Creative people march to the tune of their own drum

6 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The question moi has been pondering lately is whether society can educate mass numbers of students giving them a foundation in basic knowledge without stifling creativity?
One of the most popular personality typing instruments is the Myers-Briggs Assessment. It list 16 personality types. See, High-Level Description of the Sixteen Personality Types Flowing through several of the types is the trait of creativity, although most people can be creative.

Carolyn Gregoire wrote in the Huffington Post article, 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently:

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.
They daydream.
Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time….
Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
They observe everything.
The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost….”
They work the hours that work for them.
Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.
They take time for solitude.
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May….
They turn life’s obstacles around.
Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life….
They seek out new experiences.
Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output…
They “fail up.”
Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally….
They ask the big questions.
Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.
They people-watch.
Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it….
They take risks.
Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives….
They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.
Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life….
They follow their true passions.
Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity….
They get out of their own heads.
Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work….
They lose track of the time.
Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance….
They surround themselves with beauty.
Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty….
They connect the dots.
If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where other don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect….
They constantly shake things up.
Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane…
They make time for mindfulness.
Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind….
And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

Carmine Gallo of Forbes wrote an interesting article about Steve Jobs.

In Why Larry Ellison Calls Steve Jobs Another Picasso And What It Teaches Us About Creativity, Gallo wrote:

Picasso and Jobs. The comparison fits because both inventors teach us that innovation requires creativity and creativity requires a mind open to new experiences, the courage to take risks, and a burning desire to challenge the status quo….

Education should encourage more, not less creativity.

The Vinci blog’s interview with George Forman, Professor Emeritus UMass gives one much to ponder:

Q: How Can Teachers Identify A Great Technology Program to Support Student’s Creative Thinking?
A: Watch your children interact with technology. Do not judge based on newspaper headlines alone. Bear witness to what children are learning. Then, if you think they are not thinking, and are locked into repetitive games, or digest content with dubious values, at that point, you must intervene. Forget the labels – concentrate on observing and analyzing your students’ learning outcome.
Q: Generally speaking, what is the importance of the “social” aspect of school?
A: Social relations should be a medium for learning, not something that happens at recess. Children learn more deeply when the content lives in a social context of “my friend and I agree (or disagree).” How sad that some school separate two children that talk too much during class. How much more enlightened that school would be to use strong affiliations as way to engage the children’s minds.
Q: What are some key considerations in early childhood education in light of technology use?
A: Technology should be designed to bring the child into the computer, e.g. video, voice, drawings. Technology today has the power to help children track and reflect on their own thoughts. The objective of technology should be to help children manipulate and compare facts, not to learn facts, and should have the ultimate objective of facilitating the child’s attempts to reinvent what others know, because in this process of reinvention from their own conceptions comes a more robust form of understanding.
Q: Anything else on what technology should or should not do for students?
A: Technology should not try to create errorless learning, but provide children with a platform to pace their “errors” through a sufficient number of cases to understand the nature of their misconception. Errors should be embrace and unpacked, not replaced simply with the correct explanations.
Interview with Prof. Forman: Encouraging Creative Thinking

See, Encouraging creativity can improve education and How Schools Kill Creativity
Robert Sternberg wrote a thoughtful essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education about creativity in higher education, although his thoughts have wider application.

In, Teach Creativity, Not Memorization, Sternberg opines:

As educators, then, we need to do a better job teaching students to mobilize their creativity successfully. Let me suggest 12 ways to encourage creativity in the classroom.
Redefine the problem. We can promote creative performance by encouraging students to define and redefine their own problems, projects, presentations, and topics for papers, subject to approval; to choose their own ways of solving problems; and sometimes to choose again if they discover that their approach was a mistake.
We cannot always offer choices in the classroom, but having choices is the only way students learn how to choose. Giving them latitude helps them develop taste and good judgment, both of which are essential elements of creativity.
Question and analyze assumptions. Everyone has assumptions, although they are not often widely shared. Questioning assumptions is part of the analytical thinking involved in creativity. We can help students develop this talent by making questioning a part of the daily exchange. It is more important for students to learn what questions to ask—and how to ask them—than to learn the answers. We need to avoid perpetuating the belief that our role is to teach students the facts, and instead help them understand that what matters is their ability to use facts.
Teach students to sell their creative ideas. Everyone would like to assume that his or her wonderful, creative ideas will sell themselves. But they do not. When I was a first-year assistant professor, the second colloquium I was invited to give was at a large testing organization. I was delighted that the company was apparently interested in adopting my ideas about intelligence, even though I was only 25 years old. My career seemed to be off to a spectacular start. I took the train to Princeton, N.J., and gave the talk. It was an abject failure. I went from fantasizing about a dazzling career to wondering whether I would have a career at all.
Students need to learn how to persuade other people of the value of their ideas. That selling is part of the practical aspect of creative thinking.

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process.

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills. The University of Michigan outline, Critical and Creative Thinking links critical thinking and creativity.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Derek Bok


The Global Creativity Index

The Rise of the Creative Class

We, as a society must find a way to educate the masses and give foundational basic information without stifling the creativity necessary to save society from itself.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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