October 19, 2020
Creativity: the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. In a corporate world where formal attire and strict deadlines are the norm, it is easy to forget just how important creativity is, and in many ways, why it has never been so meaningful. Characterized by the ability to perceive the world in unfamiliar ways, creativity is how we embrace originality and find hidden patterns between seemingly unrelated ideas. Being the most in-demand skill in the world second only to cloud computing, creativity will only become more important moving forward.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Jason Collinge has studied around the globe and graduated from institutions located in Japan, Australia, and of course, Canada. A published author, artist, and family man, he has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for over 20 years, and gears his work towards storytelling and the creative arts.
“I've always had a passion for teaching”, Collinge told DesignMakePlay, “I’ve always wanted to help people, and in a roundabout way, ended up becoming an ESL teacher”. Unlike many of the characters you find in classrooms these days, ESL students actually have a purpose and goal they seek to accomplish. This is why Collinge finds what he does so rewarding. When that light bulb goes off in his students’ head and they tell him they understand something with which they originally struggled, he feels gratified knowing he has helped someone get a little bit closer to reaching their goal.
Collinge mentioned that one of the main differentiators in relation to teaching ESL is that language in itself is very fluid. It is not like a math or physics equation where you are limited to one correct answer every time. There are many ways one can vocalize the same message, and as an instructor, he has to be flexible when appraising the answers he receives. Moreover, Collinge was once an international student studying abroad in Japan, and knows just how daunting this journey can be.
“I had to live overseas and experience what they are going through; I did that”, said Collinge, “on my first day of every class I find out a little bit about each student and try to get them to interact with each other and connect on similar goals or interests so they know they don’t always have to go to me for help, they have a whole class of peers ready to support them”. To Collinge, it is a matter of reaching students individually and finding out what motivates them. Bringing that into the classroom is a big part of the reason he incorporates storytelling, drawing, and writing skills in his lesson plans. Creative activities like these open the doors for greater interactivity and collaboration between his students.
Beyond teaching ESL, Collinge spends much of his time on a project of his titled “Rumours of the Fictive Art”. According to Collinge, fictive art is all that facilitates an audience’s willing suspension or disbelief, and includes anything a storyteller employs to establish, extend, and enable the plausibility of a central narrative. What started as a podcasting project meant to help his students in their efforts to learn a foreign language has turned into a page where creatives can gather to reads tales, create art, share knowledge, and listen or watch interviews Collinge has with artists, role-play enthusiasts, and storytellers of all creed and colour.
The human spirit is born creative, and throughout our lives we use this internal compass to find innovative ways of doing things as we navigate life. The most creative people find ways around obstacles because they see them as opportunities rather than something restrictive. When people think of creativity, they often think of artists, graphic designers, writers, painters, and so on, when in reality the root meaning of the word means ‘to grow’. Defined by Stefan Mumaw, author of “CREATIVE BOOT CAMP: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity & Quality in 30 Days” and many other publications, creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty. Investing in creative skills can lead to a more collaborative society and talented workforce, and is why we appreciate and highlight individuals going out of their way to bring light to this reality that is often overlooked.
If you are the type of person who is drawn to role-playing through artwork or want to discover your own inner storyteller, gamer, or artist, be sure to check out Jason Collinge’s Facebook page as it is a great resource for creatives looking to learn and collaborate.