Thinking About Creativity – It’s Important!

July 29, 2013

I have been thinking about creativity.  A few years ago I moderated a panel of experts on the topic of creativity at a Digital Education Leadership Conference.  It really changed my views on creativity and made me realize just how important creativity is.  Recently, two separate “creativity” moments prompted this blog.

“Today’s schools lack creative teaching and learning, study says” is the July 2nd, 2013 headline in eSchool News of an article by Managing Editor Laura Devaney.  She writes about a 2013 study by Adobe of 4000 parents and educators (K-college) in the US, the UK, Australia and Germany (note the possible bias, but the facts do speak for themselves).

She writes, “A new survey reveals that creative teaching and innovative learning are stifled by an over-reliance on testing and assessment, forcing teachers to stay inside a restrictive curriculum that will limit students’ ability to excel in the future workforce…

“‘[T]ransformative change’ is needed to inject a creative boost into the current education system, and that despite a worldwide demand for creativity and creative thinking, today’s students are not prepared to enter a workplace that requires inventive thinking.”

I get it.  The demand for creativity and creative problem-solving is increasing, but we aren’t preparing our students to be creative.  Parents and educators agree that one of the reasons is too much testing and assessment.  Another reason is that not all teachers know how to teach creativity or have the resources to do so.  The article tell us that “[A] majority of U.K. (17 percent), German (17 percent), and Australian (15 percent) educators said that their current education curriculum is the greatest barrier to teaching creativity in schools.”  Yikes!

I read the article and then I read the study; the article does the study justice.  The study is easy to read, with lots of graphics to make the point.   Check it out.

A few weeks ago I attended finalsite University and the keynote speaker was Erik Wahl, author of Unthink.  (finalsite is our website company, and each year I go to their annual university.  This year I gave a presentation – Emerging Trends in Proficiency-Based Education.)

Erik has a great website with some great videos that I think you will like.

In an excerpt from his new book Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, he writes “We secretly believe that creative genius is reserved for the chosen few – for the poets, the painters, the writers.  The truth is that breakthrough creativity is in all of us.“   Wow!  Could he be right?

I haven’t read the whole book yet, but In Chapter Two of Unthink, he says, “Ask a roomful of five-year-olds how many are artists and every hand will shoot up.  Ask a roomful of thirty-five-year-olds the same question and you get one reluctant hand.”   I saw him get the same result when he asked us that question.  Later he asks, “Do you remember when your days were governed by your imagination?  You could be whoever and whatever you wanted.  You could travel around the world–even beyond the world–at the drop of a thought.”

Creativity is important, vital, the stuff of life.  Think about creativity, and think about how education can be used to stifle creativity or enhance and nourish creativity.

Posted by marks on Monday July 29, 2013 at 08:55AM

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