Friday, June 14, 2013

Wondering about Creativity

The ITLMS team's theme seems to be WONDER these days. In that vein, I've been wondering about how we nurture creativity in our classrooms. Do we have supportive environments where risk is the norm and mistakes are considered essential to learning? Do we provide opportunities for our students to develop their divergent thinking skills? Do we allow our students to wonder?

Recently I was waiting for an appointment in a doctor's office, flipped through a recent copy of Time and came across an article about creativity. I was reminded of Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talk on how schools kill creativity and the famous RSA Animation of another of his talks, Changing Education Paradigms.

Sir Ken Robinson says, "Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value." He goes on to say that divergent thinking is essential for creativity. He shares a longitudinal study in which they tested the divergent thinking of kindergarten aged children. They continued to test the same children every 5 years. The results of the study determined that divergent thinking declined as the students went through formal education.  

Hmm, I wonder what that should be telling us.

A Newsweek article, The Creativity Crisis, explores a decline in creativity in the United States, beginning in 1990. 

Hmm, I wonder why.

The current Time Magazine article that I read, Assessing the Creative Spark, states,
Creativity is a renewable resource, one that's universally, if not evenly, distributed.  We don't decide how much we get, but it's up to each of us - and the nation as a whole  - to tap what's there. 

Hmm,  I wonder if we know how to tap into our students' creativity. 

Time also conducted a Creativity Poll. The infographic below provides some of the results of this poll.

Hmm, I wonder what these responses tell us? 

I wonder....
  • how we harness and nurture the creativity in ALL of our students at ALL ages?
  • how we promote creativity in our classrooms?
  • how we can convince teachers to examine their teaching practices, looking for evidence of opportunities for creativity?
  • what constraints keep our teachers from embracing creativity in the classroom? 
  • if technology is a tool that promotes creativity? 

I think I'm going to read Nurturing Creativity in the Classroom by Ronald A. Beghetto and James C Kaufman to see if there might be some answers to my wondering questions. 

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