Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can Creativity be Taught

The truth is, the positive thinking + creativity is the powerful combination to push the human world forward.

Creativity has emerged as one of the top-picked 21st-century skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, learning agility, leadership capability, etc.). Is creativity nature or nurtured, can creativity be taught, how can today’s education system produce more creative souls, are modern educators the human engineers or talent artists?

Creativity is like a muscle, you must exercise it daily or it atrophies: We have to admit, some people are just more creative than others. One of the things is essential for education in creativity to really thrive is that people understand that creativity is a way of being, it must be practiced, it's very personal, it requires internal motivation and self-awareness. Unless these factors are present, 'creativity' will only be known to mankind as a fad or superficial set of steps in. A creative person seems to be childish, naive and inquisitive. Picasso said, "It took me a few years to learn how to paint like Braque, a lifetime to paint like a child." A person must find ways to stimulate creativity, break down the convention thinking, be original and be yourself; try putting two totally different things together to make something new, if you're writing, beautify your science, or rationalize your art; if you are painting? Make the sky yellow and the trees blue. "Think Different." Mostly think positive, think fun, think beyond your reach. Knowledge is limited, but imagination encircles the world.

Encouraging and rewarding "creative thinking: Creativity can be nurtured by encouraging and rewarding "creative thinking," in which people learn to solve all kind of problems, generate ideas, implement life changes. Then focus on how creativity is viewed, citing two views -one being innate and the other a result of teaching. Creativity isn't necessarily a paint-by-numbers process, more like ‘connect-the-dots” adventure. It usually, perhaps more often than not, involves some level of discomfort and interdisciplinary transcendence. The problem is that we can't order and classify creativity in the typical worldview. Where do you put transformative abstraction on an analytical scale? And how do you measure extreme creativity when it may look like eccentric and dysfunctional behavior, precisely because it is off the deep end of a spectrum of social conventional thinking. But the truth is, the positive thinking + creativity is the powerful combination to push the human world forward.

The educators need to be creative enough to encourage creativity: It is educators who must first be creative enough to recognize divergent thinking and oddball answers from students as sometimes indicating a different slant or insight. We know now from brain research that young brains create a huge amount of connections, that if they are not stimulated, will dissolve over time. For instance, it is much easier for children to learn foreign languages than it is for adults. The brain structures present in an infant's brain that facilitates language learning decrease as the child ages. It is still possible, but much more difficult and more expensive to teach an old brain new tricks. Same as many other skills, if we wait until young people reach the adult to teach critical thinking and creativity, the education system is out of date in a certain way. Learning to question and to devise one's own answers is as important as learning math and language. We should let creativity run wild, with a clearly defined end goal. Kids should be allowed to use their creative brains and get them exposed to everyday problems to help them come up with solutions. Both hemispheres of our brain are equally important. The whole brain thinking needs to be encouraged and practiced from an earlier age.

Creativity education is also about education in the area of creativity: Creativity is the end in this case. The core to the mission of the creative education is “developing the next generation of innovators and thinkers. There are some techniques/strategies to implement in education such as PBL (problem-based learning) Collaborative/Cooperative learning and Project Oriented Learning, all of them foster creativity, but we have to remember that creativity is not something you can learn as a topic, is something you acquire and use, not just for learning, but for life itself, and, of course, to be creative you have to rely on freedom (of thinking, failing, trying, experimenting, saying, learning, doing, etc).

Collectively, as human society, inclusiveness is the soil to fertilize creativity, and educators are just like those skillful craftsmen or dedicated gardeners, to discover the innovative way to educate, to nurture creativity and keep it grow and mature.


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