Karina Eisner


This conversation is closed.

What place does creativity have in education?

Almost every education related TED video available states or implies that creative thinking is at the center of the learning process and at the root of every breakthrough.
What place do we give creative thinking, free exploration, uncharted discovery in our current educational models?
Are the prevalent public education systems becoming a means to program the masses rather than a way to facilitate discovery, growth and self realization? Are students truly turned into useful citizens, or rather adults trained to respond to induced stimulus in predetermined ways, much like rats in the lab?
Are we afraid of where original thinking can bring us? Are we afraid of change? Are we afraid of losing control? How far are we ready to go to keep it? And do we really think creativity can be killed?


This debate is closed, now what?

….......................................YOU ARE INVITED......................................

WHAT? Stage 2 of this debate, do it!
HOW? Connecting, cooperating, organizing information, sharing our skills, giving ideas, encouraging, writing or blogging, creating a web page, reaching out to our own communities.
WHERE? New TED debate, Creativity in Action
WHEN? Now.

We can overcome geographical, language, age and political barriers. We can make a difference. Let's take the next step. Are you in?

Closing Statement from Karina Eisner

This debate is closed, now what?

….......................................YOU ARE INVITED......................................

WHAT? Stage 2 of this debate, join us!
HOW? Connecting, cooperating, organizing information, sharing our skills,
giving ideas, encouraging, blogging, creating a web page, reaching
out to our own communities.
WHERE? New TED debate, here, Creativity in Action
WHEN? Now.

We can overcome geographical, language, age and political barriers. We can make a difference. Let's take the next step. Are you in?

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    Oct 23 2011: Karina,

    You have given me much to think about because as a high school teacher who feels that technology has allowed me to be artist that I was born to be, I would like to think that by integrating technology into my classes I am giving my kids their Creativity Back. But am I...???

    I expect creative thinking, free exploration, uncharted discovery to happen regularly in my classroom. I expect it but often do not get it. My curriculum demands that I teach my kids to read and respond but I try to leave the ways they respond up to them. I want them to create blog posts, digital stories or even PowerPoints that allow them to express their thoughts and opinions on the subject matter.

    Yes, we all know that the prevalent public education systems are merely a means to program the masses rather than a way to facilitate discovery, growth and self realization but I want to take them above and beyond the required responses. I want them to relate what they've read or seen to things that they are familiar with so that they can create links that take them out of the box.

    NO, I don't believe that we are CHURNING out useful citizens. We are making trained lab rats who give us the answers that we are looking for. I sing and dance when I get out of the box responses whether they are right or wrong. I celebrate their individuality and I try to encourage unusual responses. Many of them are not used to doing this and/or are too scared to respond so I have to fuss and complain to them in hopes of getting more out of them.

    I am not afraid of their individual thinking and often laugh when some of them complain that they want worksheets because what I am asking them to do is too hard. Creativity can be killed if the students do not see the value of it. They turn off their thoughts so that they can supply us with our thoughts. I know what I think. I want the messiness and uncertainty that their original thoughts can bring.

    It helps to keep me honest and on my toes.
    • Oct 23 2011: The reason why I believe your students are not living up to your expectation is because you must be one of the first to demand critical thinking and creativity of your students. They are used to "cutting and pasting" from a textbook to a worksheet as their homework, for that is all most teachers and the educational system usually demand of us.

      Anyway, I applaud for your attempts at incorporating creativity and critical thinking into the educational system. Don't stop trying!
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        Oct 23 2011: Thanks Alonso,

        I try to convince myself that that is the case and I am asking them to move out of their comfort zone. That's the only thing that keeps my trying. It is frustrating when they keep asking me "What is the answer?" and I keep replying "I don't know. What do you think?"

        I know that they have to be trained to think independently.
        • Oct 24 2011: Valerie, maybe you should try to spread this to the other teachers. Convince them to require critical thinking and to not care as much about the students getting the answer's right so long as they are using their brain. If the whole school starts to require critical thinking and to teach the students how to think critically and independently, your students might start to use these qualities more often. I know this is rather far-fetched, but it's worth a try. And who knows, if you get the whole school changed, it might start spreading to other schools in your district.
    • Oct 24 2011: Valerie, I sympathize for you, and it does sound frustrating.
      When you say that the students are to scared to respond, this seems to be a broken record, because I'm hearing it a lot, and noticing it in my school education.
      I have an idea that you might want to try, to get some responses that will probably shock you.
      Try to get them to react to something being anonymous. If they know that they can say something with out anyone knowing it was them, maybe you just might find the real creativeness that's in the class.
      And then see where that will take you and the students.
      The more creative you are doing this, the more you'll get creative answers, maybe.
      Instead of thinking out of the box, maybe we need to start thinking out side a bubble. A box has six sides to choose from, when a bubble has only one side, and that's out.
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        Oct 24 2011: Clever!

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        Oct 24 2011: Dan LOVE the bubble and will probably use that in class.

        I do ask for them to do other things and sometimes I get good responses so some of them are getting it. We make photomovies, blog, wikipages, wordles,etc. Many of them see and appreciate the connections between what they normally do in class and the techie things that I ask them to do.

        Thanks everyone for your great words and advice. I will keep up the big fight and try to get them to think OUTSIDE of the bubble.
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        Oct 24 2011: One tool I have found to be effective in promoting anonymous brainstorming is Pirate Pad, a free text collaboration tool. http://piratepad.net/front-page/
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        Oct 24 2011: One tool I have found to be effective in promoting anonymous brainstorming is Pirate Pad, a free text collaboration tool. See http://piratepad.net/front-page/ Anonymity can be powerful in promoting freedom of expression in the classroom and boardroom.
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      Oct 24 2011: Valerie,
      Thanks for giving us an honest look at your daily efforts in class.

      I agree with Alonso, it is possible that the students are just not used to think out of the box. Maybe you can motivate them by finding a few original, surprising projects along the lines of what you expect.
      I'd show them something totally above their means (not, "this is what I'd like it to look like").
      Something crazy and inspiring. Something in multimedia, intercultural, international. Maybe make it yourself! A collage of the best music in the world (classical and contemporary), the best architecture, inventions, poetry, speeches, paintings, quotes, even food.

      Stimulate them by helping them REMEMBER (because it is all in there)

      Just take them for the trip of their life into what they could be!
      Stay in touch and let us know how it went :-)
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        Oct 24 2011: Karina,

        We are working on poetry now and I don't just want them to write poetry, I want them to produce poetry slam videos.

        I want them to record themselves performing poetry that they have written. Some of them will use templates to write their poems if they do not feel comfortable creating their own. I won't require them to talk on camera if they are uncomfortable. They can make voice recordings and then create screencasts with visuals to go along with ther recordings.

        Many of them are not used to recording themselves and I am trying to get them to feel comfortable by not requiring them to use the video camera, etc.

        I know that this is pseudo creativity because I am giving them the format/venue to express themselves but I am doing it in a way that allows them freedom to incorporate other aspects of their creativity. I think of it as creativity on training wheels.

        I figure that if I introduce them to enough things that are new to them that they will eventually feel empowered enough to do their own thing. We have started using Weebly for ePortfolios and Animoto for PhotoMovies and I have students who have created their own websites and photomovies to help friends and family keep in contact. I was floored.

        I will let everyone know how our work goes. Thanks for all of your comments.
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    Oct 23 2011: Well, perhaps you would want to hear the voice of a student also on this topic.
    As a student, I honestly do not see that creativity is being encouraged in school. The education it offers lead to stagnation of developing ideas.

    The freedom for a student to speak his own opinion lies dominantly on the teacher whose charater is willing enough to receive the student's point of view regarding a subject. Other than that, only a few being supportive. The curriculum sometimes enforce these scholars to gain quick information based on the textbooks since there is a limited period for each course. (For ex: a teacher must finish a topic within a week, unabling him to demostrate a more enterprising and innovative teaching.) In the end, these teachers are lack of will to use alternative way of teaching and instead, they just used the common way of teaching their students through monotonous lectures.

    Schools in developing countries have poor concern about this issue. They encourage the students to expand more on the academic performances rather than the outgoing skills which are needed soon in the work field. Emotional intelligence also matters as a part of stimulator for the student to gain a broad, bold and creative mindset.

    However, although most universities nowadays take a look on social activities which are stated in their CVs or personal statements, a vast majority of them are actually taking only a bit into consideration these kind of achievements. And later on, in the university life, the student will be required to stick to the courses without having the opportunity to change them.

    You can take an outlook over this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/159/indian-engineers-education
    (Why Education Without Creativity Is Not Enough)

    "In India, it takes engineers two to three years to recover from the damage of the education system."
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      Oct 23 2011: Well, of course, all students are welcome. In this matter you are experts!

      I appreciate your input.

      I see two main points that you make:
      One is the status of education in the classroom in developing countries, where you find a focus on performance (not real world skills) and book based teaching and monotonous lectures.
      The other is that universities (in developing countries?)do not really take into account achievements (which ones?) and, once student is enrolled, do not give students a chance to work on them.

      Thanks for the link. I guess your intent is for it to support your point of the situation in India, since the article says, "The U.S. education system is much more geared to innovation and practical application,[...]It's really good from high school onward." So I will not consider that you follow the small dialogue above.

      The article actually tells us that there is a desperate need to fill job vacancies, and despite the huge number of graduating engineers, "India's schools can't keep up with demand." There is pressure to fill that workplace need, and that is part of the reason the study modality is so focused.
      This is a complex issue deeply interconnected with the socioeconomic profile of the country. That creativity is not encouraged in engineering is to me an oxymoron, as it should be one of the areas where it should bloom. Obviously you can't change everything, but do you see anything you could do where you are, today?

      Bring awareness, post articles in the local newspaper, create a club? Other?
      Would you like to stay and help put together a pool of ideas, and draw from it for your own scenario?
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        Oct 23 2011: I'm sorry, maybe I was just struggling to use the formal language and in the end I got off topic since I did not read that small but inspiring dialogue you wrote below the question.

        *what I meant in my comment was most prestigious universities only see academic performance and overlook the activities of student being involved in social/art events or in creative organisation (only portfolios being noticed)

        I do agree with "creativity is not encouraged in engineering is to me an oxymoron".
        Let me try again and go straight to my actual main point: Action.

        Small Scale: supported by parents, friends' habits, country's cultures

        (parents encourage kids to do simple science praticals and fun arts handmade at home, demonstrate the importance of creativity in education thru schools' mini events arranged by the student councils, show some movies to youth to show them how lacking creativity can cost a lot to their future so that they will take the level of creativity in their school life seriously and so the same goes to the teachers; if these are done, automatically, the school's atmosphere changes leading to change in the city and hopefully, the nation.)

        Bigger Scale: supported by government and the curriculas

        (government should take better control on the amount of students per class so teachers could manage them better and stimulate an interactive discussion with the students so they'll be unafraid to confess their creative ideas; who knows an innovator might be unobserved in the classroom? the curricula should also provide a chance for the student to grow creativities.

        I think my friends and I am actually working towards emphasizing creativity among students.
        Currently, I'm endeavouring to manage an art exhibition in Jakarta, gathering all the scattered talents which lie inside the students in many schools around Indonesia. (performing and visual arts)
        I hope this will raise people' concern abt importace of any types of creativity in any field.

        Wish me luck :-)
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          Oct 23 2011: Good luck!

          And thanks for all the suggestions, you gave this a great deal of thought!
          Stay in touch to continue sorting out the creativity puzzle and getting ideas on some practical solutions...
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      Oct 23 2011: The article describes the US colleges as much better in developing creativity and innovation in its graduates. But there are different viewpoints on this. Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President, Council on Competitiveness states that "… creativity must be a fundamental goal of liberal education.… few colleges or universities today see their role as the education of truly creative, entrepreneurial innovators." in an article. See here: ( http://www.aacu.org/peerreview/pr-sp06/pr-sp06_analysis3.cfm ). Maybe we're not has good as we'd like to think?
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    Oct 18 2011: I was actually considering getting a group of students together to discuss not just this issue, but issues with society as a whole. I have a very inspiring Democracy teacher that could probably assist me in this.

    Another point I think should be brought up is that schools only measure certain types of intelligence. In honesty I feel that in school they only teach you how to briefly memorize information and to follow orders. To do what one is told (although sometimes a good idea) is one of the roots to all problems in our society. Sadly that philosophy too often gets me into trouble
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      Oct 18 2011: Dylan,

      "To do what one is told (although sometimes a good idea) is one of the roots to all problems in our society." I have a different opinion of this issue. I think when a society is led by enlightened leaders with reasonable and just rules, then doing what one is told is likely to be good for the well-being of the society. This still requires the individual to think for himself/herself of course and use judgment. Blindly doing what one is told is not a good thing. My point is "don't throw out the baby with the bath water."

      I agree that schools tend to selectively measure only a few types of intelligence - namely verbal, logical, mathematical applied in an analytical manner. Schools seldom measure generative ability. Maybe because schools are still developing a traditional workforce rather than creative thinkers for the new economy.

      What is one thing you could do with your Democracy teacher to encourage other students to think creatively?
      All you need to begin is you and one or two others who share the same passion for this topic to begin spreading your ideas. Remember that memes are powerful and infectious.

      Good luck!
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        Oct 18 2011: Peter, it is good that we can take turns :-) Sometimes we have to sleep too, right? RIGHT?

        Thanks for your great references, links, and thoughts; your mind never stops amazing me! Your enthusiasm for this subject is contagious, I can't wait to see what becomes of this collaboration :-)
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      Oct 18 2011: Dylan,

      Excited to read your post! You clearly show that your own creativity is very much alive. When you realize it is there, you get a glimpse of the enormous potential that lies within each one of us to affect change.

      And it may sound cliche, but YOU CAN change the world, one goal at the time.

      Often times it doesn't require you to hold an anti-establishment flag, risk your life, or leave your current way of life. It does not require an amazing IQ either.
      What it does call for is a fundamental SHIFT, in the way of thinking. No, you won't become a geek, or turn into an outcast for doing that, but you will regain an inner awareness of your thinking process, and start seeing everyone around you as part of a global team. No longer competing against each other, you will see allies in classmates, teachers, average city people, local institutions and large companies. You will be able to identify worthy goals and find ways to utilize resources (human and otherwise) in that direction, and it will not even feel like an effort.

      KUDOS to you for identifying a need in your own situation and taking initiative!!!

      Please, stay in touch. Many here are thinking in the same direction, and although the issue looks different once you take it to the local level, it is the same in essence, same platform, same goals.
      I would love to hear how your challenge takes shape, what you work out with your teacher (s), how you involve others into this transformation :-)

      A local group in my area is moving out of the ideas into the field as well. We are thinking of ways to keep us connected (regionally and globally) and feed each other, brainstorm and apply strategies to real problems. You are more than welcome to join us, there are more meaningful ways to make it happen beyond emails or postings back and forth...
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    Oct 13 2011: Responding to Karina's request "So, TED problem finders, I'd like to request that in every entry you will make the effort to propose solutions, resources, links, examples of successful interventions, keeping in mind that we don't want to fill several virtual pages with theory, nagging and bitterness."

    I would like to share that in our home-school, we recognize that creative output is enhanced by: 1) the application of mundane thinking processes to 2) a knowledge base that is broad and agile (data that is store in such a way that makes it easy to extract bits of information) 3) plus the application of techniques for "playing" with the data in combinatorial and transformational ways 4) plus a great deal of perseverance and hard work. We acknowledge that the potential for creative output is innate and that people can express this potential in a variety of ways in a variety of disciplines. We also believe that this potential can be cultivated, refined, and enhanced through teachable techniques and a great deal of structured practice. There still persists a romantic notion of creativity that if we only remove the obstacles, creative expression will naturally flow and reach its apogee in individuals. This views discounts the huge benefit that technique, knowledge, hard work, and mindset has to bring to creative output. In particular, knowledge seems to be dismissed as an important element of creative output. Maybe that is because creativity is commonly associated with the the arts as opposed to the more technical domains such as engineering. The more knowledge bits one has, the exponentially more combinations of those knowledge bits are possible in the person's mind.

    Hard work is often excluded from talk of creativity. Maybe this is due to the myth of ideas just "popping into one's head" as opposed to a deliberate, sustained effort over time.

    So one solution/resource I offer is our model for promoting/developing creative capability in our family. End of Part 1.
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      Oct 14 2011: Peter, the system only lets me give you one thumb. Thanks for enlightening us again. Great plan!

      You explained it very thoroughly.
      One thing resonates with me, as a member of a household of artists :-)
      "[The potential for creativity] can be cultivated, refined, and enhanced through teachable techniques and a great deal of structured practice. There still persists a romantic notion of creativity that if we only remove the obstacles, creative expression will naturally flow and reach its apogee in individuals. This views discounts the huge benefit that technique, knowledge, hard work, and mindset has to bring to creative output."

      This is so critical! And it is true for artists, who would not get anything done if they only depended on that magical moment of inspiration, the right light, etc. But as you pointed out, it is also true for ANY other discipline. When writers have a "writer's block" they write. They resort to techniques to make progress whenever their pen refuses to just flow. When inventors don't get it right, they persevere and use methods to try alternatives until the ideal solution does come up.
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    Oct 9 2011: My experience is in the field of innovation. Here you can verify that a "good idea", as an act of creativity, is a trigger of an innovation process but does not guarantee the result, which is expected to be, at the end of the process, an Innovation, recognized by the society and/or by the market.
    We (a team of Coaches and Executives, here in Italy) discovered that other two key competences will be necessary to start a virtuous circle and are: problem solving in order to overcome the obstacles, and "expression" (we used this word) in order to involve, convince, share with others because we need their help and competence to pursue the result.
    In fact we start from a "good idea" (ideation or invention or creativity), we let it grow and become "strong" through the problem solving, we bring it to success through involvement, communication, sharing.
    The "learning" then happens when you perform several virtuous cycles along a "spiral", I like to say, giving you an image for learning. Moreover we have to consider two other forces which enable a good and effective innovation process. They are Consciousness and Willing. The Consciousness allows you to enlarge your perception of your own motivation and of other people motivation. The Willingness is the determination, energy that you spend to reach the results surmouting the difficulties.
    • Oct 12 2011: Reading your comment was like looking at a well balance piece of sculpture. It all fits and sits beautifully together. Can I quote you in my class: "Problem solving and decision making skills"?
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    Oct 5 2011: I find political correctness to be a compensating, obfuscating and judgmental strategy for jacking up feelings of inadequacy. Your first paragraph is much improved. I am not in disagreement and I think you get the point.

