In the midst of state testing season, with Common Core so top of mind, it’s easy to forget about that other classroom “c” word—and yet many education experts insist is just as important to students’ success: creativity.
In a world where change happens quickly and where we’re supposed to be educating children for a future we know very little about, a capacity to innovate—which children tend to possess naturally—appears more essential than ever. According to author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts Sir Ken Robinson, “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
In his well-known 2006 TED Talk, Sir Robinson criticized the public education system for its de-emphasis of the arts and over-emphasis on academic ability, which has come to dominate our view of intelligence. He said, “Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us.”
But even if that is true, how can we foster creativity at the classroom level?
A recent article in MindShift suggests, “The first step is to help both students and educators understand productive creativity…Creativity is the ability to produce work that is unique and unexpected as well as appropriate, useful, and adaptive.”
That means moving away from an either/or mentality—where creativity equals a lack of learning and vice versa—and accepting uncertainty in the classroom as an opportunity for creativity to manifest. Instead of disregarding a potentially creative solution to a problem, teachers can encourage students to explore it and evaluate its appropriateness for the situation at hand. Still, this is easier said than done.
We want to know, how do you define creativity? Do you think it’s essential to children’s success? And if so, how can we help them develop their creative abilities in school?