Can you think of something new, different, or original? Can you solve a problem that seems to have only one solution? Can you do it quickly? This skill is Creativity, and if ever there is a time when it is needed and valued, it is now in this century of growth and innovation where the next discovery, the next advancement is just around the corner, and everyone is trying to keep up.
How do we teach “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations?” (Dictionary.com). You got it; it takes CREATIVITY to teach creativity.
Sarah Belin, class of 2016, speaks on Creativity at her commencement in June. In her brief speech, she sheds light on four ways we teach kids to think differently, on how she and her classmates at The Lexington School were trained in Creativity:
- PLAY-More and more research shows play as the imagination’s food. Sarah explains that time on the preschool playground became a world of princesses, monsters, firemen. This time for imaginative play feeds the developing creative brain in a way nothing else can.
- COMBINE-Learning to write and illustrate can happen all at once, and Writers Guild is an example. An integrated approach to teaching skills can happen if teachers take the time to collaborate, especially across disciplines.
- CELEBRATE-You did it! When the creative work is complete, it is time to bring in the marching band and show off a little. A culminating activity, reception, display of student product; these moments give rise to a sense of accomplishment, and that sense leads to “I can do it” the next time a creative challenge presents itself.
- STUDENT CENTER-To DO is to learn. To facilitate active learning, teachers provide the structure but be ready to let the students run with the learning. Sarah talks about FOLSUN where the students created their own countries with complete economies and cultures, and in English class, this “You Can Lead Them to Water” project are specific examples of student-centered Creativity training.
Steve Jobs said, ““Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” Some lucky people might be born with this skill, but the rest can be trained. All it takes is creative teachers and a school that lets them run with it. Sarah and her classmates are well on their way.