    As for your second paragraph, who do you think you are?

    Paragraph three: Outward Bound IS a sport. I made a distinction between competitive sports and cooperative sports that apparently sailed past you.

    And 4- You need to get in touch with the fact that jocks are commonly considered bullies in high school (ask any geek, nerd, skater, goth, emo, punk, headbanger, etc.), why do you defend them? Why are you so patronizing? Why do you play the role of moral crusader?

    McGiver remains an excellent role model for creative thinking for kids. Your invocation of the ancillary plot components- corporate ties and violence, are a canard and specious sophistry.

    I don't mean to be argumentative, that's your turf, I'm just trying to guide you towards a more enlightened and reality based interpretive frame of reference.
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        Oct 6 2011: Although I would say rejection is the only cause, as jealousy and envy arise from it.
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          Oct 8 2011: Yes, rejection can be traumatizing particularly during a phase in growth where kids are trying to find their place in the world and become qualified for adulthood.
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    Oct 4 2011: There is a quote posted in the front hall of my children's school.

    "In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." - Eric Hoffer

    As someone pointed out already, creativity is learning. Without the creative ability to imagine uses for the information, all you end up doing is memorizing what is being taught. Creativity is a key part of our ability to adapt to new situations.
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        Oct 5 2011: I haven't read all of the posts, so I'm not sure who you are all referring to when you mention the fragile bottle of creativity. That fragile bottle mentality is what's causing the problems related to creativity. Creativity isn't something that should only be used at special occasions. It is something that should be used constantly. The problem that our society is facing, is a mentality that creativity is only appropriate in a very limited number of uses. It should be used constantly, and in every aspect of life. The most creative person I have ever met, was a janitor. The abstract solutions that he came up with to different cleaning problems that he was faced with was out right amazing. His ability to pull two items out of a garbage can, combine them, and use the new "tool" to assist in his cleaning left a huge impression upon me.

        I would argue that many classrooms are void of creativity. The teacher or professor states a list of facts, and the students are expected to memorize those facts. The students may come up with creative ways to help them memorize, but the memorized information hasn't been learned, only remembered. If it's taken out of the context that it was memorized in, then many fail to see the relation until it is shown to them. It's not that they lack creativity, but they lack the creative base on which to build upon.

        I have always encouraged my children to ask the question "why?". I feel that it helps learn the cause of the outcome that they are viewing. A tree is just a tree, until you ask "why does it grow?"
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        Oct 5 2011: 500 classrooms a year, and not once have you ever been required to memorize facts in a non-creative way?

        Perhaps you could explain how you learned history?
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          Oct 9 2011: Grrrr, I certainly appreciate the courage of those that state an idea and dare to stand up for it.

          Mike, sorry that you too were left talking to the hand. The guy removed his comments. It messed up the dialogue, but yes, I wonder with you, never memorized anything?

          I wonder further: 500 classroom a year????
          Well, come to think of it, it is possible to go through that many if you are Good Will Hunting... somehow our guy didn't seem to be that kind...
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    Sep 28 2011: Creativity, in its basic understanding, is comparable to the birth of a newborn. True creation is the emergence of something entirely new in the physical and material dimension that we perceive. It can not be solely the result of logical reasoning. Creativity can take place only upon a penetrating vision of something that was previously unknown. It requires an intuitive ability that enables a leap in the field of mystery before integrating it into the domain of the known.
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      Oct 2 2011: Wonderful !!
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      Oct 2 2011: Alex, you are right on target, I think!
      You know, I am repeating myself here, but that's what Socrates said 400 years before Christ...
      His school of thought was actually called the Maieutics, which means "midwifery", and consisted in giving birth to new ideas from within, through questions, not instruction. These questions made the indiviual confront whatever knowledge he already had and test it...
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        Oct 3 2011: Maieutics, giving birth to new ideas from within, through questions, not instruction.

        An art of teaching as used by Socrates based on the idea that the truth is latent in the mind of every human being due to innate reason but has to be "given birth" by answering intelligently proposed questions (or problems).
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    Sep 27 2011: I am an artist and the Author of BEST SELLING training DVDs and I worked on a personal project for 6 years and I came up with a system for education that uses Game, Movies, interactive media , dance and .... It uses visuals, Sounds, Kinesthetic , reading and writing , all four.

    We tested this in a preschool and kids were crazy about it, the same kids who were skipping the classes by pretending to be sick could not wait for this, I loved it they loved it . I am a Film maker, I know how to use my creativity to make people get excited and have fun. So what happened next ?

    I live in Iran and when I spoke to some people from the Ministry of Teaching do you know what they said ?

    We know it is great and amazing but it is OVERLY FUN and if kids get used to an educational system like this , they won't be able to continue their education without it , we have to change entire system from top to bottom and we won't do that .

    They rejected it because it is OVERLY FUN !!! Fun is not a good for kids to get used to !! it was simply against their ideas.

    by the way I know you are active in another talk about education , so I would delete this if you want me to.
    • Sep 27 2011: Great story Amir. Let's hear it for overly fun learning.
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        Sep 27 2011: I could do a conference on this , about what I came up with , what I did , the videos of the kids , the things that we did , the reaction they had , and finally the great Tragic ending :(

        they feel fun is a wrong feeling to have for a humans :(

        Is not fun the best thing we have ? Who would wanna live without fun ? That is not living that is just staying alive
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          Sep 27 2011: Nooo, don't assume it is the end! Ok, you realized that wasn't the market for your idea. You have several options, three of them are:
          * store away your program for now and think what else will properly serve the people you intended to help AND get through the educational authorities (but if it means under-serving the children, I wouldn't),
          * find a way to put it in place independently of the ministry of education,
          * take your system to another, more receptive market.
          Ideas worth spreading should not be killed :-) If you think this is one of them, stick to it!
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          Sep 27 2011: I would love to see you present your project on TED, please make it happen :). You're also likely to connect with people who can take it further; people who are involved in non-conformist education systems, or who have the resources to (r)evolutionise some of the decrepit aspects of current education.
  • Sep 26 2011: The general system of education, based in "testing" has killed many a creative urge. But school should teach people how to learn, how to think (and I don't mean just reason), and how to explore. Yes I believe in teaching maths, science, english lit and history. I am thankful for good teachers I had that taught me those things.

    Creativity can be squashed, but not destroyed. I think it is a lot like life itself, it just keeps popping back up.
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    Sep 26 2011: I don't believe the shift away from creativity in schools is caused by fear. I believe it was fueled by a desire to measure success. Creativity, like art, is very subjective, and therefore extremely difficult to measure. What would happen if we attempted to have a standardized test for art or drama? All we succeed in doing, is remove any motivation to learn anything beyond what is in the test.

    When I was in highschool, all we were taught were items that were on the provincial exam, and how to score as high as possible. What we actually knew made no difference. All that mattered, was how high you scored. Because of that limitation, all of my teachers had their hands tied. They had to teach us one style of thought. The style that would give us the best score. Now as a child, my mother was an elementary school teacher. I know that creativity is taught to small children. At the younger grades, we do not teach through memorization. We teach by giving a problem, and asking the class how to solve it. We do this because it helps the children to understand what the problem is. The benefit, is it also forces children to think creatively. Teachers are constantly surprised by the strange solutions that children come up with. At the higher levels of education, it becomes all about memorization, and creative or abstract solutions are typically suppressed. Even in the creative fields of art. You are not allowed to do it differently, as it makes it harder for the teacher to grade your work. It's far easier for the teacher to grade the quality of your painting, if everyone uses the same paints and brushes. It's about the quality, as opposed to the creativity.

    So no, I don't believe that it is being fueled by a fear of change or lose of control. I believe that it is fueled by a need for measurable success. No, creativity can never be killed, but it can be suppressed. If we are taught that creativity is bad, we stop being creative. The positive is that it still resides inside of us.
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      Sep 26 2011: "Shift away"?

      Like there was a focus on creativity at some point?

      Let's face it, the education system has tiers into which children are slotted for their expected long-term level of productivity. We've gone from churning out workers for Henry Ford to churning out the mandatory 6% unemployed (NRU), future investment banker-thieves-politicians (where do you think the ones who cheat on tests and have the teachers turn a blind eye to it go?), and the rest of the masses/messes who might claw their way to middle management and consider it an accomplishment.

      The education system is just one pillar of the fundamentally corrupt society - and I am not talking about capitalism/socialism/whatever-ism you'd like.
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        Sep 26 2011: Have you seen this talk Gisela?

        This is a real teacher and I don't think he will fit into your definition of education as a pillar of corrupt society. Anyway I'm a teacher myself and I can assure you that I truly stand behind the words of this man and on the shoulders of my own teachers. They sent me to extracurricular activities; shaped, developed and nurtured my opinion and creativity! I can only be sorry that you didn't go to my school and met my teachers.
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          Sep 26 2011: There have always been individual teachers who break the mold - I had a few. They usually end up being penalized somehow.

          But the system overall is what I meant.

          EDIT: I am listening to the talk right now, thanks.
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          Sep 27 2011: Silvia, thanks for sharing that! Inspiring, challenging...
        • Sep 28 2011: I saw it today, it was greatly inspiring and I wish more teachers did stuff like this teacher is.
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        Sep 26 2011: You bring 10 apples to school, to be shared between yourself and two of your friends. How many apples should the three of you get, so that everyone gets the same amount?

        Go to the store during recess, and buy 2 more apples, so that everyone has 4 apples.

        Everyone gets 3 apples, and give the extra to the teacher.

        Everyone gets 1 apple because they can't eat two, and give the rest to the food bank.

        3 and 1/3 apples each.

        When you remove the constraints of conformity, you are left with creativity.
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          Sep 27 2011: You bring some interesting points, and this is a great one: for each question there is more than one correct answer! This is a good visual to explain creativity.
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        Sep 26 2011: Penalized? Hm, come to think of it that might have been the case with some of the great ones I've met (unfortunately). Hope that you enjoyed the talk. You're welcome. :) I also enjoyed the ones of sir Ken Robinson but I think you've already watched them.
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        Sep 27 2011: Gisela,
        You're sharp and absolutely right.
        Do you have more answers?
        Are people afraid of creativity?
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          Sep 28 2011: I think "creativity" and "control" are seen by too many as being diametrically opposed.

          And while I wish I had all the answers, I see it as being a broken system built on a broken foundation and any remedies that are suggested without taking that into account are purely cosmetic and doomed to ultimately fail.
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      Sep 27 2011: Mike, you said, I don't believe the shift away from creativity in schools is caused by fear. I believe it was fueled by a desire to measure success.
      Let me ask you then why is the current system so intent in constantly measuring? Everything is measured, from the raw material (the child) to his progress, performance, achievements, abilities, disabilities, strengths, weaknesses, potential -you name it. It measures weekly and by-weekly. Kids are always taking tests, and teachers are forever inputting data that they have no time to evaluate anyway before the next shower of data comes along. The system measures against arbitrary standards that change every year (why are they even called "standards"?) Is it not because of a desire to control every aspect of the process, and then the outcome itself? And why the need to control the results, if not a fear of the unpredictable, fear of the original, fear of the individual? An individualistic society afraid of the individual!? Could it be?
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        Sep 27 2011: I like your statement of "an individualistic society afraid of the individual". That may very well be, but I see the push for standardized testing being done for political reason. If a politician were to say "students are learning more, just take my word for it", no one would believe him or her as politicians are known to say whatever it takes in order to get into office. Now if a politician were to hold up a graph, showing the "improvements" that have been measured by standardized testing, then people are more likely to believe. We also do it under a misguided attempt to eliminate any bad teachers. As if a bad teacher will have an immediate and drastic impact on the IQ of a student. Bad teachers, are more easily found through measuring complaints, rather then student success. As a student's success is based off of a wide range of factors. Far more then simply the teacher that they have at that moment in time.

        The most likely reason why I don't believe that the standardized testing is being fueled by fear, is that where I live we're at a bit of a tipping point with them. Few teachers have ever been in favor of them, and the government is beginning to acknowledge that the tests are often counter productive. We're just unsure of what the proper balance of it should be, as we do need SOME standardization, but not at every level.

        I would have to ask, but I believe it currently sits at four standardized tests during the grades K-12 (grades 3, 6, 9, and 11 or 12), and optional provincial exams on academic courses for the grades 10-12. The provincial exams are not a requirement of graduating highschool, but many universities require them as proof of basic knowledge, and the government requires them for qualifying for any government scholarships.
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        Sep 27 2011: You're welcome! So lucky to have friends who teach me well. :)
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    Oct 26 2011: To the TEDsters that made this fun and challenging, kudos for great teamwork, and participation :-)

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Mike Euverman, Gisela McKay, Silvia Marinova, Joseph Perez , Frans Kellner, James Kindler, Michael M, Fritzie Reisner, Amir Azizi Sarajy, Orlando Hawkins, Rosie Waygood, Mark Hurych, Shokrullah Amiri, Lynn Lee, Ed Schulte, Salim Solaiman, Albert Ip , Jim Moonan, Jessica Figueroa, Daniel Howard, Lozano Garcia, Tim blackburn, Jagdish Patel, Frank Rothstein, John R Schuh, Craig Patterson, Mary Mascaraque, Alex Mero, Christopher Thompson, Juliette Zahn, Mo Jacoby, Eduard Ghiur, Udit Kumar Sahoo, Amira Makhlouf, Tee Cee, Keith David Henry, Christa Hollis, Rahul Misra, Thomas Brucia, George Kong, Tavaris Eiland, Walter Radtke, terry wilkinson, Just Schoolit, David Mays, Unanima Theatre, Thadeus Frei , Nicholas Lukowiak, Durvesh Shinde, Bryan Gilbert, Rebecca Hader, Felix Lanzalaco,Erich Kreppenhofer, Brittney Stewart, Robert Vantage, Phillip McKay, Susanne Gannon, Stern Rockwell, renzo provedel, Leslie Saunders, Melissa Csikszentmihályi, Stephen Camm, Rasik Hulsogi, vishneswar reddy, Shobhit Agarwal, Greg McWhorter, vinay kallat, Dylan Gonzalez, Thomas Brooks, Scott MacAfee, Craig Patterson, Sanket Gupta, Jake Williams, Emmanuel Mashandudze, Chae Hiang Chua, dan philips, Cleo Abram, Alonso Espinosa-Domínguez, Jessica Mashael Bordelon AlMisbah, Gloria Felicia, Ayelet Lazarovitch, R Vishnu prasad, Jacinto Ela, dan philips, Brandon Alexander, Varlan Allan, Valerie Burton, Nick Belt, Richard Horowitz, Pascal-Xavier Van de Goor, Nicholas Ravencroft, Patrick Lu, Luigi Vampa, Jaime Lubin, Andrea Grazzini Walstrom, and Peter Han
  • Oct 26 2011: The major problem with education is in standardized testing. Specifically in multiple choice testing. Instead of open-ended questions, questions are now confined to four or five answers -- which promotes the memorize and regurgitate style of learning.

    This becomes a huge problem in math. Instead of using tools (formulas, methods) to solve problems, the tools become the solution to problems.

    Example: everyone learns about factoring in algebra II. In most schools in the US, it is taught by the FOIL method. So one of the "problems" that the teacher might give is expand (x+1)(x+2), or factor x^2+2x+1. And that would be the extent of learning factoring. So now, most kids should know and understand the concept of factoring, right? But what happens when you give most kids this problem: How many positive two-digit integers are factors of 2^24-1? Because this question wasn't given in the familiar form based on x's, many kids cannot solve this problem. But the method is the same, factor this expression into (2^12+1)(2^12-1) and so on. From there, you will need to find the prime factorization of the expression, and play around with the numbers a little bit to find out how many two digit integers are factors. The problem certainly isn't easy, but most kinds won't even know how to approach the problem because it wasn't given to them in a form that was explicitly taught to them. And this is where education fails kids -- what happens when society encounters a situation that hasn't been seen before, will the new generation be able to problem solve their way out of it, or will they be stuck with it because they weren't taught a solution?

    There's a good article, albeit long(25 pages), about the issues in math right now.
    • Oct 26 2011: I agree that standardized tests are a major problem. I think another big problem with these tests is that they don't measure intelligence and academic skill nearly as well as they are supposed to, but instead they measure how good the tester does with this type of test. Grades also have this problem. And this is horrible because to a bright person with learning differences who doesn't do well with these tests (due to their structure), it can be very demoralizing.
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        Oct 26 2011: Alonso,

        Have you read Peter Han's comments on standardized tests/measurement?

        Look for it below, it will help you to understand how this tests come into play in the whole puzzle. As it is today, measurement is necessary. While individualized, informal assessment still takes place to some extent in classrooms, it is a very rare thing and certainly not what drives your GPA.
        That said, it is a good thing that you have noted that different learning styles need to be addressed differently, because your own journey is just beginning.

        While you can't do much to change the way your previous education was imparted, you do have choices for the future. And knowing your learning style will be instrumental in relationships, work, etc.

        Google open curriculum colleges, also pass or fail colleges. Some have adopted an open platform where you can navigate their whole menu of courses through the 4-5 years of college, and try different things outside of your major. The pass/fail system let's you go for things that you may not be too strong at, but have an interest in, without risking a blotch on your transcripts. My daughter tried Swahili that way, and loved it!

        Food for thought...
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      Oct 26 2011: Patrick, you bring very interesting issues. As a teacher I understand your frustration, weather you experience this inequality yourself or you see it in your class...
      Please, come to the next debate and help us to find ways to make it better. You'll see several other students all over the globe have the same complain.

      And BTW, thanks for the link!
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    Oct 25 2011: During this last day of this wonderful conversation, I would like to thank our host Karina Eisner for first creating this conversation space and secondly for working tirelessly to recognize, reinforce, re-frame, retort, reflect and respect the sharings of the various contributors of this conversation.

    A little review of this conversation thread will reveal that Karina often worked into the wee hours of the morning for her to nurture this conversation. She has provoked, prodded and poked us into stretching our thinking on this important issue in her unique style.

