Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bruce Hammonds - Advocate for Creative Education

I have known Bruce for a large part of my life. He was passionate about education when I first met him and 45 or more years later he is still passionate about education. Having retired from a primary school principal position he is still actively promoting the cause of the creative teacher being at the forefront of creative education. You can check out his education rants and raves at and his web site at

Wayne: What part has creativity / creating played in your life?
Bruce: I believe that we all develop through and by our experiences - each experience relating to the past and building towards the future . Continual re-invention of ones sense of self - developing multiple plots to ones own life. The idea of being alert to creative possibilities makes life interesting - like being a perpetual two year old driven by curiosity and a need to make meaning of life's experiences. The more ways of interpreting and expressing what is experienced the more fulfilled a person is.
I think most of my creativity goes on between my ears and not enough realized in action. And I seem to have limited myself to one major passion - creative teaching - developing a personalized education system that enables all children to develop positive sense of who they are with all their gifts end talents identified and amplified.
I think my creativity has been a mixed blessing as it has always left me dissatisfied with the way things are - I always think there must be a better way. All too often it is frustrating because it is often hard to find an audience.

Wayne: In what ways do you express your creativity?
Bruce: I love working in schools helping teachers create environments conducive to valuing the creativity, voice, and personal identity of their students.This is not always easy because there are so many things impinging on teachers to conform to less creative and more easily measured results. But there always more to do.
I have really enjoy publishing my thoughts over the years. Recently I have become almost obsessed with writing my thoughts out and posting them on my blog. I love the feedback receive and the ongoing conversations with people - many I do not even know. Before the blog I also enjoyed writing regular e-zine for much the same reason - to share creative ideas to try and rock the conservative education boat. I still write e-zines but blogging is easier and is more immediate. One day I would like to gather the best ones to make a book or a series of books.
I also really enjoy presenting to groups particularly short sharp hour and half presentations using PowerPoint in creative way (Is that an oxymoron?). Giving a major presentation is always a creative challenge being a mix of a remembered script and improvisation. Unfortunately it can become a form of edutainment but it is fun.

Wayne: Was there a point in your life when you recognised that you were creative? How did that come about?
Bruce: I was always interested in nature ( through scouting) ) - particularly native trees . As youngster my brothers and I and friends spent most of out time exploring our immediate environment. My other early strength was drawing - in those days mostly being able to copy things well. Both these interests led to my long time career in education firstly as a Nature Study Specialist, a Science Adviser, and briefly as an Art Adviser. My interests also formed the basis of my teaching believing as I do that we all learn through experience and expression of things that catch our curiosity.

Wayne: How would you describe / explain your creative process, in particular do you have any 'habits' that support your creativity?
Bruce: The key is being open to new ideas and getting them down as soon as possible. If I have an idea I go over it my head and start blogging as soon as possible. When writing, ideas unfold and build on each other as part of the process. This is the essence of creativity?
I also gather lots of ideas for painting but somehow I never get past the gathering ideas stage. Maybe I worry that for all my interest in the arts I haven't really got the talent.

Wayne: What suggestions / tips would you give to others who want to explore their creativity?
Bruce: Start early. Believe in yourself. Distrust distant experts. Associate yourself with like minds to share enthusiasm and support. Most of all just do it -advice I can't use myself in art!

Wayne: We will wait with baited breath for the future art works!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Wayne.Compared to you in the creative field I am just a beginner. Just love your blogs - really enjoyed that clip of Tom Peters! Bruce