Today’s guest blogger is Mrs. Molly Loch.
Creativity Beyond the Art Room
Making a Place for Creativity in Every Classroom
What do Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Maya Angelou all have in common?
They are all leaders in their respective fields and their creativity has advanced humanity in many important ways. Creativity is recognized as an essential leadership quality, and these people oozed creativity. But wait – Leonardo da Vinci and Maya Angelou are the only artistic people listed here and creative people are always artistic, right? WRONG – creativity is defined as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination”. This definition moves creativity beyond the right side of the brain to encompass the use of both the right and left sides of the brain. Creativity requires a constant shifting between the two sides of the brain as both convergent and divergent stages of thinking are engaged. Highly creative people have trained their brains to make these switches through practice. Creativity is teachable and can be developed in everyone. When creativity is applied to the everyday processes of work and school brain function improves. It is important to note here that creativity is measured like intelligence is measured and intelligence is not measured by academic ability alone. We all have the ability to be creative in every area of human activity. While the current trend in education leans toward literacy and numeracy, without creativity to make connections with the wider world we live in humanity is at a stalemate. For the human race to thrive and progress creativity must be taught and encouraged in every classroom.
In these days of standardized testing and curriculum guides who has time to teach creativity? It should be the job of the arts teachers to do that. WRONG AGAIN.
Creativity is essential to all disciplines. Without scientific innovation we would still be huddled around campfires in a cave. Without creativity there would be no literacy – someone had to be the first to interpret the desire to communicate visually, not just audibly. And without progressiveness in mathematics our understanding of numbers and what they represent would be confined to keeping track of how many cows and chickens we own. It will be more important than ever before for equal weight to be given to all disciplines including languages, mathematics, physical education, the arts and sciences. There must be no distinguishing between the importance of the disciplines for the future success of our nations and communities.
One way to teach creativity is through creative problem-solving pedagogies. These are largely project-based teaching strategies that involve multiple disciplines. These methods begin by identifying a problem and fact-finding. Problem-finding is the next step – identifying all possible difficulties or drawbacks. Idea-finding comes after that and requires the generation of multiple ideas to solve the problem. Then comes solution-finding; which idea is the most feasible solution? And finally a plan of action is developed. What good is an idea if it doesn’t come to fruition?
Current curriculum standards have been successfully met through the use of creative problem-solving strategies in many school systems across our great country. For us to continue existing as a great country all school systems must rise to the challenge of graduating not just students who make the grade or pass the test, but we must graduate creative thinkers. Without creativity there is no innovation; without innovation humanity does not progress; and without progress what keeps the human race from becoming extinct?
I have included several links for more information about the state of creativity in our schools, how to teach creativity, and creative problem-solving pedagogies. Enjoy and make creativity the focus of your teaching, no matter what you teach.
The Creativity Crisis
Education Policy and Schools: Supporting Kids Creativity or Hurting
Creativity in Schools – Supporting Creative Learning
Nourish Creativity in Schools – A Shift in Action
Can Industrial and B2B Marketers Learn Creative Problem Solving from Fifth Graders?
National Inventors Hall of Fame
CNN to Visit National Inventors Hall of Fame School
Ready to Learn How Creative You REALLY Are?