    I have copied this entire conversation thread onto a MS Word document to archive for my further reflection. It's easy to do by simply cutting and pasting from this website.

    I look forward to seeing you all on other TED conversations that either relate to this topic or focus on an entirely different topic. I wish you all success in your creative ventures and thank you for your interest in promoting creativity in education around the globe. Never has so much depended on creative minds. Keep the faith in this mission. It's worth the exhaustion and frustration. It will reach a tipping point. Let us serve as the vital nudge that tips the monument over.

    Best regards,

    Peter Han
    Houston, TX USA
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      Oct 26 2011: [blushing]

      Honored to have you here, enlightening us with your thoughts and unending resources... and helping us test the maximum datat capacity of the TED.com site ;-)

      See you soon to continue this interconnected dialogue...
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    Oct 25 2011: In my opinion and experience people (teachers & parents) are in general scared of creativity because it's not what they're used too, after all we live in a concervative society.

    Schools, from kindergarten to university, should enhance and support creativity. But parents as well, you can't leave everything to the schoolsystem. You know your kid best so it's up to you to create an environment in which it's creativity is supported. And to be honest I think it's hard for schools to support every kids in its creativity. Every kid has different points of interest and talents, you can't support all of that of all of them with our standardized education system. For that we must go to personalized learning system like Sir Ken Robinson said, but that isn't affordable for most of the population I think. So we need to find an affordable solution which doesn't deviate too much from the "normal" (to be accepted by others) to bring more creativity to the next generation.

    In my experience in school you have a handful of teachers who urge you to be creative and supports every creative idea. I was lucky enough to have class from all of them and being a creative person I learned a lot from them in and out of class. Other students who weren't that creative didn't like their classes because it wasn't what they were used too. We need to isolate the creative ones from the non-creative ones and focus on the creative ones. And I think parents support creativity to a certain level as long as it's not too creative. I had more support for my creativeness in school than at home, that's not normal either. I would expect the opposite.

    Point is: Parents, gather other creative parents, become a member of the school board, start by changing something small to convince the others and then you can tackle bigger things.

    (sorry if things aren't clear I had to write down all my thougts fast because I need to go back in class and if I didn't write them down I'd forgot them by the time I get home)
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    Oct 25 2011: Relating to Amira's posts and Andrea's response regarding "tips" and "roots", the practice of "Positive Deviance" may be relevant to Amira's goals. Take a look: http://www.positivedeviance.org/ This practice arose out of desperation many years ago in Viet Nam, where a researcher was desperate to find a way to curb childhood malnutrition. The researcher observed that a small minority of locals had discovered a solution and named them the positive deviants.
    • Oct 25 2011: Peter! Thank you for the site, I like the name even without looking into it yet. I will explore this further and keep you posted. Thank you.
  • Oct 25 2011: My experience is that education does not value creativity in the slightest; it values obedience. The obedient will always outperform the creative in school. In life I think it's the other way around.
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    Oct 23 2011: Karina,

    To share with you how young people were engaged in a creative solution in my community:

    Students wanted to skateboard. They found one of their favorite places to do so was the high school parking lot. (As a former hockey player -- I know why -- it's far most exciting to dodge danger than just coast merrily along the sidewalk!)

    Needless to say, the adults didn't think this was a very good idea. Though many understood outdoors exercise with friends is far preferable way for young people to work out social and physical energies and get their excitement than the alternatives.

    Leaders engaged the youth in creative solutions. The students told our Mayor that the city needed to build them a skateboard park. To which the Mayor offered something to the effect of:"If you take leadership in creating it, I'll put you in touch with leaders who can help you with the planning, designing, building, management and governance of it."

    We now have a skateboard park -- a culmination of the energies and creativity of youth and the experience and relationships of adults.

    Youth have something to do, Police have fewer calls to the high school to stop skaters. Leaders are proud. Because, in the process, alliances have been made between "rulle-making adults" and "boundary-pushing kids" not least of these is collaborative respect, pride and empowerment of diverse sectors, ages and interests of local citizens.

    Who, through doing creatively, are constructing concentric layers scaffolded by real relationships and co-engaged solutions that solve problems and strengthen self and cultural identities --- all while encouraging more of the same.

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      Oct 24 2011: What a great example! Thanks for sharing, we have motivation, negotiation, and resolution. It doesn't sound difficult when we take it one step at a time...

      I hope the young TEDsters here can take heart and see that [whatever the problem is] they can handle it, it can be done.

      I hope they can rekindle the I CAN frame of mind with which they started out this journey...

      I hope we can make it happen, not only their quality of life is at stake, but our future is in their hands as well.
      When I pass the baton, I want to be excited to know that they are bursting with ideas on what to do to make this a better place...

      PS:: did you get my email? It did work at one point...
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        Oct 24 2011: Karina,

        I actually have a good deal of confidence that young people can create and collaborate in quite robust solutions.

        I did get your email and sent you one in return, this afternoon. I'll re-send it to you.

        Its time like these I imagine a young, creative programmer laughing at her/his computer screen, going: "Hehehe! Got 'em again! That'll teach 'em to doubt my power and brilliance."

        If this is the case: here is my humble appeal:

        Dear Master Yoda. Whether our problem is due to a duck, hiesenbug, or I know, I know, a PEBKAC or id10t code, will you please have Tux or Biff or whomever liberate us?

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          Oct 24 2011: You are funny...

          I just think it is the cold weather, TED got a virus, like many of us these days. Quite a few things have been acting silly lately, not just that... remember the replay button?

          Anyway, if that doesn't work, we'll find a way around it. Where there is a will, there is a way.
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          Oct 25 2011: @ Andrea, and Amira, replying to your post below, as there is no more room there.

          Andrea, your model makes a lot of sense! TIPS and ROOTS ( the middle will come later)
          I like how you can simplify something so dense and bring it back to basics: just an issue at hand that CAN be separated into a few small parts to better tackle it. This is a unique gift of yours :-)

          Amira, here is an idea...
          If other TEDsters here want to join in, we could be part of your "root support".
          Using this site or another one, we could continue to meet regularly, think out loud, problem solve, gather resources and sound research (I think it is now high time for that, to give any outcome a solid base), copy-paste solutions that did work before, generally provide you with support, and give you an unbiased point of view on the progress of things.

          You, on the other hand are there, in Cairo. Would you like to be the agent of change? The innovator in your local community that will start spreading a different way of thinking? Our kind "consultant" here suggested to start out small, so an immediate goal could be gathering concrete field information, correlate it with research, maybe add some expert opinions, and then write an article to print or read in the radio... Sounds within reach?

          Doing this can attract the creative thinkers that really care about education in your area, the weird ones that Andrea mentioned (I guess that includes both of us and all the other posters here :-P Lovely...)

          Think about it. Is this worth your time and effort? If you decide this was just a platonic discussion, that's fine too.

          I personally still would like to do something on my end. I feel strongly that all the synergy we shared here, and the value of so much input shouldn't just evaporate when this debate expires.
          But that's just me, by now you probably know me a lot better as someone that can't keep her arms crossed if she can help it.
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        Oct 25 2011: Karina --

        Your idea that some from TED could help Amira's efforts is great.

        However, Amira would want her strongest base of "roots" to be people in her culture. They are key stakeholders. And important for the development of their culture that the roots be integral to it. In great part because todays roots become tomorrows leaders. By using in-situ groups, the connections to their place and each other's groups become, overtime stronger.

        Another natural metaphor: think of the "acorn" model. An acorn creates roots, roots grow into a tree. Which continually provides for decades beyond it's emergence, via shade, beauty. And, of course, more acorns to grow more roots.

        Any off-site or virtual supporters, in my mind, should become advisers. Sharing feedback, relatable data and information, lessons and encouragement. But should not been seen as the main or even key problem-solvers of Cairo's changes.

        This is a "constructivist" vernacular style.

        Where the stakeholders of a place/space are the co-creaters of it. The closer to the center or core of the place/space the stakeholder is, the more relative weight their input should be. Given our stake is Cairo is secondary to Amira's and her fellow citizens there is, the stake of our contributions in the solutions should be perceived as commensurately less.

        A popular older model of civic engagement, known as communitarianism would, by contrast, see others as perhaps "knowing better" or more about civic problem solving, if not Amira and Egypt then they do.

        I don't usually prescribe to this model. In my mind, in place-experience always trumps distanced views.

        Which is NOT to say people in the TED community and in a group like you are developing can't be very valuable to Amira. Only that this value should be construed as adjunct and/or advisory, not primary to the place-based work they are doing.

        The "roots" than, should be homegrown and/or home-based and closely tied to the growth focuses.

    • Oct 24 2011: I love this example. It is a comprehensive model that took us from A to Z and illustrated the fruitfullness of all the elements involved; young people, adults and officials . I would like to add an element which seems to have been taken for granted in this paradigm: the cultural background where these events took place. It seems that a few critical principles were behind the success of this situation:
      1- Officials take pride in serving and finding solutions for socials and community issues
      2- youth engaged in a constructive debate with adults who listened and communicated
      3- the needs of young people have intrinsic value
      4- the general welfare of society is achieved when the needs of subgroups are addressed constructively
      It sems to me, that all these points have been securely established in the collective mind to enable debate, problem solving and cross-generational discussion to be fruitful, inspiring and even considered as an option.
      Bringing this to my country, we need a really creative approach which would instill these fundamental values to both the experienced generation (adult/officails) , and the young, less experiences generation( creative, resourceful) to move this society from the stagnation caused by over 60 years of dictatorship. I believe it will all come together soon, I am dreaming of a better, more open and creative educational system for my 2 yr old grandaughter.
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        Oct 24 2011: Yeah, you are back!
        Thanks again for your insight.

        You are right pointing out how the same steps may need adjustments in order to work out in a global perspective.
        Some communities may not have a developed civic conscience. When they have to live in fear, or struggle to sustain their family every day, the focus narrows to the individual, to the smallest unit: self. The sense of community and oneness is often damaged, solidarity and "otherness" are lost.

        Or there may be a lack of awareness of the positive, long lasting impact that caring for and meeting the needs of all age groups would bring to the whole.

        What is the case in Cairo today? What is being done in regards to education? Where do you think creativity can help?
        Stay in touch as we continue to discuss this on a new debate...
        • Oct 24 2011: For many years we have had 2 educational systems running parallel to eachother, the public system, 60 to 70 kids in a classroom, teaching to the test, memorization... and yes; I hate to even mention the word... corporal punishment...OMG, I'm feeling ill at the sight of the word in print... Then we have private schools; English, French or German, take your pick from colonial legacy. These schools are very expensive, have imported curricula, material and even teachers.These schools are status symbols, and havens of creativity, learning and plain " good education". Having said that, many kids come out of these schools feeling socially alienated, culturally confused and and even a bit elitist. So we have a real dilemma on our hands. How do we reform or "revolutionise" education to mix learning, dignity, civic identity and employability all at an affordable cost?? Now lets start a debate/question for all TEDsters to try and deal with that! Daunting isnt it?
          A cab driver told me today that it is shamful to ask for directions, if you are a cab driver, then study the map! This made me think what he was taught. It was better to be lost, than ask and show ignorance. That is what Sir Ken Robinson talked about, this man's creativity was schooled out of him. He told me that as a young cabby, it was custom to pay a quarter of your day's earnings to ask another cabby for directions," pay so you remember never to ask again" he told me. There are many Egyptians who, in spite of these challenges, were raised in homes were questions, discussions, reading and knowledge were the norm. These people have grown to be leaders and stars in their fields.
          Creativity is often confused with disobedience, arrogance or even stubborness and refusal to just fit in.Introducing the value of creativity should not be an educational issue, but a cultural and social value as well, Just like the issue of" children with educational challenges or needs" they used to be called "retarded" and kept at home.
        • Oct 24 2011: The real change took place when the society as a whole embraced children and tolerated diversity. I believe that the idea of creativity is just as scary to many people. It entails change, hard work, going into the unknown and believing in the intrinsic potentials of people to amaze us every day. Creativity is that thing" wierd " people do just to get attention or get back at you... that is how creativity has been discribed to me as I give workshops to parents about child development and how children learn. The common complaint is:" she wont do as she is told, she is just spiteful" I usually have a good cry afterwards.
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          Oct 25 2011: Amira & Karina --

          Amira's situation is complex and I won't pretend to be an expert on how to inspire a revolution of creative thinking in a place that has undergone such a sea-change. Though I'm drawn to the problem, so happy to give ideas.

          Much of what you mention, Karina, would be apropos.

          My preferred model with an innovative effort to transform a community that has never even thought of the ideas--and may well conceive them, as Amira says as "weird," is to go to people who feel comfortable being "weird." Good advice Warren Buffet gave -- and we have examples in the late Steve Jobs and other creative geniuses, is to be great one must be willing to be an outlier.

          For culture change you want outliers who, as part of their differentness are concerned with culture (as opposed to cynics who choose the outlier persona as affect of their rejection of society. )

          I like a "tips and roots" strategy.

          Engage experienced leaders who've taken risks to achieve success--they are outliers, your "tips."

          Then engage energetic young adults who are hungry for change or to save the world/culture, your "roots."

          Put them together to collaborate early efforts. From there you can "move to the middles," as the groups demonstrate credibility, staying power, commitment and incremental outcomes. There is much more to the process, but that's a start.

          I would also work hard to create empathy between generations, provided they are somewhat insightful. When adults cluck-cluck about the weirdness or audacity of younger change-makers, don't try to convince them they're wrong.

          Instead, seek parallels to their own younger behaviors. Was their teenage contrarianism a sign of critical thinking skills? Were their struggles in school due to a doodling habit a sign of creativity? Was their inability to sit still prescient of future strengths?

          Point out the connections--generally an Aha!. They see youth's strengths much like their own were, back when.

          A start!

        • Oct 25 2011: Karina, Hi, I'm trying to fit in as much as I can in these last few hours of this conversation. What you suggest sounds good and do-able, There are several local conferences and places where I can be heard, but getting my act together in the midst of all that is happening will take time. We have waited this long, so a bit more wont hurt. I want to listen to some more "wierd" people and get ideas as well as inspiration. I'd like you to keep me posted about other talks and conversations which you think I would like or be able to join in. Will these conversations still be availabe once they are closed? I haven't read every single post and would like to. How is TED going to archive all this brain juice? how about PDF downloads? Is a conversation copyrighted? So much of what has been said here would be great for teacher training. Hope you have the time to answer all my little logistical questions.
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        Oct 24 2011: Amira --

        A very astute analysis of the cultural environment that undergirds examples like these. So good, I'll be sharing it with leaders and others in the community.

        And Karina -- It is true, there is a cultural ethic in this community that is remarkable. And that some communities, due to fear and struggle, might find this model harder to adapt.

        That said, the community is quite diverse compared to others in our state. And, many of the solutions like this one have been ways to maximize the gifts of a community that has been in transition from an aging bedroom community which resisted change for many years. In fact, there have been significant tensions in the leadership ranks regards solutions like these, which engage all citizens. Many, for a long time, didn't think these efforts were worth it. Some still don't.

        Only by a few brave leaders shoring through, have believers been made of many others.

        Leaders began to understand that for the area -- and thus their self-interests -- to survive and thrive, they had to do things differently. It hasn't always been easy. And there remains differences in what we do and don't value. But, to their credit, many many older citizens have showed astounding energy in learning from newer and younger generations. To, as Amira notes: "he general welfare of society is achieved when the needs of subgroups are addressed constructively."

        There are numerous governance and structural tools that can be developed and employed to help create this level of cross-sector change. But, ABOVE all, it takes actually doing them and communicating the outcomes in ways citizens can appreciate things they might not have believed possible before.

        My colleague Harry Boyte has covered Burnsville's success in several books and articles, if you are interest in more.

        On a separate note -- Karina, I re-sent the email. And also sent a note to TED Admin. Did you get it?

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          Oct 25 2011: Andrea,
          No, I didn't get your email. I do know that it is enabled, so it should work fine.

          Do not worry, we'll sort this out one way or another...

          The situation that Amira has placed in front of us so carefully analyzed is extremely complex. I can see several cultural elements that may be deeply ingrained in the social fabric, making it very resistant to change.

          As a participatory researcher, what steps do you think are advisable TO BEGIN WITH?

          The all-out-in-your-face truth already took place; deep political changes shook Egypt early this year.
          Now is time for them to take the pieces and make something better and new. Is not often that we see such an opportunity (here, as of today, we are painstakingly patching up an existing system in hopes of eventually improve it from the inside out) What would be prudent to do first?

          Reaching out to families in small groups and inform/train them in alternative education methods?
          Pulling a group of community members, representative enough of a wide sector of society, and meet with authorities to brainstorm a newly branded system?
          Marketing a new vision by creating advertisement? Articles in local publications and radio/TV to saturation point?
          Complementing the existing system with scaffold organizations (evening schools, tutoring, study groups)?
          Associating with outside educational advisors/ organizations in order to get input and trained staff?

          What do you suggest?
        • Oct 25 2011: Thank you for your comments and thoughts.I would be honored if you care to share my ideas with others.
          It is important to see the process of creativity as well as the outcome. I understand the process is an uphill struggle, but we have no option. I really believe that without creative ideas and solutions, we risk self destruction on all levels, spiritual, above all. Stagnation and surrender to what we know rather than what could be is a fatal illness.
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    Oct 23 2011: What are the elements of creativity? What supports and encourages and what limits or undermines creativity?

    How do we culturally support or undermine creativity? What dominate values control our perceptions and feed our myths trumping other less emphasized values sometimes in direct opposition to creativity?

    Where is the discussion which takes these questions deeper to reveal how our perceptions of success and opulence undermine our ability to see we are one species on one planet riding through space. When we focus on our differences, control and greed we create war and destruction. When we focus on being a responsible member of the human family, we show love for our children. For me, creativity must be grounded in a basic understanding and commitment to future generations. The fire-sale codification of earths resources must be stopped and we need to find creative ways to make that a culturally human value of the first order.

    "Creativity" that leads to war, death and destruction needs to be seen in another light.
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      Oct 23 2011: Craig,

      Interesting questions.

