Let’s start with what it is. Creativity in this context is the ability to see what has not been seen, to imagine what is possible but has not been imagined, to innovate.
This is why “creativity” is constantly coming up in the media with respect to industry, education and “job skills”. As reported recently in a Newsweek story, ” The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future.” ” Leadership competency. You get that? This is not about art classes, not that there’s anything wrong with those. The point is that creativity is what we do as people and it’s being stifled out of us.
Creativity is not some luxury that has to be pushed out of our classrooms in favor of “math & science” and more computers. It’s the very thing that allows us to be any good at applying math, science and any other discipline. In fact, research shows that “The correlation [of a psychology creativity assessment] to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.” This means that we need to pay more attention to allowing childhood creativity to develop and blossom.
I must repeat that this does NOT mean breaking out more pasta and buttons to paste, and surely does not mean making more Thanksgiving hand-turkeys!
What it DOES mean is cultivating a culture where creativity is the norm of daily functioning. This is so at odds with how traditional classrooms function, that it brings us back to prior posts on the need for REVOLUTION, not reform, in education. We need more open-ended questions, more student-lead exploration, etc.
Yet, what we hear is: “Overwhelmed by curriculum standards, American teachers warn there’s no room in the day for a creativity class.” A creativity class! This is why we;re so far from getting it right – we think it’s a special class! Word is slowly getting around. The Newsweek story reports that “Real improvement [in creativity training] doesn’t happen in a weekend workshop. But when applied to the everyday process of work or school, brain function improves.”
And we can also read there that “those who do better in both problem-finding and problem-solving have better relationships. They are more able to handle stress and overcome the bumps life throws in their way. A similar study of 1,500 middle schoolers found that those high in creative self-efficacy had more confidence about their future and ability to succeed. They were sure that their ability to come up with alternatives would aid them, no matter what problems would arise.” This IS the point, yes? Creativity is what we do as human beings, it’s our optimal mode of functioning. Yet for years traditional schools have done everything to drive it out of students.
Once again…. it’s time to change the education conversation. It’s time to really shake up what goes on in traditional schools. Grail, indeed.