Creativity-in-Action: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Karen Lai

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Around eighty students from 25 secondary schools found a new form of expression through video art, collage, photography and computer animation in the “Creativity-in-Action” project organized by CityU's School of Creative Media between February 2004 and May 2006.

The “Creativity-in-Action: Teaching to learn, Learning to teach” project, funded by CityU’s Education Development Office, was launched in February 2004 with an aim to provide students in the School with the opportunity to enhance their learning experience by running creative workshops with young people, acquire basic skills in the creative medium and encourage self-expression through creative means.

The workshop proposals were initiated by students in the School and finalized with advice from faculty in the School and participating secondary schools. The eight-week-long workshops (held three times so far), devised and delivered by students from the School, focused on photography, digital video making, film editing, scriptwriting and animation.

The “Creativity-in-Action” workshops are the most direct and effective way for students from the School to put what they have learned into practice. “It's a great chance for our students to understand the nature and practice of art education, and to appreciate its value,” said Ms Linda Lai Chiu-han, an assistant professor in the School and an academic adviser on the project.

“During their years with CityU, our students acquire techniques in and knowledge about a broad spectrum of creative art. By taking up a teaching role in the project, students can verify, transform and multiply what they have learned. It is exciting to see the two-way interaction between our creative media students and their juniors. It is both stimulating and rewarding.”

Hong Kong children usually have too little exposure to the creative arts, according to Catherine Tai Hiu-kwan, a Year 3 student in the School. She tutors a group of junior form students in Tseung Kwan O Government Secondary School. “By showing participants some of the best examples of different forms of video making, we hope these kids will build up greater interest in video art,” she said.

The experience of tutoring junior form students has been an invaluable experience in terms of devising a curriculum and lecturing. “The most challenging task is to apply what we have learned at CityU to a real-life environment,” Catherine added.

During the workshop, students from the Tseung Kwan O school produced a short video featuring an informal inter-class quiz on Chinese History, displaying formidable techniques in video making. Catherine said she encouraged her students to develop story ideas from their everyday life and experience the unique narrative power of the media on their own.

“It’s an eye-opening experience for our students,” said Ms Janice Lee Kwan-yee, an art teacher from The Methodist Lee Wai Lee College, a long-term patron of the project.

“Nowadays art is an integral part of education. The “Creativity-in-Action” project is different from formal learning and is a new platform for young people to have hands-on experience in video recording and using video editing and computer animation software.”

Few students joining the workshop had any skills in digital video or computer visual creation beforehand and they said they enjoyed the workshops as an artistic recess from formal learning, which helped them generate new ways of thinking and integrate knowledge from different subjects.

Examples of the students' work included a thriller about campus life by St Joan of Arc Secondary School; animation and video by St Paul's Co-Educational College, a collage presentation by the Fanling Lutheran Secondary School; photography and collage by Tseung Kwan O Secondary School, Lee Wai Lee College and Wah Yan College, Kowloon.

Participating students attended a screening and certificate presentation ceremony on 8 July. The School is planning to expand the number of participating schools with an aim to further broaden students' interest in video and creative art.


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