      In response to "How do we culturally support or undermine creativity? What dominate values control our perceptions and feed our myths trumping other less emphasized values sometimes in direct opposition to creativity?", one dominant value that damages creativity in my opinion is Consumerism. It has been called the world's most prevalent and powerful religion. The myth that material acquisitions can lead to success, happiness, and meaning is and has been deliberately created and perpetuated by legions of highly creative and accomplished marketers and advertisers. This myth discourages the production of creativity by individuals and encourages the consumption of other people's creativity instead. (That is what led me to conceive of a personal creativity ratio consisting of the instances of me creating something divided by instances of me consuming someone else's creativity.)

      So Consumerism is one value that diminishes creativity.

      Another value or perception is that creativity is often associated with the fine arts, performing arts and child's play but not the mundane world of adults as they go about their quotidian activities. Ruth Richards writes at length about our need to recognize and cultivate Everyday Creativity in her book by this same name. She is a professor at Saybrook U. See: http://www.saybrook.edu/spotlight/rrichards

      This everyday creativity is a favorite topic of mine ever since Javier Fernandez-Han gave a talk on this topic ("Demystifying Creativity: You Don't Have to be Creative to be Creative") at TEDxTheWoodlands ( www.TEDxTheWoodlands.com ) last month. I believe that creativity is a daily decision we make either explicitly or implicitly. I aim for creative output everyday. Some days, my creative output is trivial. Others, a bit more significant. But I aim for creative output everyday as a habit. Hope this helps someone reading this post.

      Best regards,

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    Oct 23 2011: We have heard many posters describe similar creativity-stifling experiences in their education experiences. While this is unfortunate, even tragic, let's focus on simple actions we can take personally to improve the situation. I make a request of all posters - please post at least one simple action you would be willing to take to make creativity more encouraged, enabled, and everyday in education.

    I will start with a few actions I am/I will take:

    1) I will share a learning program called "Invent and Innovate" which my son and I developed last year with schools in my local area. This program integrates design-thinking, social action and creativity techniques. I will help schools use it to launch a variety of creative social action projects through which youth apply creativity to solve social problems locally. See introduction to this program at: http://www.wix.com/peterhan/invent-and-innovate-program

    2) I will serve on the advisory board for my local school district to promote creativity and innovation in the school through a combination of curriculum enhancements, workshops for teachers, partnerships with local entrepreneurs.

    3) I will give talks/workshops to youth to encourage them to cultivate and apply their creativity. My next talk/workshop will be on Nov 4th to 50 student leaders (officers of career and technology education programs) of our local school district.

    What might you be willing to do?

    Best regards,

  • Oct 23 2011: It truly depends on the community. I have lived in communities that as a whole insisted on having creativity encouraged, and in others where creativity was neglected. The federal government decides on the amount of funding given to states for education, but in general they make no decisions on what is actually taught. therefore, it depends on the local authorities and parents what will be focused on in the classroom.

    Our states are where curriculum decisions are made. I am guessing that you unfortunately live in a state or county/parish that neglects creativity in general.

    I am in Louisiana, and before this year our state focused very heavily on the LEAP exams. Parents and teachers fought against "teaching to the exam" because it was obvious this was not leading toward success. And now changes have been made.

    So there is your answer, in my opinion, it is up to the states and local school boards to decide what is to be taught in the classroom. Direct your fight there.
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      Oct 23 2011: I am glad to read your ideas, Jessica!

      As you said, every state has a say in (public) education, and that attests for the significant differences from state to state in outcomes, high school drop off, college acceptance and graduation percentages. Not that those are the only ways to measure the success of a system, but they are the ones currently used.

      While I agree that legislators and districts design and put in practice the systems, I don't think those are the only areas where we can focus.

      First of all, because this debate includes TEDsters all over the world, beyond your parish, beyond my county, with different educational formats and problems, we need to see the big picture.

      Next, because we know we cannot solve the whole world, but we can make a small difference, one issue at a time, we ask ourselves, "even when I am not a legislator, I am not sitting at the board of my district, or I can't vote because of my age, how can I change things for the better? How can I stop blaming others and starting to be the change I want to see? How can I bring awareness to the key role of creativity in education?
      • Oct 23 2011: I agree. One thing is that to make an instituational change at any school board will require parents and teachers unifying. Educators and teachers working together to bring the Arts into the classroom.

        Tapping into resources such as "Art In Action" for ideas as well as possible curriculum additives.

        In the meantime, how can a parent or teacher or student bring in creativity?

        Parents can add this at home.
        For example: For a history exam, ask the child discussion style questions. If you can't come up with your own, google search related topics and interview each other.

        For time tables, let the child draw out the problems and answers with chalk on the sidewalk or with window chalk on the bathroom window.

        For an english lesson on subjects and predicates, do a verbal exercise. 1st person says a subject, and 2nd person says a simple predicate. Then 2nd person repeats the subject and the 1st person says a more complex predicte.

        Teachers can incorporate this easily into their curriculums weekly. It just takes a little creativity.

        For a history lesson, have the students make pictures of the events discussed in that chapter, and then tape them to a time line in the order the occurred. Then they can write the date next to each picture.
        They can then go further and analyze something by explaining to a small group or to the whole class what they would have done if they faced one of these events in history

        for mulitiplcation have the kids make up a song and even add in a little drum tapping on the desk as they sing out their time tables.

        The options are endless.

        These are things that can be done by individuals whether or not they get the support of the administration because it reinforces the existing curriculum, but allows for young minds to develop those critical thinking skills.
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          Oct 23 2011: Jessica,

          Thank you for the many simple practical examples of imbuing, embedding and integrating creativity into subject matter lessons. The possibilities do seem endless and are limited largely by the teacher's imagination.

          Your comments remind me of 2008 Teacher of the Year Mike Geisen's approach to teaching science. He used a multiple intelligence approach to make the learning come alive for his students. See: ( http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1864 ).

          Keep the good work. Your students are fortunate to have you.

          Best regards,

  • Oct 22 2011: Unfortunately, in the traditional educational system, there is not enough room for creativity, critical thinking, or usage of the brain other than for memorization. I would know because I am a student. In the traditional system, you practically have to plagerize in order to get the answeres right. You get questions were all you have to do to ansewer it is write down what it says in the text book. All you need to do to pass a test in the traditional educational system is memorize a couple of phrases in a bloody book. This is infuriating to me, especially since the first half of my life I spent in a montessori school. We are not learning, we are simply temporarily memorizing phrases.This is very dangerous and I think we need to change the educational system as soon as possible.
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      Oct 22 2011: I disagree with the general statement that in our education system "there is no room for creativity, critical thinking, or usage of the brain other than for memorization," but I do think that our system is flawed in that it does not prioritize these things.
      Take the college application process as an example. The purpose of the process is inherently to determine which students merit entrance to a given institution. This is of course not a bad thing in and of itself, but I feel that our definition of "merit" is wrong. Journalist for the New Yorker Louis Menand says in his essay "The Thin Envelope" that we define "merit" as "quantifiable aptitude and achievement." I think this concept is the crux of the problem; By upholding this limited definition, we ignore the need for creativity and passion. And, honestly, those are the more important aspects of "merit."
      In short, I think that by focusing on the quantifiable, we form an education system that ignores the qualities that make for success. We choose the best test-takers, but not the best students.
      The question that I have though is: How can we change this system?
      I don't know. I'd love to hear another's thoughts.
      • Oct 23 2011: You are right. I am going to change my comment to "...there is not enough room for creativity,critical thinking, or usage of the brain other than for memorization".
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        Oct 23 2011: Cleo, thanks for sharing your views here!

        You take a good, long look into the situation with college application. While I essentially agree, I have to say that creativity is already taken into account, not all is GPA.
        Leadership inside, and particularly out of school, and participation in (or creation of) clubs or service groups are clear indicators of creativity and weigh heavily in college admission. If the track is in art, design, or performing arts, a portfolio or CD is required. So, there is room there to show creativity. But what remains is a standard to measure it. Where does the admission committee draw the line, and where does the next college's committee draw theirs?
        As you say, the system is flawed and can be improved.

        "The question that I have though is: How can we change this system?
        I don't know. I'd love to hear another's thoughts." Me too!
        I encourage you to stay in touch as we find areas that we can improve, and put ideas into action. It is good to stimulate the flow of ideas, but we can do more. We can BE the difference.

        Food for thought for you: What could you do, right there, where you are? Columbia University, a pillar of education, sits at the edge of two very different worlds. Is education the same in both sides of the "border"? Do you see any needs there?
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          Oct 23 2011: Karina,

          I'd like to share my perspective on the comment "creativity is already taken into account, not all is GPA. Leadership inside, and particularly out of school, and participation in (or creation of) clubs or service groups are clear indicators of creativity and weigh heavily in college admission."

          It depends on the college. Some do not have the capacity/desire to consider non-quantifiable criteria. Such criteria requires a considerable amount of time and judgment and opens the admissions process to criticism. Some schools invest in assessing non-quantifiables.

          Leadership and participation in service organizations may or may not reveal creativity and commitment. As a volunteer interviewer of applicants to my alma mater, I am dismayed by the superficial nature of their involvement. At first glance, their application seems impressive - President of Interact, VP of Leo Club, etc. But when pressed to describe the nature of their work and how decisions were made, usually what emerges are sinecures (distribution of bottled water to walkers for a walk-a-thon, sorting of folders for an office, etc.). The other type are what I call "fly-by philanthropy". Their parents spend $6,000 to send them to a developing country to build a school for two weeks. Their motivation seemed to have been to impress college admissions officers first and to serve the developing community second. And sometimes their 2-week's work actually caused more trouble than good in their target beneficiary community.

          So participation in leadership and service positions at the high school level do not necessarily reflect passion, creativity, commitment and do not necessarily weigh heavily in the admissions process. In my experience, the vast majority of strong applicants boast a plethora of such experiences in the applications and the admissions team need to scrutinize carefully to discern the authentic experiences that reflect creativity, passion, commitment.

          Best regards,

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        Oct 23 2011: Peter,
        My opinions on creativity in the college application process are first hand, as my children have applied, visited and interviewed many universities. We started that process 2 years prior to graduation, and in many cases met representatives and had phone conversations regarding specifics. In all of them, I verified their requirements and preference for activities in areas beyond curriculum and GPA.
        But I agree, it probably depends on which university.

        My kids were brought up very much in the spirit of "Emotional IQ" (the book) to hold values, and be self motivated, listen to themselves and try their best. It really works when parents are on board, so when the moment came they had good opportunities at top universities (regardless of parents income, I am a teacher!) If you ask me, they are overachievers, and I'd slow down if I were in their place. But this is not my generation, they were born at a faster pace and are comfortable handling a triple major, juggling 2 universities, speaking 5 languages and visiting family in 7 countries...

        I am not surprised to hear that you found "resume padding" in the applicants to your alma mater, but the fact that you spotted them before acceptance shows that your school cared about authentic service... Well done, Mr Han!
        The universities that my children chose continue to foster creativity and encourage them to explore and be trend setters. One of them, which you know well:-), even has open curriculum!

        One example of assignment my FRESHMAN has: she was given $10,000 to spend on a service-based project anywhere in the world. The catch: she needs to present a solid assessment and "business plan", plus a strong emotional appeal. She competes with 10 kids, and gets the whole summer to travel and make it work if she wins (they cover her expenses too)

        Now that is trust, creativity, and community service if you ask me.
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      Oct 23 2011: Alonso,
      The Montessori system is very in tune with developmental needs and inner aptitudes and motivation. Although in the US most Montessori schools are private, some public districts have adopted it in a few schools. However, in most of those cases students eventually transition to mainstream schools in the later years.
      The contrast can be terrible, I feel your pain. After given all authority to pace your studies and develop a learning style, and just when you get to a culminating point, that is all taken away from you. You get placed in a classroom with a fixed curriculum, schedule and calendar year, your seat is assigned and the expectations are pre-set. Instruction is usually uniform for all, as is the expected production/results.
      Cookie cutter education does not sit well with Montessori...

      In your case, I think you are lucky to see beyond the everyday routine in your current school because of your previous experience. This gives you great insight. I wonder if you could use this as an opportunity to change, maybe not the whole system, but a few things around you.
      But why not, if you strongly think the whole system is wrong, why not think of something totally new and better. That is, after all, what Maria Montessori did.

      She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, and that the school environment (including teachers) should continually observe the child and adapt so that s/he may fulfill his or her greatest potential. Not bad for the 19th century, eh? So how can we improve on that 200 years later?
      • Oct 23 2011: In order to get closer to the ideal educational system, I think there is a lot of work to be done both for the teachers and by the teachers. Teachers need to be taught more about how the child's brain works and about sensory integration (especially in developing countries such as my dearest Mexico. There is a greatly insufficient amount of knowledge about sensory integration in Mexico and in most of Latin America for that matter). If they know our minds and if they know that every single child is unique, they will be able to teach much more efficiently. They also need to be motivated a lot more so that they, in turn, can be motivational and enthusiastic when teaching. I personally think there is nothing worse than a teacher who is less excited about teaching than your average student would be about writing a three page report on a history topic. Teachers also need to be trained better. I have one particular teacher who seems as if he is learning the topic along with us instead of teaching us, and I am sure there are many more of the sort.

        I also believe we need to get rid of grades, or at least drastically change how they work. Grades, in my opinion, do not reflect the intelligence of a child. They merely show how good a child does in the educational system. There are many bright children with learning problems such as dyslexia or ADD who seem to be much less intelligent than they truly are because they can't learn properly in this particular system. I also believe standardized tests need to be changed somehow. I do not doubt that there are some brilliant children out there who do not do very well on these tests due to their structure.
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          Oct 23 2011: Your points are all good, Alonso, are you sure you are not an education reformer under cover?

          While we put all the big picture ideas on the pile of big picture to-do list, what do you see in your immediate surroundings that you can change?
          Any way you can contribute to make things better? Do students have any role in this lack of motivation they see in teachers?
          Can they come up with activities/meetings/print outs that encourage kids, expose them to innovation, and foster creativity among students?
          Is there one thing you see near you that you could improve today (or this week)? Can you make a plan?
          Stay in touch and look for chapter II of this debate...
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    Oct 19 2011: At it's Center - like the sun to our solar system, all other aspects of education should receive the "light" of creativity - thinking of old things new ways moves us forward, if we don't learn that in school and our parents didn't learn it either, are we really evolving the human race?
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      Oct 21 2011: You make a critical question, "if we don't learn [creativity]... in school, and our parents didn't learn it either, are we really evolving the human race?"

      The pace is fast, change is constant -it doesn't often give us time to catch up, yet, is this evolution? Is it, when we are not even processing what happens? Without a creative mind, can we really move forward?

      Scott, what do you see in your area? Do you see creativity in action, weather in the classroom or in the playground, at work or in the town?
      Most of the posters here agreed that creativity itself is inherent to the human being, it is ours. It cannot be killed but on the same token, it cannot be taught. What we can learn is a fool-proof thinking process that will allow for thorough exploration of everything, to always ask "why" and not accept anything as fact without examining it inside and out. This will stretch our creativity. We can also keep daily habits that foster creativity in our family (read the posts for ideas from Peter Han and Terry Wilkinson), and act in our community to change the status quo.

      If you think creativity is alive and well in your community, let me know where you live, I want to go there :-)
      If you think creativity needs a big overhaul, and that you can make a difference, let me know too. I'd like for our group to stay connected beyond this debate, and move to stage 2: action. We could support, give resources, and help problem-solve so, from the four corners of the world, we can raise awareness, make an impact, and bring the focus back to creativity (in and out of schools)
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        Oct 21 2011: Karina,

        Creativity is alive in my community; Burnsville, Minnesota.

        Though who'd thunk, we're a suburb!

        We have many civic, cultural, social and economic layers that have been burbling for years. Now, of all odd times,is when seem to be coalescing most visibly. Pretty remarkable to see how diverse neighbors hold seek and continually practice expressing an ethic of relational innovation and creativity.

        We've become a mini-hub of visual, public and performing arts and other cross-sector gifts.

        If you come, I'd be delighted to give you a "participatory researcher" tour and introductions to some very impressive innovators.

        Including our indefatigable Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, who is only the most (internationally) visible among many less visible, but no less energetic and creative leaders who represent many different interests who have abetted and encouraged area citizens and our community to bring creative solutions alive.

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          Oct 22 2011: Andrea creativity is everywhere but first in the soul and heart. If the town is tiny or the city big, is the same...a small town could be the place to live without modern crisis, and big citys are the nest for paranoia.....creativity needs realms, ambiance, significative enviroment, human scale (that is the same than cosmic scale)...your place is worthy by your presence and action.
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          Oct 23 2011: Andrea,

          Thanks for stopping by. And for sharing a bit about the status quo at home.
          I would love to visit and get a personalized tour, thanks for your kind offer :-) ...unfortunately the closest I am getting for the next few months will be Boston. I will keep it in mind for the warmer months, though. My friends from Prairie Home Companion tell scary stories about the legendary winter season up there...

          Here is where I was soliciting your expertise:
          You may have read that, as we get to the end of this debate, and because it seems to have struck a very important cord (I am still shocked by the amount of participation) I wanted to stay connected as a group and turn our theories into action, our problems into solutions.
          In the virtual realm all discussion is good brain exercise, and food for the soul (this one is for Jaime who doesn't let me forget this aspect) but in the TED spirit, I think we have a duty to walk the talk and affect change, take it from here into the real world.

          My vision is a virtual group that, building up on this momentum, identifies a few targets world wide (as our posters are from all over the world) and works together to make a difference. For some it will be just brainstorming, others will be on site...
          I am impressed with the TED debate about the situation in Japan after earthquake, and how fast it moved into action. Not the ideal model, but an example of ideas making a difference..

          Peter, local TEDx organizer offered to somehow incorporate us into the regular meetings. As you see, the physical application doesn't quite have shape yet.
          So, any ideas? What virtual place? Stay here? Post or email me if you wish.
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          Oct 23 2011: Andrea,

          Email not working from my end either. Will try tomorrow...
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        Oct 21 2011: Karina,I see the point, creativity in innate - we all have it inside us - I guess school /education institution could/would/should be a place where we could work on extracting it from within, a safe arena for our wildest imaginings, creativity without the consequences of failure - and I suppose like all things if we are able to use our creativity , it will grow, flourish and evolve. eventually we will all move closer to our true potential.

