Tag Archives: Teach Creativity

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 https://www.personalitypage.com/high-level.html 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/creativity-habits_n_4859769.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

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…. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2013/09/16/why-larry-ellison-calls-steve-jobs-another-picasso-and-what-it-teaches-us-about-creativity/

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 http://www.vincieducation.com/interview-with-prof-forman-ecouraging-creative-thinking/

See, Encouraging creativity can improve education http://www.purdueexponent.org/opinion/article_bd0b91ad-57ea-5fc3-a5f0-0714ecdcd6de.html and How Schools Kill Creativity http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_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. http://chronicle.com/article/Teach-Creativity-Not/124879/

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/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. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

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. http://www.engin.umich.edu/~cre/probsolv/strategy/crit-n-creat.htm

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

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

Resources:

The Global Creativity Index
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2011/10/global-creativity-index/229/

The Rise of the Creative Class
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html

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. Wilda.com

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What is a creativity index and why are states incorporating the index into education?

3 Feb

The Martin Prosperity Institute of the University of Toronto began studying the “creativity index” several years ago. Here is a portion of the summary for their report, Creativity and Prosperity: The Global Creativity Index:

The economic crisis has challenged popular conceptions of economic growth, both in terms of what it is and how to measure it. While engendering growth and bolstering competitiveness remain high on the agenda, immediate attention has shifted to creating jobs, lifting wages, addressing inequality, and fostering long-term, sustainable prosperity. This new edition of the Global Creativity Index (GCI), which we first introduced in 2004, provides a powerful lens through which to assess these issues.

The GCI assesses the prospects for sustainable prosperity across 82 nations according to a combination of underlying economic, social, and cultural factors that we refer to as the 3 Ts of economic development—Technology, Talent, and Tolerance. It also compares the GCI to a series of other metrics of competitiveness and prosperity—from conventional measures of economic growth to alternative measures of economic equality, human development, and happiness and well-being…

Creative Class:

The Creative Class—made up of workers in fields spanning science and technology, business and
management, healthcare and education, and arts, culture, and entertainment—is a driving force
in economic growth. The Creative Class makes up 40 percent or more of the workforce in 14 nations. Singapore has the highest creative ranking, followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Norway, and Germany. Canada ranks 12th, with 40.84 percent of its workforce in the Creative Class, and the United States ranks 27th, with 34.99 percent.

Technology:

Technology is a key factor in economic progress. From new inventions like software, robotics, and biotechnology to improvements in manufacturing systems and processes, technology makes economies and societies more efficient and productive. We assess technological capacity through three measures: research and development spending, R&D workforce, and patented innovations. Finland takes the top spot in technology, followed by Japan in second place, the United States in third, Israel in fourth, and Sweden in fifth. Canada ranks 11th.

Talent:

There is a broad consensus that the ability to generate, attract, and retain skilled and enterprising people—talent—is essential to sustained economic success. We measure a country’s talent as a combination of two factors: its average levels of educational attainment and the percentage of its workforce in the Creative Class. Scandinavian countries leap to the top, with Finland and Sweden taking first and second place, Denmark in fourth, and Norway sixth. Singapore ranks third, with New Zealand in fifth and Australia in seventh. The United States is eighth, just ahead of Greece and Slovenia in the ninth and tenth spots. Canada ranks 17th.

Tolerance:

Tolerance is the third key factor in economic growth and prosperity. The ability to attract both talent and technology turns on openness to new ideas and openness to people. We measure tolerance as a combination of two variables, based on Gallup surveys of openness to ethnic and racial minorities and openness to gays and lesbians. Canada takes the top spot, followed by Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia. Spain, Sweden, the United States, Uruguay and the United Kingdom round out the top ten.

http://martinprosperity.org/research-and-publications/publication/global-creativity-index

Download Creativity and Prosperity: The Global Creativity Index. (2.68 MB)

Read “Towards a Broader Conception of Economic Competitiveness“, our MPInsight discussing the Global Creativity Index.

The question is whether creativity can or should be taught?

Erik W. Robelen writes in the Education Week article, States Mulling Creativity Indexes for Schools

At a time when U.S. political and business leaders are raising concerns about the need to better nurture creativity and innovative thinking among young people, several states are exploring the development of an index that would gauge the extent to which schools provide opportunities to foster those qualities.

In Massachusetts, a new state commission began meeting last fall to draft recommendations for such an index for all public schools, in response to a legislative requirement. Meanwhile, the California Senate last month approved a bill calling for the development of a voluntary Creative and Innovative Education Index.

And Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently announced plans for a public-private partnership to produce an innovation index for schools, which she described as a “public measurement of the opportunities for our students to engage in innovative work….”

The emerging state efforts to promote creativity and innovation among their students pick up on a theme that’s been gaining steam for some time in American political, business, and education circles.

“Building capacity to create and innovate in our students is central to guaranteeing the nation’s competitiveness,” declared the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in a report last year.

In addition, fostering creativity has become a high priority among some of the United States’ top economic competitors. In a recent Education Week Commentary, Byong-man Ahn, a former South Korean minister of education, said that “creating the type of education in which creativity is emphasized over rote learning” is a top education goal for his government. (“Education in the Republic of Korea,” Jan. 12, 2012.)

Researchers have recently examined the subject of teaching creativity, but experts are just beginning to determine what makes some students more creative than their peers and how the classroom environment can nurture, or smother, that capacity.

In fact, some emerging research seems to point to two critical aspects of creativity that can be hard to teach: the willingness to take risks and learn from failure, and the ability to transfer ways of solving problems between seemingly unrelated situations. (“Science Looks at How to Inspire Creativity,” Dec. 14, 2011.)

Robert J. Sternberg, the provost and a professor of psychology and education at Oklahoma State University, who is an expert in intelligence-testing and has studied creativity extensively, said he’s encouraged by Oklahoma’s interest in developing an innovation index. He said it’s important for schools to teach creative thinking, and developing some form of accountability around that is a good idea.

But, in an email, he cautioned that there are risks.

For example, “We don’t want an index that trivializes creativity, such as by counting numbers of activities that, on their surface, sound creative rather than exploring what is actually done in the activities to encourage creativity,” he wrote. Also, “We don’t want to encourage quantity over quality of activities.”

The apparent originator and a leading proponent of the index idea is Daniel R. Hunter, a playwright and founding partner of a Boston-based public relations firm who previously served as the director of Iowa’s cultural-affairs department.

“This is not an effort to overthrow standardized testing,” but rather “to provide schools with incentives to spend more time and resources” fostering student creativity, said Mr. Hunter, who also previously led a Massachusetts advocacy group for arts and culture that has disbanded.

“If the only public measurement of your school is a standardized test, then schools have every incentive to teach to the test,” he said. “The index is a tool to get to what is happening in the classroom.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/02/02/19creativity_ep.h31.html?tkn=WVZF1T1gOdAjXSPDyFwHiU0kImS%2F3%2F335Q%2Fk&intc=es

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.                                                                        http://chronicle.com/article/Teach-Creativity-Not/124879/

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/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. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

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. http://www.engin.umich.edu/~cre/probsolv/strategy/crit-n-creat.htm

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

Aristotle

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

Resources:

The Global Creativity Index                                                        http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2011/10/global-creativity-index/229/

The Rise of the Creative Class                     http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©