index across a city?

The CAST team research indicates that nurturing and growing creativity in schools supports wellbeing and academic outcomes. Could it do the equivalent across a city?

  • How do you identify ‘points of curiosity’ in a city context?
  • Is a better focus for that the idea that we deliberately and intentionally create ‘points of curiosity’ across a city?
  • Is this a way of addressing inequity in the ways in which we create those points of curiosity in different parts of a city that target those most likely to suffer from. those inequities?
  • What could that look like?
  • Who does it?
  • How do they do that?

Who needs to step up and provide leadership in this mahi?  I think I may have just tried to ‘boil the ocean’.

Written by Robin Sutton