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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Creativity in Crisis

For the last five weeks, I have been taking a course entitled, Creativity in Crisis, from The Art of Education. We began the course by reading an article published in Newsweek in 2010 by the same name: http://www.newsweek.com/creativity-crisis-74665(Bronson, P. & Merryman, A.). The article shares data that demonstrates a drop in the creativity scores of children over the past few decades. They say that part of this may be due to the increased use of television, video games and other technology by children (Bronson, P. & Merryman, A., 2010). Throughout the weeks of this course, I have found myself to be in agreement with this theory. I believe that students are provided with too much visual imagery from the technology that they use and therefore have difficulty creating their own visual vocabulary. But it is not only our overuse of technology, as technology can also provide a variety of creative and innovative undertakings to explore. Sir Ken Robinson, an author, and educator has done many presentations and written a variety of books on the idea of creativity in education. Something he said that really resonated with me was the idea of the hierarchy of disciplines:

The curricula of most school systems seem to divide into two broad groups: the useful disciplines and the useless ones. Languages, mathematics, science, and technology are useful; history, geography, art, music, and drama are not. When funding is tight or reform movements focus on raising standards, arts programs are usually cut (Robinson, 2011, p.61).

It is essential that we begin to see all disciplines with equal importance. When public education first began, it was designed for the time of the Industrial Revolution, and the format of education hasn’t really changed much since that time. We need courses in all disciplines so that the creative thinking needed for the 21st-century can be nurtured. During class, we read about the Four Cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (NEA, n.d.). The author Peter Reynolds and his company, Fablevision, added a fifth “C” to the list, and that is compassion (Reynolds, 2013). This is an idea that can be used by all teachers in all disciplines. In the art room, I try to help students use the 5Cs through Choice-based education. In a TAB-Choice studio, students are regarded as artists. Students are expected to do the work of artists, directing their own learning. They practice coming up with their own art problems to solve, asking questions and seeing possibilities in the world around them. Students learn to persevere through difficulties as well as to trust themselves and their own judgment while simultaneously learning to be self-directed, organized, and to manage their time (Teaching for Artistic Behavior, 2017). If you attended this year’s Fine Arts & Technology Night, you saw on display artwork done by students in a choice situation in the studio. These works stood out as being some of the most unique pieces in the show; they are completely derived, from idea generation to final artwork, by the student. They demonstrate student understanding of the elements and principles of art, as well as the students’ infinite imaginations.

This kind of choice-based education can be successful in any classroom environment. Last week, we read an article entitled, “41 Most Innovative K-12 Schools in America,” which can be found athttps://www.noodle.com/articles/innovative-schools-2015. The article shares information about a variety of different schools and how they are approaching education in new and innovative ways. One way in which educators are providing choice and real-world style learning is through PBL (Project-Based Learning). In a new study, one group of students was taught with PBL, and another with more traditional teaching methods. The study found that in the PBL group, gains were 63 percent higher for social studies and 23 percent higher for informational reading (Duke & Halvorsen, 2017). Providing students with authentic learning opportunities presents students with more chances to use the Four Cs (NEA, n.d). 

Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as “the process of having original ideas that have value,” but he goes on to say that imagination and innovation are key components to creativity, “Creativity is putting your imagination to work. It is applied imagination. Innovation is putting new ideas into practice (Robinson, 2011)”. I believe that allowing our children more opportunities to explore and think critically and creatively about their world will, in turn, make them stronger learners and more productive members of the world. The AWRSD is exemplifying what Robinson suggests. In the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning strategy area, our Strategic Objective #1 is to integrate STEAM initiatives into the current curriculum (Ash-West 2021: A Continuous, Strategic, Learning Plan, 2017). Including the arts as part of our strategic plan embraces creativity. Our students will be more able to think imaginatively and come up with innovative ways to problem solve. “‘The A— the arts— makes everything else make sense,” says Superintendent Greg Little of Mt. Airy City Schools in North Carolina. ‘If we ignore the arts side, the creative side, we lose the soul of what we’re doing and the why of what we’re doing (Zalaznick, 2015).’” By embracing the arts, AWRSD is on the right side of creativity in education.

Ash-West 2021: A Continuous, Strategic, Learning Plan. (2017, January 10). Retrieved July 4, 2017, from https://www.awrsd.org/files/7614/8416/1285/AshWest_2021__SIA_Presentation_PPT.pdf
41 Most Innovative K-12 Schools in America. (n.d.). Noodle. Retrieved from: https://www.noodle.com/articles/innovative-schools-2015

Bronson, P. & Merryman, A. (2010, Jul. 10). The Creativity crisis. Newsweek. Retrieved 

Duke, N. K., & Halvorsen, A. (2017, June 20). New Study Shows the Impact of PBL on Student Achievement. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-study-shows-impact-pbl-student-achievement-nell-duke-anne-lise-halvorsen

National Education Association. (n.d.). An Educator’s Guide to the “Four Cs:” Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society. National Education Association. Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/tools/52217.htm

Reynolds, P. (2013, June 13). New Peter H. Reynolds Poster: We're a 5 C's Classroom. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://www.fablevisionlearning.com/blog/2013/06/new-peter-h-reynolds-poster-were-a-5-cs-classroom

Robinson, K. Out of Our Minds-Learning to be Creative. Capstone. 2nd Edition (March 8th, 2011.) ISBN-10: 9781907312472 

Teaching for Artistic Behavior. (2017). Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://teachingforartisticbehavior.org/

Zalaznick, M. (2015). Putting the “A” in STEAM. District Administration51(12), 62-66.

1 comment:

  1. Mrs. DiSalle,
    I am so excited for you to continue your journey toward creative development in your students! Your reflections are inspiring and I know that what you have learned in this class will help you to support your students to their highest potential as they develop new and innovative solutions to problems, both real and contrived.

    Continue working hard to inspire your students!!