has been a long belief of mine that one of the most detrimental casualties of our
current education system is the loss of wonder. That innate desire to understand why things are the way they
are. I had the privilege of
hearing Dr. Christine Carter speak at a conference on brain research and
development entitled Learning and the Brain. At the beginning of her keynote my first reaction was “she
is an expert in Happiness, is that for real?” However as I listened I began to see a correlation to my own
core beliefs about learning and what education is missing.
most powerful thing she said was something that education policy makers will
ignore at all costs. That is that
Creativity is the next essential literacy. Now keep in mind I am just beginning to try and wrap my mind
around what that may look like. My
first belief in this discussion is that creativity is something that begins at
a young age. I also believe that
creativity and imagination go hand and hand. When I teach my courses for the college I refer to
imagination as a sense of wonder because often people are distracted by the
word imagination. This is because
it brings up a short time in their life when they were encouraged to imagine. As an education system we ignore
imagination and we have quickly weeded out that perceived “unnecessary” tool
over the past 20 years.
are a lot of articles/blogs popping up regarding creativity and can it be
taught. I am not sure I fully
believe it can be taught but it can be coaxed out of students. Having taught in various grade levels
including kindergarten and fifth grade, I can assure you that teachers can
coax/cultivate this literacy out of students. It begins at the lowest grade levels but should be happening
in all grade levels. If we move
from a test centered education system to a learning centered education system
then imagination and creativity will flow freely.
think. To start integrate discussion
and problem solving in your classroom.
Have students solve real word authentic problems rather than numbers 1-5
in the book. Develop a culture of questioning, imagination and creativity. Determine the interests of your students;
develop curriculum units that require them to solve a problem related to their
interests. Begin each day with an
imagination problem prompt, which may include, “imagine if you were….” and tie
it to writing.
only real solution to our education crisis and removing the need for this post
is that policy makers begin to make time in education for educators to allow
children to use their imagination and creativity. Although assessment is great to inform instruction, let’s
stop making them all paper and pencil multiple guess tests. Lets take anecdotal notes, give
projects, do short checks for understanding, peer review, etc. etc
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jef_safi/648838717/By jef safi ‘pictosophizing