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How can we improve education in such a way that it promotes, supports, nurture and facilitates creativity?

We all know that our education systems, worldwide, are killing creativity. This is the cause of all the problems on earth because education is the supplier of human capital to all the industries. So, how can we solve this problem in such a way that maximum results are obtained?

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  • Oct 27 2013: I like to think that we live in a time when many of us are looking for new ways of doing what we do, if only to find a suitable application for our education. The future that we are preparing for might seem like a long way off but even now we are starting to feel the change in how things are done. Creativity-based learning might be the next logical step for education.

    When we apply creativity to education, we remove boundaries. We no longer just have to cure people or build structures, we become motivated to study specific things based on a vision of where and how we will be applying them in the future. Some of us will want to learn how to design for outer space, some will want to establish medicine for zero gravity, and some will think of how the earth will provide for our survival in the next hundred years – it is no longer useful to just dream of skyscrapers and crisp white uniforms. Humanity has to start becoming creative. Otherwise, we might end up with the right skills for the wrong time.

    In order to achieve this, I imagine that there might be a need to change the very structure of education itself. Education has to be more interactive than instructional, teachers will have to learn how to identify individual interests and skills and be able to direct it with the right discussions. There has to be more conversations in the classroom, students have to be taught on the basis that they are meant to discover, explore, and create rather than sit at a table waiting for an assignment. This is not meant to lead to a collapse of the traditional way of doing things. In fact, if done the right way, having creative people working together could be a more efficient way of achieving things. There are many reasons how this cannot possibly work and our twentieth-century minds will always be afraid of things that cannot be immediately measured, but we live in a different time, and those who can imagine where we are headed will be the ones who lead the way
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      Oct 27 2013: Why would you think this cannot work? This is a very common way of teaching in this century. You could look up Constructivism and inquiry-based learning, as examples. Teaching through discourse is entirely common now in k12!
      • Oct 27 2013: Hello Fritzie, thank you for your reply. I actually meant it to be ironic when I said that such a thing would be impossible to implement, I was actually referring to the amount of doubt and criticism that would surface in the face of its introduction. Not least of the criticism would be the cost. As you probably know, schools cannot just change their methods overnight, and not without expense. Teachers themselves will have an opinion about it and the reasons can go on and on, but I am not saying that it cannot be done.

        In spite of what we think, schools continue to produce millions of students who are educated using the same method that was applied to produce armies of assembly-line thinkers. The way it works is that students eventually believe that there are only certain things that they have to learn in order to fit into a very particular role at work, and that represents the entire goal and purpose of education. Students who want to get ahead would naturally aim to acquire letters that go after their names. What they were never told to prepare for, however, are the creatively gifted individuals who can snatch away opportunities without the need for the usual academic requirements.

        We've seen this happen many times, they are the code writers, the entrepreneurs, the artists, inventors, and the many other kinds of creative thinkers who seem to be a step ahead no matter how many degrees and doctorates we acquire – some of them haven’t even attended university. And yet, they succeed while the rest of us labor; and the very simple reason for their success is that their natural creativity is better adapted to the times that we live in. People like them used to be a novelty, but in a world based on constant innovation they are the norm. This is the model for the kind of education that I imagine, dynamic creative thinking leading the way for traditional knowledge.
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          Oct 27 2013: I think new teachers, at least in the US, are typically taught to teach this way, through discussion and inquiry, and the big districts I know encourage it and provide professional development in such teaching methods.. It sometimes takes parents a bit longer to come around, as they were typically taught in a more traditional lecture format when young.

          As I wrote, this sort of open, interactive pedagogy is pretty common now. It has not been novel for a very long time.
      • Oct 27 2013: Hello again Fritizie, I will have to agree with you that it must be common in the States. I was actually describing the situation here in the Philippines, where I live. The school system here is still in the process of evolving into the K12 system and it's not very clear yet how well it can be implemented.

        My hope is that the Philippines and other countries will take the requirements of the 21st century as their cue to look into the possibilities of innovative teaching methods. It's not that hard actually, it's just that old habits die hard sometimes and change is often slow to take root. It is a necessity though, as I mentioned in my last post. Otherwise, we run the risk of having opportunities snatched away by those who've already realized the importance of creative thinking.
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          Oct 27 2013: I have read that some countries in Asia still think of lower ed as a time to convey a large body of facts. Constructivist and inquiry-based methods are not at their strength in conveying bodies of fact. They are suited to objectives related to reasoning, understanding, and application of tools and ideas.

          This is my observation from many years of teaching this way.

          I cannot tell if you are a teacher. In any case, a book I recommend that lays out the rationale and strategies for implementing a pedagogy of this kind is Bransford's How Children Learn. This work is strictly research-based.
      • Oct 28 2013: Hi Fritzie, I’m so sorry for the late reply, I couldn’t keep up with the time difference. You are absolutely right about Lower-Ed being a time when students here encounter a very large volume of facts and figures that they end up just memorizing, the bad thing is that not many students (in the public school system of the Philippines) develop a real appreciation for the subjects they are taught - they just memorize and then fill in the right answer for a quiz or a test to get a good grade and move along to the next hurdle. I think there is a time for memorizing things but it’s also good to have a session where students can then process what they've learned and develop a narrative for why they study it - as it must be in your experience.

        I taught in a gifted school for some time but it was my parents who were professional teachers, they were involved in an effort in the 1990s to develop a proposal (for the Philippines) for creativity-based professional teaching. Their proposal didn't get very far because they weren't able to get government support for it. The gifted program I was involved in has since disappeared as well, due mainly to a lack of funding. I now work in the creative and design industry instead. Even in my present line of work, I still encounter the effects of “old” teaching practices on new graduates. Many of them, I could say, for lack of a better way to describe their situation, have turned out to be “very well-educated non-creatives” – and not for a lack of talent. A lot of them have just been conditioned to work in a particular way where it’s as though they’re afraid to think for themselves.

        Continued in the next post...
      • Oct 28 2013: Continued from the post above...

        Even after a period of time that new graduates have been on the job the effect is still there, you could see from the way they make presentations or manage meetings that they are just trying to fulfil the job description –to make the grade. They make perfect office workers, but for a creative-based job, it’s frustrating for the people who have to work with them. Basically, the new graduates I’ve worked with have never left school. They’re still sitting quietly in class and are just waiting to be given the facts of an assignment. Except now, they expect their client or their boss to act the part of the teacher. This kind of mind-set is good for turn-over but bad for business development efforts later on. The lack of innovative thinking prevents some people from being agile enough to adapt to ever-shifting creative and technological requirements of their work. I think a shift to the method of teaching that you described will improve many of these things.
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          Oct 28 2013: Yes, the style of teaching and of parenting, the focus of evaluation both at home and in school, the person's inclination to take risks, and a person's intrinsic motivation to push the boundaries in the area in which he works all come in to play.

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