Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ken Robinson’s TED Video should be a wake-up call for us all.  The video, one of the first for the TED Channel discusses the stifling of our kid’s creativity.     

The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to    personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put     students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”

-          Ken Robinson

Take a moment and soak in that quote; “to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child…”.  Imagine that tailoring an education to meet the needs of the child.  Now that’s a concept!  Are we able to grow a child’s creativity in our schools?  Is that the responsibility of the schools?  Does creativity have a place in our schools?

When discussing budget cuts the Arts are always on the chopping block.  In our own district music and art classes were saved by a last minute adjustment to the county’s budget.  Take a second and consider that; schools without art and music.  While these classes help to stimulate creativity they are not the only way to enhance a child’s education.  Besides, these classes comprise a very small portion of a student’s curriculum.  Depending on them to grow a child’s creativity is a mistake.

Creativity is defined as the ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things.  Creativity is most often thought of in an artist context, but according to this definition it can occur in just about any context.  New and original is where we hit the wall.  Our public education system will never be accused of being new or original.

As always the stimulation of a child’s creativity must rely on the creativity of teachers.  While I do not claim to be an expert, I can testify that teachers are some of the most creative people on the planet.  Teachers should be given some freedom and flexibility, allowing them to enhance their student’s creativity.   None of these are revolutionary and in fact they are quite basic, but here are some ways teachers can bring out a student’s creativity:

Ø  Encourage curiosity and seeking answers.

Ø  Value varying ideas and opinions.

Ø  Encourage exploration.

Ø  Avoid shaming or embarrassing children who experiment through trial and error.

Ø  Stimulate imaginative, independent thought by posing questions.

Ø  Resist perfectionism.

Ø  Avoid making unflattering comparisons between student’s work and talent.

Ø  Encourage ingenious humor.

While a teacher’s time is valuable and squeezing in new methods of teaching is not always feasible, it is imperative that we at least try.  Explore new methods and allow students to explore (and even fail occasionally) new things.  Encourage their creativity by allowing them freedom to explore.  If we don’t who will? 

Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it's the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”

-          Ken Robinson

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