        I lIve in New Brunswick Canada - I see creativity everyday, but not the system to support and nurture it's growth and expansion - I think we all play a role in education, as we will all have to live in the world of tomorrow, we need to ensure that it is a creative and engaging place.
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          Oct 23 2011: Scott,

          What kind of system do you think could there be in New Brunswick to support or promote creativity? Do you envision a community group? A government organization? A parents club? A newsletter? Or only a school related body?

          Where could YOU play a part? I imagine your main role in fostering creativity is right at hand, as a dad. But can you make tomorrow better for your daughter? Do you see a need to extend beyond here and now, and improve anything else?
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          Oct 23 2011: Scott, Your comment "I guess school /education institution could/would/should be a place where we could work on extracting it from within, a safe arena for our wildest imaginings, creativity without the consequences of failure" interests me.

          First, I think we should include the home and community as places where we should provide the safe arena for our wildest imaginings, not just formal educational places.

          Second, I think there are times and places where we need our youth to experience the consequences of failure for at least two reasons.

          One is to learn from our failures to improve our skills, our application of those skills and to adjust our knowledge base based on our experience.

          The second reason is in my opinion, more important. It is to develop a humility and receptivity to feedback. See Chris Argyris article on the perils of not experiencing failure enough: ( http://velinleadership.com/downloads/chris_argyris_learning.pdf )

          Sometimes, in our effort to provide a "positive encouraging environment" for youth, we deny them the experience of failing - both the cognitive and the emotional impact of failure. When they are denied these, they don't learn to deal with them successfully. They may develop an inflated sense of achievement and capability...and also an emotional fragility...to sometimes disastrous consequences in the post-school real world. See article on "The Most-Praised Generation Goes to Work": ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117702894815776259.html )

          Best regards, Peter
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        Oct 23 2011: Karina --

        You have clearly tapped a topic of interest here. And enabled and nurtured very rich thinking. Excellent indicators that this theme could be brought from ideas to action. I wholeheartedly agree that organizing all this energy by such a diverse and engaged intellect is exceedingly prudent.

        I'd like to converse with you about specifics for how to take this and your ideas on how to build forward. But, for some reason, can't email you from TED. Some odd glitch seems to be conspiring on communications between you and I, seems to me we ran into this on an earlier forum we both tried to post to.

        So, why don't you try emailing me? And I'll respond with some concrete suggestions on your vision.

        Meanwhile, you might begin by creating a database of relevant research. Some of which has been posted here already. Having this information separated (but connected) to the ongoing dialogue will come in handy as resources for the group as it develops and amplifies its collective voice.

        You can start the database here on TED. Through a separate conversation seeking research citations and articles only. Keep in mind, if you formally distribute specific content produced here, TED asks that you cite them in all of it.

        Or, you could start a blog for the same purpose. The advantage of the latter is that you can sometimes create different levels of user groups, with some public and some private.

        In any case, as you so brilliantly do, then inviting people to post links and bibliographies to it. I'd ask them to provide a two or three sentence "abstract" or overview of it. Keep in mind that categorizing these will be necessary at some point. Key words can come in handy for this.

        Hope this helps. Look forward to more in one-on-one conversation with you.

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    Oct 19 2011: creativity is pure joy.....education is playing and discover the universe
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      Oct 19 2011: Hola, Jaime; jump in, we need your philosophical view here!

      Craig's has a question, see, he brings up the point that creativity also gave place to not so joyful things, like unemployment, and I add the atomic bomb to make you think harder...
      Do we draw a line, if so where?
      If not, are we ready for it to hit us in the face?
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        Oct 19 2011: Karina, we have to see in a more wide perspective in all senses...historically the creativity brought a lot of god and positive consequences. But we forget our history and our panorama is narrow because we are in focus in "our time"...we never learn anithing if we dont see the past, the history, and in the Marx (Karl, not Groucho) who doesnt know his history is condemnned to repite...(more or less) creativity is humanity par excellence and we all humans ar not islands of perfection. The so called "unemplyment" is not a consequence from creativity...is a tag fron liberalism to be applied to the people who believes in employment....thats very different from labour. But also creativity is affected by the philosophical mainstream in all ages in human history. The narrow perspective produces more narrowed opinions.
        And as allways I said...opinions are usless.
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          Oct 19 2011: No, Jaime, opinions can be the starting point for solutions!!!
          Different opinions, different solutions -all action in real life situations!

          And that takes me to the next step of this TED conversation.
          This group has been talking for a long time, and that has been nice, we made mind and heart friends, even shared musical moments ;-)

          We have been also exposed to a few REAL WORLD situations:how to redesign the educational system in Cairo after last political changes, lack of motivation/creativity in American and Canadian educational system, need for innovation in local community college, lack of resources (economic and otherwise) in areas in India and Pakistan, how to implement/nurture creativity while homeschooling, etc.

          So I'd like to move to step 2 and remain connected, pick a few of those issues, support the TEDsters in those areas and help them make a plan and solve them.

          This step 2 is all about action and walking the talk.
          So, not just opinions, Jaime, solutions. We can overcome geographical, language, age and political barriers, and make a difference.
          Are you in?
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    Oct 18 2011: Thank you guys so much for your input.

    I definitely agree with you in that anyone can change the world. Right now my immediate goal is to get people thinking in general (its sad that you have to "get" people to do that). I'm doing this by passing around a piece of paper that has the question "what do you think is the root of all of the world's problems?" written on it, just to get people's perspectives. I'm even thinking about printing out a bunch of fliers with that same question posed on it and doing a a "pass it on" type of thing. Any ideas on how to get my message across?
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      Oct 18 2011: YES, Dylan, absolutely!
      Passing a paper around, or making a poster with a pen attached, and pining it up by the cafeteria or other popular place are good, non-threatening ideas to get feed back from a wide number of people, and also plant a seed. Sending the same Q to your facebook friends is another.
      I think it is an awesome idea to continue planting the questions, whatever way you like. Maybe make a list of questions in the areas that are important to you, the concerns you think need change, and post them one at a time, sort of "the brain question of the week" that nobody knows who puts up there... couple it with a logo or graphic, make it cool somehow, but simple, and let your teacher in ahead of time... YES!!!!
      After a while, when curiosity and interest built up, you uncover the rest and invite them to join. By then you will have an idea of weather you want a school club, an outside group, or maybe you do a class/service project for extra credit with that teacher based on the answers given by most...

      Is your paper anonymous or are you signing it with your name or an alias? You could spend time thinking of a good name for your "creative problem solving, world fixing group" before you send more of those questions. Maybe do it together with your teacher, two brains are always better than one...
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      Oct 21 2011: Dylan - I'd challenge you to write something positive on your paper - if we want to solve the world's problems - we can't focus on them - how would determining what we do poorly, help us at all, I think your concept is solid and your intentions are pure - I'd simply like you to ask people to build on what them have, not what they don't and maybe change the focus from "the world" to the individual, by asking about "your world" it's not as big and you are the person with the most direct and immediate influence on changing it.

      "What do you do everyday to make your world a better place?"

      or something like that - Check out John McKnight or Asset Based Community Development - there is some great stuff there.
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        Oct 22 2011: Creativity is not for solve problems....is for joy and could be used aometimes to confront the positions or situations that we all "problems". Is not a tool is a state of humansoul. The utilitarian thinking abut everything is a short vision of the real capabilities that we humans can applied in our lives. If we reduce creativity as a tool, we lost the real significance of ourselves.
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          Oct 23 2011: Yes, it is a "state of the soul", is inside of us, and it is there for ever :-)

          Only a creative soul can act creatively or come up with creative solutions to real world crisis or problems...
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          Oct 24 2011: Maybe Creativity is Joy in and of itself.

          I heard someone say that God smiles when we are engaged in our purpose - I would think that when engaged in our purpose we are probably at our most free and creative.

          I don't think of creativity as a tool, but more of an approach, because you can do the same old things in the same old way and get the same old result - which does your soul no good at all or you can do the same old things in a brand new creative way and have an entirely new and exciting outcome - an let your sould sing.
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      Oct 23 2011: Dylan,
      So, how is it going?

      I think Scott pinpointed a good one: focus on some tangible issues, maybe let others identify them, but stay concrete. Starting at an attainable goal will make the journey more possible for all, and will build stamina for the next step.
      Changing one thing right where you are, you ARE making the world a better place. By slightly rephrasing your question you show them that they need to be specific, avoiding answers like, "well, no more wars".

      Unless, of course, what you want is to start with a very conceptual, wide base, sort of survey of what others would want for the world and take it from there...
      Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; the process by which one utilizes creative ability
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    Oct 17 2011: Why it is important is beautifully expressed by the TED speakers listed above. Principally because creativity is agility of the mind and our world (and long life) require agility. Creativity is also a strong source of well-being and a universal pipeline of expression across cultures.
    Teaching creativity, like teaching anything else, is possible through example (creative teacher), through exercise (practice), through exposure (sharing) and through constructive criticism.
    Perhaps the best "channel" to teaching creativity is the search for personal motivation. What are those few things that really motivate a student on a personal level.
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      Oct 17 2011: Welcome, Thomas! Glad to have a participant from Switzerland too, we are covering the whole world :-)
      Thanks for your input.

      You clearly summarized part of what we have concluded here; it helps us to solidify the idea of what is the common denominator in the theme of the connect (or disconnect) between education and creativity in general.

      I will highlight something that is quite new to this debate: "Creativity is also a strong source of well-being and a universal pipeline of expression across cultures."
      I agree with this, you articulated it beautifully. Isn't it at the very core of our being? I wonder, could we still be human without creativity? Wouldn't we become automatons instead?

      I have suggested earlier that every posting includes some suggestion for positive action in this area, and I think (intentionally or not) you do it when you say that "Teaching creativity, like teaching anything else, is possible through example (creative teacher), through exercise (practice), through exposure (sharing) and through constructive criticism."
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        Oct 17 2011: Karina, On Wednesday night we are holding an event with artificial intelligence expert Jürgen Schmidhuber who will be talking about "A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art" which in some ways tries to answer your question about whether creativity is purely human. He also asks whether a machine can be curious. He will be together with an Architect talking about beauty.

        My post suggestion (good idea by the way) is to take a Renaissance approach to teaching - teaching without artificial borders between disciplines. This is not the same as the "anything goes" approach but rather a rigorous and challenging endeavor that leverages connectivity and cross cultural communication to allow review and debate across disciplines. My children are in a much better position than I was (am?) to debate across disciplines because they have access to a "stream" of information that is less divided into sectors. My friend had a model for this in a platform that let people cross-play, that is they could compete against each other while playing different games...for the sake of clarity I play chess against you playing checkers.
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          Oct 17 2011: Thomas, thanks for expanding on that, your post is so rich!
          I wish I were there Wednesday.
          By the way, may I ask you who the architect is? That's a dusty hat of mine, and I am not surprised one is involved in this, we are an extremely curious breed, everything is of interest.

          Which takes us directly to the Renaissance solution you propose for education.
          I think everyone here will agree that your approach is very 21st century; across borders and cultures, and interdisciplinary. After all, isn't it the way our children are learning outside schools already?

          I would like to continue exploring this vein...

          While I can imagine your friend's program being a very good way to step-up a game, I am having a hard time picturing how it would help in education. Wouldn't it contribute to information overload? Or reduce the ability to process, retain and turn information into knowledge -a phenomenon that's pretty much an endangered species already in our youth, with so much technology at their fingertips, but so little time?

          Could you help me understand how you think it would work.
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          Oct 18 2011: Thomas,

          Regarding "A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art", are you familiar with Cohen and AARON, his art creating software program? See: http://www.viewingspace.com/genetics_culture/pages_genetics_culture/gc_w05/cohen_h.htm
          In addition, Margaret Boden writes a chapter titled "Unromantic Artists" in her book "The Creative Mind - Myths and Mechanisms". This book describes numerous examples of machine generated work that eerily resembles what human creativity. Whether computers display creativity, curiosity and imagination depends on how we define such terms. If we define these words in terms of a human spirit or volition then we create tautologies and circular reasoning that does not lead to fruitful discussion. Of course machines lack human spirit or volition. But they can be programmed to follow simple rules and heuristics that give rise to breathtakingly complex results be they artwork or physics principles that are derived from observation of physical phenomenon (e.g. a software program called BACON was able to derive basic scientific laws based on data of real physical phenomenon, not unlike how a human would derive such laws.)

          The point here is not so much whether machines can be creative, but rather what can machines reveal to us about the mechanisms of creativity in humans. Research by M. Boden and others in cognitive psychology and computational creativity reveal that many mundane cognitive processes such as sensing, encoding, storing, extracting, comparing and transforming can combine to produce what appears to be human-like creativity. While we don't have the technology yet to see the molecular changes involved during creative thought in humans, we do have lab research suggesting that simple mundane cognitive processes seem to account for much of creative thought and output. This insight gives us hope that creativity is accessible and can be improved with the development of simple mundane cognitive processes.
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      Oct 18 2011: Another solution to enhance creativity across cultures is to encourage play in people's lives regardless of age. Play seems to be forgotten in our hurried lives. Play, when pursued for the inherent joy of it, reveals, reflects and rejuvenates our inner spirit and essence. Sadly, too often play is pursued with overt goals and rewards that coopt the original purpose and benefit of play. Alfie Cohen's book "Punished by Rewards" is an eloquent work on the dangers of turning inherently joyful play into competitive endeavors with winners and losers and external rewards.

      One action I am taking is to promote play that is non-hierarchical, non-competitive, and without external rewards. One example is peer improvisation that is pursued for the joy of creating something interesting together without the fear of judgment and without the incentive of external reward.

      Make time for such gentle, joy-filled play.
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    Oct 14 2011: Ohter tactics we have used in our homeschool:

    3) Avoid prematurely providing answers to questions from the young child regarding their observations of nature, social situations, etc. For example, when our son would ask "why did that man move that big bucket under the tree?" we would ask him what he thought might be the reason. We would continue to ask him how he arrived at his guess, how he might test his guess, and what are at least 3 other possible reasons for the man's action.

    4) Show that we as parents value their creative self-expression. 95% of the decorations in our home are creations made by our sons. We also emphasize the process of creative output rather than the product.

    5) We as parents openly show our admiration when our sons choose to create a solution rather than buy a product to address a need or want. One of our sons has fashioned a variety of photographic equipment (e.g. a "follow focus", a "steadi-cam", a macro-lens) from common household items and recycled parts rather than purchasing retail products. His home-versions may not perform as well or look as nice as the store-bought versions, but we are absolutely delighted at his ingenuity, frugality, and creative confidence and make sure he knows of our delight and admiration. So in our family, tinkerers, makers, creative thinkers, artists are hugely admired.

    6) We explain to our sons that being creative might mean there will be times when they will be in the minority and a minority of one sometimes. Their creative ideas may not be understood or appreciated at first by those around them. Their ideas might even be seen as disruptive or threatening to the norm and status quo. We encourage them to trust their instinct and to remain true to the creative ideas and to learn to be OK with being alone at times when they share a new idea with their peers. Also, we help them develop strong communication skills and empathy to help them understand how their creative ideas might be perceived by others.
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      Oct 14 2011: Kudos to both of you, you have created and nurtured a wonderful learning eco-system :-)
      I see a vertical learning spiral that has no end in sight...
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    Oct 14 2011: Once again, to honor Karina's request that we move this conversation to solutions/resources, I would like to share a few specific tactics for young children we believe have helped promote creativity in our homeschool.

    1) Emphasize open-ended toys such as blocks, Lego blocks, card board boxes, etc. By their very nature, these toys create a void which draws in the imagination of the child. In contrast, closed-ended toys provide too much information regarding how they should be used and thus deprive the child from using his/her imagination. Lego's focus in the last decade or so on creating themed Lego kits such as Star Wars is in my opinion a move in the wrong direction as far as promoting creativity. The move might generate more profits though.

    2) Emphasize playing in nature - playing in mud, digging in dirt, playing with giant pits filled with rice, beans, or sand. This type of play exposes the child to a huge variety of physical experiences that builds that child's library of knowledge of physical phenomenon. For example, a child playing with a mixture of cornstarch and water develops an intuitive understanding of non-Newtonian fluids (fluids which follow a non-linear relationship between strain exerted on the fluid and the resulting displacement of that fluid). The child can draw upon this intuitive understanding of non-linearity throughout his/her life and apply it to understand a variety of physical phenomenon (e.g. the development of a new type of drilling "mud" to support drilling for natural gas) as well as applying it metaphorically to more abstract concepts (e.g. non-linear correlation between risk and reward in certain financial instruments). There are many such "archaetypal" phenomenon that are revealed to the young child who plays and explores his/her physical world. Just as a child can draw upon their knowledge of the alphabet to create an endless stream of words, the child can similarly draw upon their "alphabet" of physical phenomenon. Continued..
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    Oct 11 2011: I wonder if the question could be: What place does education in creativity?....All the terms change and the possible answers are amazing. Why we don't explore in this way?
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      Oct 11 2011: You know, somebody planted the idea a while ago, and nobody picked it up.
      I'd say why not?

      For starters, would you like to suggest an answer?
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        Oct 11 2011: "What place does education have in creativity?" I believe in the power of mundane cognitive processes (sensing, remembering, comparing, extracting, connecting, etc.) in generating creative thought. These processes can and are taught at home and pre-school so education can play a key role in the development of such processes. They are learned early as play in young children but can also be taught to older students more deliberately in the context of solving complex real-world problems.

        I also believe in the power of domain-specific knowledge in contributing to creative thought. Sometimes, we forget that creative ideas arise within the context of other ideas. So the more varied and abundant the ideas one has, the more potential transformations of these ideas are possible. Education can play a key role in developing domain-specific knowledge.

        I also believe in the power of mindset in the production of creative thought. When a young child grows up in family that values creative thought in themselves and others, that makes the development of creative output a priority, that acknowledges and celebrates "everyday creativity", that sends the signal both explicitly and implicitly that everyone in the family is expected to be creative in multiple contexts and domains of experience, that child will likely grow up capable, willing, and practicing creative output. Education of the parents in how to create such a creativity-friendly family culture can be powerful benefit to society. So education once again can play a significant role in promoting creativity.

