Saturday, January 22, 2011


"The artist is accustomed to working in the open spaces of creativity, ambiguity, uncertainty, opinion, and personal story.  Woven into this relationship with the discipline is a sense of play.  Play may be a key to understanding how people learn and how artistry and scientific thinking are linked. [...] The playfulness of artistry can be absorbing, exuberant, intense, and transcendent.  It can provide temporary perfection and sanctuary of mind that is a refuge from the mundane banalities of ordinary existence. Playing often involves rules, but it also includes freedom, imagination, risk unanticipated outcomes, and the possibility for  participants to become deeply immersed in the activity."

From Mark A. Graham's article "How the Teaching Artist Can Change the Dynamics of Teaching and Learning."  Teaching Artist Journal 7.2 (2009): 89.


  1. I think this quote is almost a perfect description of how mathematicians think. My favorite part is that playing often involves rules -- people often think of creativity as some really random process, but it's really not. Hmmmm...I think there's another blog post in there somewhere! ;)

  2. The "rules" that come from play are really the ability to think about what we observe that is so interesting to keep us playing. The rules are how we organize thoughts about our observations and reflections about our play. These are usually generalizations developed through individual experience directed by social regulation.

    Beyond the personal limits (rules) we place on ourselves, each other, is the individual capacity and sensitivity to how we make sense to the greater universal harmonies of the apparent randomness of life experiences. It is disciplined thinking of the artist that allows deeper and more expanded capacity towards universal understanding.

    Thinking is a nature part of infant learning as it builds the brain. The more we can stimulate the brain to think, the greater accessibility to mind which opens the realm of creativity. This is why the activities you are doing with children is so important. You are teaching them to think.


Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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