“I have always wanted to be creative, but how does that look and feel?” That’s the question that travels through the minds of many students and teacher’s due to the limited parameters that the educational system has placed on learners. As 21st Century thinkers we have to begin to think outside the box and open our students minds to nontraditional approaches of learning. The topic of creativity and arts integration is becoming an active part of educational conversations. Educational leaders are starting to recognize the benefits of allowing students to learn through the arts because research shows that “children who engage in more imaginative play demonstrate stronger creative abilities when they become adults” (Tite et al, 2016, p.20). Many organizations are embracing right brain thinkers and the educational system is slowly catching on.
As we start to look at different styles of learning, we also have to re-examine our current practices and revise them to fit the needs of our students. Over the last decade “high-stakes testing and scripted curriculums has made it difficult for educational stakeholders to infuse creativity into teaching practices” (Henriksen & Mishra, 2013) Parents and educational leaders cannot continue to ignore the fact that “our culture tells us these disciplinary boundaries are real and our thinking becomes tapped in them” (Gabora, 2017, p.5). As a parent, I think we sometimes forget just how powerful our voice can be and “if we are to move the needle in bringing the arts to the center of education where it belongs, then we must advocate for its rightful position” (Riley, 2014).
There is creativity in everyone “the key may be learning to let our minds go” (Tite et al, 2016, p.30). As we begin to welcome creativity back into our classrooms school leaders have to shift their mindset and allow teachers the opportunity to have the autonomy to make instructional decisions that might not look like the norm. Wouldn’t you rather a student be excited and interested in the learning process? As educators our job is to prepare students for a world that will require “innovation, creativity, and, more fundamentally, a curiosity to discover and embrace new ideas” (“Curiosity as an answer,” 2017). The goal is to build a generation of future ready learners.
Why do students need to be seated at a desk to learn? Catherine Thimmesh poses this question as she speaks to the relevance of allowing creative processes in the educational setting. Author Kristen Hick offers 5 ways to aid your transition from the standard format of teaching to a more creative and active approach. Many educators are already on the path to creative engagement, and with just a few changes to their lessons they can turn a traditional Shakespeare reading assignment into a play that brings all the characters to life.
We have to start preparing our students for the jobs that have not been created yet with the understating that creativity “is the key to problem solving and innovation” (Tite et al, 2016, p.24) The time has come for educational practices to be reinvented. It is our job to ensure that we provide the best education we can with the tools we have been provided. No one ever said that was limited to a piece of paper and a text-book.
The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2017/0720/Curiosity-as-an-answer-for-income-inequality
Gabora, L. (2017). What creativity really is – and why schools need it. The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/what-creativity-really-is-and-why-schools-need-it-81889
Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2013). Learning from creative teachers. Educational Leadership, 70 (5).
Riley, Susan. (2014) Learning how to advocate for the arts. Retrieved from https://educationcloset.com/2014/05/13/learning-how-to-advocate-for-the-arts/
Timmesh, C. (2014, November 4). Creativity in the classroom (in 5 minutes or less!) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/nASvIgSOCxw
Tite, R, Kavanagh, S. & Novais, C. (2016) Everyone’s an artist: How creativity gives you the edge in everything you do. New York, NY: Collins.