        Education can also stifle creativity as attested to by numerous contributors to this conversation and by a variety of authors.

        What do you think?
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        Oct 11 2011: I don’t know how it works there in US, but have to say here in India Education especially School(ing)..is
        all about scoring. It’s about Mugging (Ratafying) things. It’s never about understanding and when this is the case there is no room for creativity,,,Because its just all about memorizing answers and checking your memory strength afterwards in exams.
        I have seen my niece study and often have arguments with my sister on the way she makes her children mug up everything...
        I have seen my cousin sister makeing her children's study LIKe :
        Agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy.
        Agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy.
        Agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy.
        The same sentence she repeats for about 10 times without even understanding what that sentence meant.
        I would not be shocked if her children didn't knew the actual meaning of the word agriculture..even tough they know that its the backbone of our country....:)If she does not understand something there is no way that she could be creative about it...
        It’s like asking to bring new rules and plans to make cricket(it's a game) more interesting ..but as may I guess most of you would not know what is cricket so there is no way u can improve it..Isn't it.
        For me at least in India schooling is more about memorizing and creativity is a very distant thing.. Yep these days I have heard creativity and intelligence of students is being given more priority by making use of technology..But not sure how much affective that has been,,,
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          Oct 11 2011: Vinay,

          That is tragic to hear. I have heard that the preoccupation with scores, rankings, and rote memorization can be overwhelming. I recently saw the movie "The 3 Idiots" and was moved, angered, and stunned. Are you familiar with this movie? Do you think it portrays a realistic picture of the education system in India?
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        Oct 11 2011: Karina maybe the idea was missinterpreted by the confussion that emerges in the question structure.

        Creativity is a human virtue. Is inside us.
        Education is an accesory that cames from outside.

        If we change the question terms everything happens and the reality is in present. If we left the question with a wrong structure nothing happens but the rethoric and the bla bla bla....

        ......before the answers coming (if) we have to research more deeply the question.
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        Oct 12 2011: Peter,Yep I Have seen the movie.Most of the Indians would have seen it.And yes its true to a great extent.And i frequently use 3 Idiots to let my parents ,sister etc know why creativity and understanding of things is more necessary than scores.But I generally get dismissed saying creativity and films does not get you a job in a nice company but your degrees and grades greatly do.Yes degrees and grades just act merely as an entry point.I just ask them can a sales person sell a soap by showing how much marks he has got in School or say graduation.Its his street smartness and creative ideas to sell things to the public brings him at the top of the ladder.It rarely gets any ears.Media/Movies surely influences people and make them aware of the situation.Because of which these days I feel Outlook is changin of teachers,Parents especially,even the system is changing to some extent.But the problem is now Education has become more of commercial outlook like buisness rather than a medium to impart education and explore the creativity of a student.Although there are steps taken by many individuals and groups to change this outlook.Also a lot of brain drain and movement of creative people has affected INDIA but now a days all are realisin the fact that INDIA is much better place to live in with recession affecting most parts of the world.I would educational system to be more off like olden days gurukul teaching Vedas(Which is much advance than physics we learn this days.Actually we ourselves dont value it so its very hard that world knows about it.).Where stress was given on how to live rather then how to earn money.
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    Oct 10 2011: I am just joining this discussion and have enjoyed reading through most of the previous threads. Please forgive me if I inadvertently raise an idea that has already been discussed to satisfaction. One idea I'd like to share is that instead of asking who is creative maybe we should be asking when is someone choosing to act in a creative way.

    This is a subtle issue but it moves the idea away from creativity being something either a person has or not to whether the person chooses to act in a creative way in a certain situation. "Creativity is a Daily Decision" is a quote that comes to my mind frequently. When I witness the preoccupation many youth in our schools have around movie/music/sports celebrities and in living vicariously through the lives of those more glamorous, I think that they are choosing to be consumers of the creative output of others rather than choosing to act creatively themselves. The media of course encourages such passive consumption. But parents also influence their children through their role modelling.

    One practical step we can take to promote more creative output in ourselves and families is to keep track of what I call the "creative output ratio" which is simply the amount of creative output I generate divided by the creative output of other people I consume on a daily basis. Of course it's extremely inaccurate since it is so difficult to measure creative output in discrete units. But as a concept, it helps me stay aware of my daily decisions to consume v create. On days, when I sense my "creative output ratio" is zero or close to it, I reflect upon why produced so few creative acts in relation to that of others which I consumed. I try to track just the numerator for now. Each distinct and noteworthy (above the trivial) creative output adds to the numerator.
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      Oct 11 2011: Hi, Peter, honored to have a TEDx organizer among us, and looking forward to where your ideas will move us next :-)

      Let me tell you briefly that we started here with a very open ended question about the connection between creativity and education, not merely WHO is creative. Yet the contributions soon moved us to the realization that, aside from the dull condition of educational systems around the globe, 1) creativity is not supposed to come from the outside, it is inherent to humans, ALL humans -someone suggested it is their default state; 2) education as it is today is stifling creativity and individuality, more in favor of conformism and consumerism; 3) thinking outside the box is not enough -we need to make a new one; 4) we need to stop being passive and be accountable and active in this change; 5) we need to add the soul element; 6) we can learn from the past and return to the old inquisitive method, where teachers are just guides helping students give birth to new ideas from within; 7) or we may take it completely in our hands and home school; 8) we don't teach creativity, we nurture it, we let it grow; 8) we are most creative when facing challenges; 9) we are most creative when we acknowledge our ignorance and start from zero; 10) creativity implies risk; 11) while debating creativity is interesting, change is happening fast, we need to translate ideas into action...

      11 is an odd place to stop (literally and figuratively) but that's where I end. Incomplete bird's eye view, but close...

      So the consensus so far is that creativity is in all of us, a separate problem is how to manage it...

      You seem to agree, "Creativity is a Daily Decision", I like that.
      Your idea of a "creative output ratio" answers the management part of the issue :-) One has to be self aware of the creative activity, and has to self monitor as well. And of course there is no question about one's ability to be creative, it is a given.
      Q: do you graph this ratio, track it in the phone?
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    Oct 8 2011: You are free to sense what you wish in my comments, but what I said was that there are ways to get physical exercise into the high school curriculum using cooperative games rather than competitive games. Cooperative games offer a way for children who are not good at sports to derive the same rewards and satisfactions that their classmates derive. I think that a scenario where everyone wins is better than a scenario where you have winners and losers.
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        Oct 9 2011: Tee Cee, unfortunately you only get 1/2 of the debate that Walter was having with a visitor... Dunchamp deleted his own dialogue... but yes, we still get Walter's point.

        First things first: you know what, green is good. You Are OK, I Am OK ;-D

        Moving on, if you emerged from it a better, more understanding , AND still healthy person you didn't miss a thing. There will be many teams out there for you to try if want to see, starting with family and work.
        I experienced both team and no play at all, without being athletic or specially gifted... P.E. during my last 2 years of high school were spent taking notes at the desk, the teacher dictating from a book non-stop for one full hour. Not even discussions or quizes. If you were present, you'd pass with a 100. If she didn't like you, she'd give you a mere pass of 60 (I got that too :-(
        You survive. You learn. You overcome. You make it better for others. That's why we are here...
  • Oct 7 2011: Think of the world like a beehive. There are workerbees that must carry the load. Schools are not here to teach creativity simply because not all have the mental capacity to think for themself. Schools at the grade school level are here only to give us the basic knowledge to succeed, not to excell. The basic understanding to give change to a five dollar bill. Universities are here to stress higher education and have been failing miserable in the name of money raising they have created sports teams and discussion groups. Some are better than others, but think back the great teachers of the Greek Era, are gone, the arts and the philosophers. Now we have advanced to nuclear science, Nasa is teaching us never to stop looking for borders that are further away. Still it is individualism that will breach the contentment of individuals. Motivators that guard their ideas because of the credit they seek. Universities should have a cohesive exchange of ideas, Professors must rotate and allow others to benefit. Yes be creative but do not forget the obligation it brings. Give back what you have taken, be congenial in wanting others to succeed.
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      Oct 8 2011: I may have missed your point.
      "There are workerbees that must carry the load. Schools are not here to teach creativity simply because not all have the mental capacity to think for themself."
      This debate is about the role of creativity in education. In that context, I agree in that schools don't have to teach creativity, they rather have to teach CREATIVELY.
      But I don't understand (at least don't want to take it at face value) what you seem to propose, workbees that carry the load? Not all have the mental capacity to think for themselves????
      Let me direct you to this link, for a trip into the world of special individuals and creativity, posted previously by another TEDster here http://www.unanima-theatre.co.uk/about
      • Oct 8 2011: I am a home school parent. The name of our school is the Wilkinson School of Knowledge . When my children were young they took art classes,everyone kept saying let them draw whatever they want . You are stifling their creativity!! We believe that creativity comes from lack of discipline. BUT DaVinci and Monet studied for years, writers study their craft to refine it. We have lost the tools of learning creativity. Learn the basics know how to manipulate your medium and with that skill you will be able to create all that your mind can see. Read the book Outliers to see how some of the most creative people ever spent thousands of hours practicing before their creativity was ever discovered. Creativity flows in my home at lightening speed, paintings are done because they know about color and texture,perspective and light. Music is written because the wicked mother forced piano music on 2 boys who today play 6 instruments between them. One son does short movies and photography the other ornamental blacksmithing and wood work. But for each creative activity there was a time of learning fundamentals . Teach children self discipline and hard work and DO NOT give praise that is not due and watch out there will be no worker-bees baby.
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          Oct 9 2011: Wow, I think you might be the one on this board that did the biggest educational revolution: you took it in your hands, designed what worked for your family, and envisioned a different, not cookie cutter outcome.
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      Oct 9 2011: "Schools are not here to teach creativity simply because not all have the mental capacity to think for themself."

      Pardon? I assume you're talking about the mentally retarded? Or are you speaking of people who follow as opposed to lead? But excluding what defines someone as having the capacity to think for themselves, what impact does that have on creativity?

      "Schools at the grade school level are here only to give us the basic knowledge to succeed, not to excell."

      Given that this statement came right after the first one, I initially took it in a negative light. After some thought, I may agree with you. The ability to excel is an inherent trait, it isn't something that is taught to people. Not everyone reacts the same way in a stressful situation. Except that this leads to a question. Do you not believe that the ability to think creatively or abstractly is an element of success?

      "Universities are here to stress higher education and have been failing miserable in the name of money raising they have created sports teams and discussion groups"

      Is higher education separate from success? Earlier you state that education is intended to provide the knowledge to succeed. Does post secondary differ from that goal? Is post secondary nothing more then a recruitment program for future professors? If it remains about success, then I would argue that sports have a huge impact on success in the people who play them. Especially competitive team sports. The ability to work as a team, and remain calm in a stressful situation. The ability to think on your feet, despite any feels of exhaustion. The ability to react quickly and intelligently, when your competitors attempt to change the flow of the game. Of course I am rather biased in favor of sports. Perhaps you should talk to someone who has run a marathon, and ask them if the determination learned from the marathon has lead to increased success.
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        Oct 9 2011: Mike, can I say it again? I didn't expect less from you :-)
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    Oct 5 2011: I think the real question is: What place does education have in creativity?

    And I think ultimately education, above all principles, should teach perspective. After you have learned this the student will know enough to learn what is natural for him/her. Everything will fall into place once the roots of respect have been planted.
  • Oct 5 2011: As a high school student I have noticed that there is not much room for creative/critical thinking in school. Depending on what teacher you have, most of the time they just give you the answers to basically everything. If a student has trouble doing something he simply asks the teacher and the teacher answers it. I believe teachers should hold back on just giving out the answer and let the student do research and think deeply about the solution to the problem at hand. This is the kind of thing all of us high school students will have to do when we get out into the real world. There won't always be a teacher or parent there to answer all your questions. Kids will never grow up if adults do not allow them to make their own decisions and I am a prime example of this. All my life at school and home people have done everything for me and now I regret it, but I am trying to become more independent now.
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      Oct 6 2011: Bryant, your comments tell us of great maturity, good judgement and awareness. It is great that you have overcome those pitfalls, and decided to get control. Thanks for sharing!
      • Oct 7 2011: Thanks. Actually i need to restate this sentence. "All my life at school and home people have done everything for me and now I regret it..." I do not entirely regret this from happeneing. I am thankful to everyone because they helped me, but too much of anything is sometimes not good.
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    Oct 5 2011: "Academia teaches politicians without politics"

    Creativity is given to those who are lucky enough to be claimed creative, not those who ARE actually creative. Some of the most brilliant minds will die without more than a hand full of people knowing who they were. Then academia chooses to illuminate ancient educations and ignore modern issues in parallel to historic ones.

    You cannot be creative if you do not know EVERY original thought has been taken. My generation is composed of builders, enhancers, and enthusiast. We should not fight that reality, we should educate for them to be even better builders, enhancers and enthusiast.

    Stop relying on public education to teach the children. If YOU have the chance to educate the future, you have the responsibility to do so. Stop waiting for the system to turn around.
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      Oct 6 2011: Great stuff, well said!
      Many lessons to be learned. "Stop relying on public education to teach the children. If YOU have the chance to educate the future, you have the responsibility to do so. Stop waiting for the system to turn around." Like that! It is not about them, it is about US.

      Out of curiosity, which generation are you speaking for when you say "our generation"?

      And just so you don't lose hope, creativity IS yours, it is truly not even a left-right brain issue -it is part of you. It can be stifled, and pushed back, or suffocated among tons of useless information/data, making it very hard for you to resort to it. But you have it. If others don't call you creative, who cares, it is not a badge.
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        Oct 6 2011: I'm twenty, but the generations behind me are mine (ours) also, in general.

        Indeed, creativity is a skill. Perhaps even a predisposed one. But, like all skills they can be developed.

        Not just talking about myself here, but in generalities. I am just one example of the "free thinking" youth that exist today, there are many. And, there is no public media of any sort challenging us to think outside of the box. I mean EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED, yet we all have personal disconnections because of things like you said. Tons and tons of useless information that is not filtered properly because we teach kids "what to think" and not "how to think"

        Monumental changes need to take place in approaches towards education. It's a vicious cycle of production lines producing consumer zombie youth. More concerned about being criticized than creating good criticisms. Thus my original quote. Sorry to go off topic a little. Overall though, there is NOT enough critical thinking going on, and that is going to just create more problems on top of the already existing ones.
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          Oct 8 2011: :-) Nicholas, you are always welcome to be expansive here, share away! (technically speaking, 2000 characters says it loud and clear)

          "...we teach kids "what to think" and not "how to think". We said it before, is that education or indoctrination?
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          Oct 8 2011: Karina - yes, as we re-visit what we are doing in the process of reforming education we need to be aware that to indoctrinate our children is to rob them of their future. Filling heads with dogma is like administering anesthesia to the naturally creative, imaginative minds of humans. But at the same time people in fact LOOK for something to believe in and mistake someone else's ideas as being their own. That's the real danger of indoctrination (and that includes religious indoctrination as well as educational indoctrination). People (children, adults) are looking for something they can believe in and mistakingly think it is something that can be found outside of them when in fact it lies within them. We need to help students find what lies within them.
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          Oct 8 2011: Jim, missed your input these days.
          I agree: we need to help students find what lies within them.
          And we need to do a lot of other things as well. While it all begins in the realm of ideas, I'd love for the outcome of this debate to be concrete... when all is said and done, to come up with a project, a decision, a group of people from all over that remains connected and affects change in a tangible way.

          Please, look at the top, where the initial debate is posted, and give us your 2 top ideas, and 1 solution you like.
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        Oct 8 2011: It's the system that produces the means for both.
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          Oct 8 2011: Nicholas: "You cannot be creative if you do not know EVERY original thought has been taken.".

          There is some truth to that.To be creative is not to be original. However, the true mark of originality comes from the process of imagining, which is similar to but differerent from being creative. Imagination is the highest form of thought in my book. It is the way we advance as a species. It is through this imagining, this visionary thinking, that we progress.
          To take a combination of ideas/thoughts/etc.

          Maybe far in the future our species will in fact be "self-educating" as you imply. It makes sense. But until then there are many bridges to cross to get there. I think the immediate future of educational reform needs to take learning out of the four walls of the classroom and the pages of a book and create a new classroom that is immersed in the world we live in and connected to it by technology. I think it needs to go through a number of stages to even get there, but I think the time is "now" to expand the concept of what a "classroom" is.
  • Oct 4 2011: Creativity can inspire and promote the development of social and emotional intelligences.

    If early education welcomes creativity and invites the imagination to explore, enquire, thrive and excite, we unleash enquiring minds who are able to draw and draft, tip-toe and trample, scratch and smudge out their own blue print for life-long learning. Will continue to ask, think, taste, view, respond, digest, wonder, ponder, play, wait, phrase, stop, stand, ride, twist, go, grasp, try, touch, strive, raise, drive etc etc.

    Any small child, given the liberated space to create, will naturally devise scenarios, appoint characters and role play scenes of their experiences, personal relationships and social and emotional connections to events, activities and memories; developing imagination and aspiration. A child explores the world through play as a natural reaction, a response to the need to explore, develop, question and resolve.

    It may not be the things that we were told, what we read or what we did that is embedded from our education but we will always remember how it made us feel.

    The information, questions and answers that the education system requires the brain to recall for testing and grading, can be gathered from the emotional memory if the learning process is creative and/or engages diverse learning styles; visual, audio, kineasthetic.

    When looking at the value of developing the left brain verses the right for best success in education, we should always consider the emotional brain, our social and emotional intellect, and creativity is a feeder of that.

    A great example of this can be viewed here in a collaborative creative process for ages 16+ taking place in a British school.

    Click on the link and play film (only 3mins in duration) http://www.unanima-theatre.co.uk/about
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      Oct 5 2011: Unanima Theatre, thanks for your thoughts!
      "When looking at the value of developing the left brain verses the right for best success in education, we should always consider the emotional brain, our social and emotional intellect, and creativity is a feeder of that."
      There is a great book that has been around for a while and has not needed updating, "Emotional Intelligence", Daniel Goleman -but you could have written it :-) Only it suggests those skills should be developed since birth (and backs it up with solid research data)

      Amazing link! I think this conversation is getting to the point where we are finally beginning to include EVERYBODY in the picture, not a gray uniform mass but a whole made out of individuals, with differences that need to be addressed differently, like Walter and Christa pointed out before.
      BTW, I also noted a similar approach in a British school during the time I was there, but at the primary level! I think that beyond the stereotype of being traditional, a lot of wonderful things have been happening in UK in many areas.
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    Oct 2 2011: Creativity is the only thing that has repeatedly rescued humankind from jeopardy.
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      Oct 10 2011: Juliet,

      What did just happen here? Did somebody remove comments?

      I appreciate your input here every time, don't remember who was talking with you... but it is just silly to go away in the middle of a discussion. It cuts the thread for whoever comes later and wants to follow...

      Anyway, your point remains, and it is a good one. Education has rescued us from many mistakes throughout history...
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        Oct 11 2011: Karina, Amazing !! Thank you for a good question.
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    Sep 30 2011: We have given almost no space to creativity in our current education System. Probably we had no need. At the moment, creativity is a question of survival. We have a crisis of values in front of us, and a challenge to overcome this situation. The right part of the brain is being revalued. Shall we be able to change our inner pattern?
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      Sep 30 2011: Gracias por compartir tu punto de vista...
      Es una buena pregunta, podremos cambiar nuestros patrones internos? Y yo agrego, podremos cambiar, aprender nuevas estructuras de pensamiento A TIEMPO?
      La juventud esta perdiendo su tiempo, oportunidades unicas se les escapan, y -al menos los que dependen de un sistema publico y uniforme- pierden su entusiasmo y ganas de vivir, y todo pasa demasiado rapido para que los adultos que deben guiarlos se puedan poner al dia...
      Sera la solucion un cambio radical, volver a pequenas celulas (educacion en casa, o en pequenos grupos de familias similares) y olvidarse de un sistema central obsoleto que ya perdio la capacided de ver, identificar, y ayudar al individuo?
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        Oct 1 2011: Karina por supuesto que tus propuestas en forma de pregunta tienen parte de la solucion. Y agregaria siguiendo lo que Mary dice acerca de revalorar el hemisferio derecho del cerebro, que no es posible olvidar el corazòn. La integralidad del individuo, su indivisibilidad, su esencia como ser sentiente es lo que el sistema central y obsoleto ya no puede ver.
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          Oct 2 2011: :-) Ho sempre avuto una grande passione per trovare soluzioni, e come Socrate, io so di non sapere...domando perche veramente non so.
          Forse quella e la risposta... Il metodo socratico e uno degli approcci piu antiche e piu potente per il sviluppo di capacita di pensiero critico (suona cosi bene...)
          Il domandarei permette di pensare per se stessi. E anche una “terapia dell’anima”; comme hai detto, non tutto e pensiero e raggione... Per Socrate l' uomo e la sua anima; l'anima e il centro della responsabilita e della correttezza morale, e secondo lui "l'insegnare agli uomini la cura della propria anima è il compito supremo dell'educatore" (watch out, we are talking values here, and morals!)
          Ma vi chiedo, abbiamo tempo per questo, per curare l'anima???
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    Sep 30 2011: The attitude towards creativity in education as it is in all parts of live is very ambiguous.
    I would love to write an essay on this but my English is too limited to do so.

    Your questions however suggest that there is much to say about this subject.
    Creativity is deadened in children and those that keep their creativity alive are often squeezed out.

    We allow it in artists and admire them for what we love most in ourselves but couldn't bring about.

    Most people live by rules and regulations and well-established structures that give little uncertainty and surprise and all what defies this is neglected or condemned.

    Edited: If we want to stimulate the natural creativity in a child it would be better to listen to the child and to look at every child as an individual. Would Mozart ever have shown its talents if his father was obliged to put his child on one of our schools?
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      Sep 30 2011: You have only NOW, the past is gone, the future in not quite here yet (contrary to what the speed of life might make you think).
      WRITE! Give what you have in your own language, in your own way. You will find a translator at the right time... who knows, maybe even here...
      Just do it today! :-)
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        Oct 9 2011: Part 1

        To preserve creativity in men.

        To be creative one has to be free, free of attachment but focused on a desire to bring it into the light.
        The object is joy from experience and in that living the spirit you are.
        The spirit is our capability to experience anything but to become nothing as would happen if we identify with some formed structure.

        It happens that I can remember myself from early on and relate experiences of the first years of human life. If it can stand as a model for every being only the future can learn by comparing our testimonies.

        Let me by example testify what that experience can be and what it looks like.

        The house where I was born and lived with my parents and 6 brothers and sisters of which I was the youngest had an attic where we, the children slept. Part of that attic was to store old and unused things. There was the gun, helmet and uniform my father had used in war. Also there was an old trunk for the tropics that my uncle had used who had been a missioner in Africa and India, with all his equipment for traveling those countries in the forties and fifties of the last century.

        As I took the white helmet and put this on my head I walked the jungle, if I took instead the flyers cap with glasses, I flew in a two seat airplane and enjoyed flying. I could travel the world with these requisites although being but 3 years or 4 in a period where pictures and television hadn’t arrived yet to our time and place. If later on I saw pictures of those events it was mere a recognition then a view on the unknown.

        If I explored the room of my sisters that were much older many other experiences were to be found. As I took up a lipstick and flew in as I wondered about it, I was a young woman sitting in a high building as I later learned could in that time only be found in places as New York. I walked by night in light open space with much glass thinking about the exquisiteness of makeup things and what could be made better.
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        Oct 9 2011: Part 2

        As I let this item loose and laid myself on bed my spirit flew out of the window and walked over the roof picking out nice stones of the gravel that was on it. Through doing this I was attracted by some desert and walked hours walking the sand searching for special precious things. Just only to forget this all as a sound from downstairs signaled that some brothers had come home from school.

        As I got older I was eager to learn and know all these things, and by this give substance to all these impressions. My mind wanted to get control of the world to navigate and work in it.

        As my brother one morning before school had to learn his history book I saw a drawing in it of some boy clad in animal cloth with a spear what I suspected later to be a picture of a Germanic boy before a house of clay and straw. I was overwhelmed by feelings from that picture that brought back many memories of living such a life. Water, woods, a boat in the marsh, animals in the wild and fire at night, all that flashed my mind for never leaving me again.

        My brother didn’t bother to tell me much when asked and I couldn’t read yet what the text could reveal. How much I wished to go to school then and learn all those secrets. Once I did, it appeared that apart from what names and date’s little was told about those periods of early civilization. Yet my curiosity didn’t vanish and more and more I searched for the secrets of nature and history.

        All my expectations I had before, that school would give the answers to were in vain and all there was instead was a system of drilling and doing stupid things. At first there was the alphabet to learn. Funny how most characters had a special feeling and sometimes even taste. After the first morning at school I ran home in full excitement for one word I mastered already and I would show this and with it how happy I was.
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        Oct 9 2011: Part 3

        Alas little response and sadly this was the start of much disappointments. Maybe I wasn’t an average kid and in-between I’ve raised kids myself and the story is always different but all the same in one thing: children are seen as children like dogs and cats although everyone that has a dog or cat knows that they are individuals. Children are individuals and need to be treated as such. What good is for one isn’t good for another or not yet for that moment. They need to explore their world and hold this with their minds. They must be given opportunities for exploration in the world together and alone.

        Of course they need tools and crafts, they need to read and write, count and figure but this would be so much more easy as they wanted to learn this badly. A Greek wise-guy of old said once: “To teach isn’t like filling a bucket but as to kindle a fire”. And they need apart from love due respect. They may be little and lack some knowledge from what we think important but they need to be heard and reckoned with. This cry was the message some girl from heaven stressed as she spoke through a friend of mine and mediator. For life on this planet is just a little sojourn for the spirit we are.

        A lot has changed since I went to that school and some things for the better yet most is rather cosmetic than fundamental. And of course the factories needed people that could function in a disciplined way and could take orders and execute those fast and free of error. Obedience to authorities had to streamline the organization to get the most out in productivity and quality. People that were conditioned that way could be as effective in the hands of a lunatic dictator like Hitler as it could serve Ford or Volkswagen to export their cars all over the world.
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        Oct 9 2011: Part 4

        With a grower number of exceptions these are the people that need to teach the young generation and govern the policies by which our schools have to operate. They can’t be turned around to see what’s missing as they didn’t become aware to miss it in themselves. Alternative systems were allowed in the Netherlands and abroad as the Anthroposophist school of Rudolf Steiner, the Jenaplan, Dalton schools, Montessori which had good things and some flaws but didn’t make it to become a general model because at first most parents are suspicious for what is less normal and also many employers do take the same stand.

        Educating children without breaking their spirit to become the ultimate expression of their being is ever more necessary in a world that has become as small as today’s, which is about to be populated over the edge and gives access to all kinds of powers that can be used in negative as positive ways, better to say in constructive and destructive ways. If children could be left intact they would be creative, peaceful, curious, compassionate, helpful and altruistic. They could build a society of old in a new fashion where nature is partly replaced by technology.

        A society of cooperation as of old as I mean that not long for now an Indian tribe was discovered that appeared to have in their language no one word to replace the word “I”, or me, or mine. Maybe you say, can you speak of creativity as there is no sense of I as is our habit? I can confirm this because how much more creativity can there be as with people that has a maximum in cooperation and are all free spirits which means that they can know everything and bring it to mind to act upon this with their united force to bring it about to our world to benefit all.
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        Oct 9 2011: Part 5

        Many things stand in the way of this utopia and that’s all old conditioning, opinions from old believes whether they are religious or scientific or political. But we can try to stress the need to make small changes for the better. Changes in teachers and pupils, in parents and governments, in justice and behavior but foremost to live our ideal and be the change we hold precious.
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          Oct 10 2011: Wow, Frans. Let me digest all this today.

          You've work hard, and brought up many, many points. It is obvious that his issue is very dear to your heart! Thanks for letting us know your views.
    • Oct 9 2011: Creativity is our default setting. I see it in the poorest slum areas of Cairo, where children use scraps to make games, or adults build shelters from scrap. creativity can break your heart, When you see a child in Famine hit Somalia pick seeds out of animal droppings. Is creativity the same as survival? maybe we need it to survive. Our modern schools, full of rubrics, benchmarks and guidelines have lost sight of what education is all about. I thought it was to prepare us for the world and allow us to be all that we could be... oh no! is that the US Army's slogan..... I get confused, arent schools and armies becoming more and more similar to eachother?Where is the chance of having an ah..ha moment, or the pleasure of just thinking out aloud. We need a serious educational earthquake to undo the current iceage which is working so hard to stifle the natural desire to create and develop.
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        Oct 10 2011: Amira, I think you just destilled the question to the core, to the bare essence! Education did certainly do a good job with you. Where did you grow up?

        Here are the main points you make:

        * Creativity is our default setting.
        * We need it to survive
        * Education should prepare us for the world and allow us to be all that we could be
        * Today education stifles the natural desire to create and develop.
        * There is not enough time given to process information
        * Schools look more and more like... the army
        • Oct 10 2011: Thank you for your comments, What good you might find in my comment comes from my dear father who always had and still does have faith in my skills and talents, I hope I have not disappointed him.
          I was raised and educated in many places, East, West and Middle East. I am passionate about creating the right place, soil, temperature and energy for each child to flower and blossom. However, it seems that educational sems are standing in the way of my dream and the dream of many others like myself.
        • Oct 12 2011: Hi, Karina, I'd like to make a few more points. I 've been following a lot of what has been said and it strikes me that much is theoretical. While think tanks and brainstorming are the essential elements for problem solving, they can lead to highly abstract situations. I say this because of a particular situation I am experiencing at the moment. I come from Egypt, live in Cairo and am part of the Jan 25 revolution. As a nation, we are now burdened by discussions regarding our future, form of goverment, possible pitfalls, etc. We have yet to find strong voices describing "how-to "practical solutions for some of the endless problems we inherited from the fallen dictatiorship. The need for creativity here is paramount, and the capacity to be creative seems scarce. Sadly, the educational and cultural atmosphere of the past 60 years did exactly what Sir Ken Robinson was talking about; strip mined our minds. So, as you can understand, I am passionate about the subject, see, feel and believe in the catastrophe we find ourselves in when the hallmark of humanity;creativity, is ripped out of our very souls.
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    Sep 30 2011: If you watched Sir Ken Robinson's TED, this is not so new for you, but it is worth watching because it is twice creative :-)
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    Sep 29 2011: In today education : not a place.
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    Sep 27 2011: i see a lot of creativity to be problem solving of some nature. which really makes up half of what education really is. to effectivly problem solve is to create, adapt, suceed, surive.
    • Sep 28 2011: The issue is, same issues, same problems to solve, same slightly varied solutions... Same idea I mentioned of conveyor belt citizens via the educational system.
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        Sep 28 2011: Exactly, the problems are pre-set, and what you call problem solving is usually just following the established steps and arriving to the predictable result.
        What about taking real life problems and tackling them in the class setting -or in the real world? Art students can do a mural for a local children hospital using recycled materials collected from the community, history class will put a weekly panel with a given theme that will take place at a local retirement home posters, wikis, prezis used regularly) or debate current issues at the school radio station (built and managed by students of other specialized classes), statistics will join forces with economics and invest as well as monitor students' accounts. Initial money will be obtained from activities in which students participated, such as fund raising marathons, tutoring, concerts or plays...
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          Oct 10 2011: "i see a lot of creativity to be problem solving of some nature. which really makes up half of what education really is. to effectivly problem solve is to create, adapt, suceed, surive."

          My thoughts on the quote above and Karina's reply to it: The world will always need skilled problem-solvers. But we also need skilled problem-finders, who can discern problems/opportunities that are not widely recognized yet. Problem-finding skills are seldom addressed in schools, but should be.

          What Karina describes is service-learning, which is a powerful way to learn through providing a service to the local community. Too bad it isn't more widely used as as youth development technique. I have seen its application first hand at Humble ISD, in Humble TX where the high schools had a service-learning coordinator and where such coordinators meet regularly to share and learn from each other. They were featured in a documentary that recognized progressive learning approaches.
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    Sep 27 2011: Yes, that's what I mean! But it is hard to nurture.... A part of the process is that teachers must be educated to be creative in their teaching. Thanks for the conversation - the subject is a perfect one for the TED community but it seems we always get tangled up in talking about it.

    TED is looking to become a place to educate the young (TED ED) and it is at the beginning stages. I want to impress them with how important it is to be creative in our thinking as we educate our students AND to to find a way to educate teachers to be creative in their teaching (for many teachers creativity does not enter into their lesson planning).

    Sir Ken Robinson has great ideas about this subject of creativity and education here on TED.
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      Sep 27 2011: "but it seems we always get tangled up in talking about it."
      Hey, Jim, I take this personally. I am in the classroom up to 12 hours a day (only paid for 8), write curriculum, put together district and city-wide conferences, tutor, teach art on weekends, train colleagues accross the district and accross the curriculum, volunteer regularly in all sorts of events -academic or not, do reseach, donate my art, helped set up our local TEDx... I feel I do a lot more than talking ;-)
      I agree with you 100% in that teachers need to learn how to think creatively. In fact, what is more difficult, they need to first unlearn old patterns.
      Let's make TED and TED ED required training, with some product expected afterwards to reflect real learning. Now that's an idea worth spreading :-)
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    Sep 27 2011: Let's not get all tangled up in what creativity is and is not, what it can and cannot do, what it's value is to education

    Let's not intellectualize it. Let's analyze creativity as a process of thinking that is crucial to us understanding the "why" behind the "what" we learn. And don't mistake the "why" as being simply a "reason" for learning. It is a never-ending "why". That to me is creative thinking.

    Good scientists and researchers are creative thinkers. Artists are creative thinkers. Anyone who is good at what they do are good primarily because they have learned to think creatively about what they do.
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      Sep 27 2011: So, what is creativity's role in education? To bring forward the why. I like that! "It is a never-ending "why". That to me is creative thinking." You hit the nail on the head!
      As long as the learner keeps on asking himself why, as long as he is able to come up with more why's, as long as the educators keep on fostering that curiosity instead of ANSWERING (who does really know the why anyway????) creativity will be alive and well. And soon the "guide" will not even be necessary... Doesn't it sound just right?
      Creativity comes from within, give it time and room, let it breathe, it will show itself.
    • Sep 27 2011: Right on Jim. It is not just creative techniques we need, but teachers who spark creativity of any sort like you mention.

      Teaching people to really think has to be the goal. As I said in my original post, that is not just some sort of logical thinking exercise (though that might be good), but teaching how to not just think outside of the box, but to pick the darn thing up, cut it open and redesign the thing.

      This will require a whole change of ways of thinking about what education really is about however. It is not just the what or why dichotomy, but teaching people to take the next step and say what's around that corner. We need explorers not automans.
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    Sep 26 2011: Creativity is like a root, in some people is deep and strong and some just tinny, but everyone is create to some extend.

    If you have a strong root no one can kill it but if not , it can get vanished by the society . In Germany or Japan because of the social structure you can't find that many creative people and their Art and movies are not that great although both are great places to live.

    I have been teaching Art and Film making and I have seen countless people who were creative at some point but like a tree in the desert they just dried , or some who because of a great environment flourished.

    Our schools are very close to Animal Farming , tight , packed spaces , same boring and repetitive things and ....
    they are specialized in killing human spirit and creativity along with it.
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    Oct 26 2011: The clock is ticking, and this debate will be closing shortly.
    I owe you a thrilling 30 days of great company, and I want to give you my heartfelt thanks!

    It has been a wonderful journey through the ins and outs of creativity, and I am humbled by your tremendous participation, honest sharing and committed presence on this page.

    You built a community within a community, searching for truths in a subject that has proven relevant for all ages, but particularly key for our feature.

    You provided challenging questions, in depth answers, soulful reflections, academic resources, provocative links, real life scenarios, childhood memories, school anecdotes, project ideas, even inspirational music.
    You pushed each other further into critical thinking while preserving a climate of respect and care.
    You made us laugh and cry.
    You made it come alive.

    As we reached deeper, the debate took us from creativity in education to the very nature of education itself, and the clear need for improvement.

    We looked at models from the past, from Socrates to Montessori and post-war, and considered contemporary alternatives.
    We wondered weather it was better to think out of the box or make a new box altogether.
    We begun to focus on what we can do better, rather than dwell on what was done wrong.
    We begun to concentrate on specific cases, anywhere from your own classroom to the troubled city of Cairo.
    And more palpable suggestions starting pouring down, specially after Peter and Andrea showed up.

    We came to the end of our debate, what do you want the outcome of this debate to look like?

    Go to the stage 2 debate, Creativity in Action, and POST your idea. This I hope will be a temporary place for us to organize ourselves, choose one project, and tackle it.

    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, let's make creativity infectious.
  • Oct 25 2011: One element that I believe is also a necessary part of the equation is how children and then especially high schoolers are using their time and interaction at school as a molding social environment where they learn to make room and tolerate other people into their existence and learn the rules of civilization and coexistence.

    Whatever model is proposed will have to keep this element in tact.
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    Oct 25 2011: Another idea for Amira's situation is to design in some tangible early success stories that can be told and understood by the masses. Maybe show how creativity in education for youth can lead to youth being problem-solvers and thus an asset to the local community. Why not structure service projects that challenge the youth to apply a variety of design and invention techniques to addressing a social need (provide affordable clean water, sanitation, transportation, etc.) in their immediate community?

    Structuring such service projects with tangible and visible successes in the short term would recast the introduction of creativity in education as a highly pragmatic move - namely to provide a generation of community problem-solvers rather than disobedient, trouble-makers filled with foreign ideas that are destabilizing to the community. It would be patriotic thing to do.

    Another idea is to introduce creativity and innovation in education as something very familiar to the local Egyptian culture. If you can tie it to something very traditional (e.g. innovation is part of our heritage) then it won't be nearly as threatening. "You don't resist that which you create". I would be careful about the language you use to introduce the creativity in education. I would use as much as possible language that is familiar and reassuring to the local culture. For example, in some parts of the USA "social entrepreneurs" may sound too like socialism which may be opposed in those areas. So one could use the term "local problem-solvers" instead.

    Hope these are helpful ideas.
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      Oct 25 2011: Excellent ideas, as usual, Peter!

      Service projects that have direct application AND involve the youth itself. It sounds like a leap into the TIPS, and it will let the students get a taste of the creative process as well as the sweet taste of success on the product itself, while demonstrating to the adults that creativity doesn't have to be threatening. Much like the skating project in Burnsville, it seems to involve every player in a win-win idea.

      I like ti very much!!!
  • Oct 25 2011: This is to Amira....... Hey,

    I know that if creativity is to grow and combined with all of the many social problems that are barriers in many countries, it will take more people like you to make it happen. You can start a spark and lead by example. And as you do, other people will join in and help. With enough creative people thinking together, creatively and in sync with each other, I would think that it can be done. We must show somehow, that creativity can solve problems. And through education, gather those ideas and figure out a way to implement them in a fair and balanced way. The economic conditions are just one of those barriers, and probably the biggest.
    I haven't been up on the news lately, but a while ago I read of the project called the Millennium Dam, that was to be built for giving more power, Hydro-electric, that would give more economic relief to all that live on and around the Nile. Is that still happening? And what stage is it in?
    Just remember that Creativity, combats many different obstacles, with Creativity.
    • Oct 25 2011: Hey Dan, thanks for the input. I hope I can keep my own inner spark going in the face of daily stress, disappointment and simple day to day routines. Hope we can all stay in touch and send some energy to each other in more conversations such as this.
      As for the Dam, it is not in Egypt, its in Ethopia and the project has been causing a lot of debate as how it will negatievly effect other nations in the Nile basin.
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    Oct 24 2011: I feel if creativity could be taught I wouldn't have learned it...In school.

    I feel when cause and effect are in straight relation of each other everyone knows the answer.
    But when cause and effect are pulled further and further apart.
    Cause and effect becomes rather abstract and interdependent.
    But I suppose that is the juggling act that nature provides for us to define thru trial and error.

    It is the nature of variables that define a thing..In this day and age.
    No longer universal standards....Up to a point of course

    Nature is the ultimate mistress ..and works in combination, and is always interdependent..
    I feel one can not help but be creative in accessing her true value, let alone her meaning....
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      Oct 23 2011: Hi Varlan,

      Thanks for your post on creativity in the classroom and of de Bono's work. If you find de Bono's work of value, you might also find Conceptual Blockbusting by Adams and Creativity in Business by Michael Ray of value. The latter work has a rather misleading name. It actually is not a typical business book but rather a book filled with holistic advice. Best regards, Peter
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          Oct 23 2011: And Varian, you just got yourself a part in this creativity conversation!

          Why not, your action role could be to start a debate on Creativity in the Work Place. Go ahead, and see where it takes you :-)

          I'll be on the look out!
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          Oct 24 2011: Hi Varlan,

          If you start a TED Conversation on Creativity in the Workplace, I'll post on it. I have lots to share and explore on this topic. So are interested in hosting that conversation?

          Best regards,

        • Oct 24 2011: I also would like to see this happen. This is another whole half of what creativity is all about. We need to be creative, if we work in a none creative job. It keeps the interest going,as well as making a particular job more enjoyable. I would definitely have some examples to throw out there.

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    Oct 23 2011: Excellent observations Peter. Thank you for your insights.

    I agree with you. How can living lightly with a very small footprint become cultural "success" instead of opulence and consumerism. It will take a shift of consciousness in fundamental ways. Reevaluating and deframing the cultural myths that undermine cultural values. Understanding that 'discounting the future' as an economic concept undermines ecosystems as bio-physical and interdependent basic life support networks. We seem to know ' the price of everything and the value of nothing' as little accounting is given to consequences of our 'management' upon all resources. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 states 60% of ecosystem function is in decline while the onslaught increases geometrically.

    As you eloquently point out, our advertisers and marketeers are the most creative in a culture which sees nor understands the finite nature of the planet. If the world adopted our standard of living, it would take 4 to 5 planets. Seen any lately that might be of use? How arrogant can we be? Is there no limit?

    Creativity for me is synthesis, a daily endeavor. How do we learn from past trends incorporating corrective measures as we understand them. How can we understand how, 'Cultural mores' undermine creativity in many ways from economic slavery in a race to the bottom to confirming value on Industries and businesses who destroy our ecosystems. Its all connected.

    Creativity connotes a synthesis and responsibility to evolve in conscious ways in every choice we make.
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      Oct 23 2011: Taking notes, all very good points, Craig.

      Talking on the finite nature of the planet, "living lightly with a very small footprint [should] become cultural "success" instead of opulence and consumerism [...] How arrogant can we be? Is there no limit?"

      "We seem to know ' the price of everything and the value of nothing'"

      "Creativity for me is synthesis, a daily endeavor."

      "Creativity connotes a synthesis and responsibility to evolve in conscious ways in every choice we make."
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    Oct 23 2011: Hey good questions. I think you are spot on actually. I think you are correct in your assumption that primary school is designed to indoctrinate everyone to have the same values (your words in a nutshell in my words). The "experts" did this shortly after ww2 in order to better insure stability within their country and help prevent any kind of civil war. That, and everyone was so spooked that the only way they could calm down is to make their lives ridgid and completely uncreative. These days however, we have the internet which eliminates the need for this. We arent likely to burn witches at the stake, or care if someone is jewish or white, or black or whatever. These days we are pretty cool with being different. The school system is pretty out dated, and we are realizing now that creativity and different thinking are, like you said, paving the way for humanity. I think the powers that be just arent sure what's gonna happen if they give everyone the same degree of mental freedom that their own kids get in their private schools, and thats probably why they arent in any hurry.
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      Oct 23 2011: Brandon,
      Thanks for sharing!

      I think your nutshell might be too small for my words... I have to say, your summary of recent history as it relates to education is a little skimpy. It overlooks a couple of significant events that still have remnants in our classrooms.
      "These days we are pretty cool with being different." I disagree. If we just take it from WW2, to follow your lead, we cannot overlook the deep impact of segregation. While a combination of social, political, and later academic action helped to even out differences, it is simplistic to say it is pretty cool today. This melting pot may be "almost" done with the n word, but Latino population is growing exponentially posing some challenges of its own, while gender and religious issues are red hot as we speak. As a teacher I can tell you nobody is yet pretty cool. Education is organic, alive and changing as much as the society it affects... we will really never be done.
      My modest opinion...
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    Oct 23 2011: I feel sorry to say that teachers have not imagination enough to share with pupils.They are too busy following the schedule marked by plan, there is no place to improvise and listen what kids can say. I'm sure that we all are creative but we need some push to show it and feel free to be different.We were programmed for the Industrial revolution but that was a long time ago and we keep trying to educate kids to be just a human tool.
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      Oct 23 2011: Hi Jacinto,

      I hear the frustration in your post. I think that many teachers have imagination to share with their pupils but are unable to due to the administrative barriers you so clearly described. Too often I hear from a teacher that despite their best intentions to share and cultivate creativity and imagination in their class, they are unable to.

      One example of a teacher in a public school who has been able to share imagination and creativity in his classroom is Jared Vanscoder of the Dallas, Texas area. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months ago and discuss the issue of promoting creativity in the classroom. Take a look at his website for his school classroom: http://www.irvingdesignstudio.net/

      Best regards,

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        Oct 23 2011: Maybe that's what I wanted to say but my english is more limited than I thought.I
        will take a look to that link.

        Thanks !
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      Oct 23 2011: I agree a lot with your point about teachers not getting the time. I myself stopped teaching for that very reason. Cheaper education means less teachers. Less teachears means less time for the teachers that are left. Less time means we don't have the means to give students the mindshare they deserve. When I was teaching, I completely ignored my "orders" and taught the way I wanted. My kids always loved my class, and their performance in the areas that count like self esteem, integrity, self expression, flexibility, and above all creativity were excellent. I always clashed with the board though, however, I practice what I preech. I would not compromise just so they can pad their schools score in the education system. Their solution was to run me ragged and it worked, because I quit, and I only do private mentoring now.
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        Oct 23 2011: Same here, congratulations on accepting the fact that you and the traditional school system did not go well together.
        It takes a lot of courage to face risks and change!
  • Oct 23 2011: Read bottom post first..................

    This creative mind was, Amira Makhlouf. At this point of the discussion, when I heard your response, it made me pause and get into the conversation. You can tell that she is creative in the way she writes and thinks, everyone should go and read, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
    There are a few other young students that came in and gave their thoughts, and then left the discussion. And the theme was the same in their thoughts. It came down to thinking the school system just makes them, learn, memorize, test. They sounded real bored, and wanted to find the reason why.
    I'm asking the same, but have a different view, because I'm not a young student, I'm an older student. But seeing the same thing in a different, more experienced way. I see that the younger students are having a hard time in communicating their thoughts, and are staying on their guard.
    When you said that Facebook was created by college students, but now that is lost to the younger. I thought that maybe something like that could be created "JUST FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS ONLY." I don't know if that could be done, but would make scene, would it not?

    I would like to ask you a couple of question in regard to the discussion........
    I was wondering if Walter was you PE teacher?
    Even responding in Luigi language was great.
    I thought that Katrina was a creative point, Saying you aren't as destructive LOL.
    The computer MAC in the boat and the shark, made me laugh.
    :-), this is the creativity that is missing in people, I new what it was right away.

    Again, excellent job on this conversation!!!
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      Oct 23 2011: Awwwww, Dan, thank you! I am honored by your comments, and the time you spent going through every entry here. Well, every one of my comments anyway. Really? You are missing the best part, though, take time tomorrow and read the rest, believe me, the TEDsters take the trophy for this debate.

      I am also glad you found it meaningful enough to give it your time, and then put into words what the debate did for you. It was my hope that it stirred readers into thinking and moved them into action.
      Keep in mind that none of this would have happened if everybody just passed by, passively read and moved on. It took effort from everyone, longer hours (I can attest to that!) and a decision to be part of the solution. It all begins with a single step! You are taking yours now :-)

      I feel famous now that you quoted ME, but in all honesty, here are a few clarifications, for the records:
      I don't remember suggesting teaching a creativity class, but rather teaching creative process, creative thinking; also, the "creative output ratio" is the brainchild of one of our most active posters, and also one of the most incredibly creative minds I've known, Mr. Peter Han. I simply cited it...

      And Walter was not my PE teacher (I had an awful teacher), but the dialogue here is cut off by another poster removing his part, so it becomes hard to understand. Walter suggested that the focus shifted from competitive sports, which don't account for individual differences, to fun activities such as obstacle courses, where everyone is competing with himself. I loved that. The other poster just was against anything Walter said :-P back to school, eh?

      Yes, Amira, we need her back, someone get her, we need her here :-)

      And yes, you are very perceptive, Luigi's presence was short but profound...

      I hope you stick around, this debate expires soon, but as you read, I will open a sequel so we have time to start an action plan. We need man (and woman) power with a creative edge, and I think you've got it.
  • Oct 23 2011: Karina,
    I'm amazed at how this topic is so popular, and has many worries and concerns. I wanted to get the full picture in this conversation, but thought that would take a long time to go back and read everything. So I did some "critical" and "creative" thinking. (I'm an artist, and in college, that's what I do) and decided to go to the beginning, and read just all of your comments to responders. It gave me a different view of the fluidity of this conversation. You have done a great job on guiding it all the way through,"my hands are clapping hard right now, I hope you can hear!" I would like to put some of your quotes here, hope you don't mind.
    "An Individualistic society afraid of the Individual, could it be."
    "for each question there is more than one answer"
    "when you unleash creativity, there is an uncontrollable, unstoppable need for action!"
    "Creativity implies risk"
    "collaboration is the stuff of growth"
    "to the point of including EVERYBODY, made of individuals with differences that needs to be addressed differently"
    "wouldn't it be fulfilling for teachers, if their grateful students would come back after a while to let them know the great inspiration that they were"
    "what if we created a class, that was titled, CREATIVITY"
    "creative output ratio"
    "growth, promotion, and success are taking the brightest minds"
    "this information I'm putting in my thoughts, is making me do a lot of soul searching, and goal setting"
    "FYI, there was no pre-charted outcome for this debate, open discussion, everyone's input (even political)"
    "classrooms becoming conveyor-belts of data"
    "we can change the world,one creative goal at a time"

    This is the one that stuck with me,"like a piece of chewed bubble gum, underneath a school desk";
    " I think you just distilled the question to the core, to the bare essence"
    This was a response to a real creative mind, that was reaching out, like you said, to the core of the problem.

    I'm running out of characters, I'll continue on next post.
  • Oct 23 2011: CREATIVITY is rested with every one.In the field of education, the impact of creativity is in 2 field. One is in school educational system and another is with the higher studies. Considering the 1st one, in school every parent thinks of only marks, their child passing in the examination. So this had an impact in child's mind and without knowing the concept (concept could be learned only with the help of creativity) they are just reading and vomiting those stuff in the examination. This affects in the later stages as in the college. In the stream of engineering the creativity is everything. Finally the conclusion is- " Children have creative thinking.But, chance is not given for them. Parents are fearing about the situation of their child living in this competitive world. This affected the CREATIVITY and so the educational system changed as what parents need and no as per the need of future society "
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    Oct 23 2011: There seems to be a conflict of interests that is preventing creativity from getting its well deserved place in education. We want students to learn, but we also need to get evidence of their learning so they can get their degree. I agree with what was said by Cleo earlier: "by focusing on the quantifiable, we form an education system that ignores the qualities that make for success".

    I believe that a teacher's job is to provide the platform from which students can learn. A teacher should stimulate, create thoughtful and appropriate scaffolding for students and invite students to take part in the learning process. If there was no need to "quantify" students' learning, and to demonstrate that they are worthy of a degree, we could have created wonderful platforms and allow students to learn as much as they want from it. I believe this would have also made students less passive and take charge of their learning (that is, since they would have come to Uni to learn instead of to in order to earn a degree).

    One of the most wonderful things about creativity is that there is no limit to it - as there is no one correct answer. The easiest way to give grades - is to ask questions that have one answer (which creates a limit). Therefore, unless a big change in the educational-system's assessment methods will be made, I can't see creativity getting into the curriculum. Any ideas for how could we assess creativity on a large scale (for example a class of 200 students)?
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      Oct 23 2011: Ayelet,

      Good point about the conflict between being efficient in assessing competence and enabling learning. However, maybe efficiency is not the appropriate goal when it comes to assessing human beings, which are the incredibly complex and have the capacity to grow and change.

      How would I assess creativity on a large scale for 200 students? If I were assessing them to determine how best to encourage, enable and cultivate their creativity, then I would need to learn about them as individuals and thus efficient mass assessments would not be possible. Human beings are incredibly complex and creativity is incredibly general a term so assessing a human beings creativity does not lend itself to simple assessment tools or processes.

      Sorry to disappoint you with no simple efficient mass assessment for mass application.
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      Oct 23 2011: Ayelet,

      I hear both of you... Ayelet, you obviously have a keen eye, as you got into the heart of the matter right away.

      We want students to learn, but we have to measure; we want them to be active in this process, but we have to set limits... we want more quality but it is quantity that gets in the way!
      And that is for sure: there is no getting away from those numbers, increasing by the minute.

      As a teacher myself, I see a higher student-teacher ratio each year, even in the lowest grades. To me this is a crucial problem, as Peter mentions, one needs time to get to know the children, but I see classrooms being turned into conveyor belts of data...

      I recently had the chance to ask a leader in education about her opinion on that trend. Her answer was, do not complain, "Young woman, in my first years in education I was given a first grade class with more than 50 students". Hmmm, does the fact than it can be done prove that it is right? Or does the fact that the teacher survived prove that kids learned? Did they graduate from elementary or eventually fell through the cracks and went out to work the field with their parents? Is this quality education anyways???
      I was speechless...
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    Oct 23 2011: Here is a practical action that we might consider taking to encourage creativity in our children (if we are parents) or students (if we are teachers).

    Constrain the amount of time and energy our youth spend on social media. See article on the detrimental effects of excessive use of such technology on learning and creativity: ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?pagewanted=all )
    • Oct 23 2011: I somewhat agree that excessive social media can be detrimental to creative development.
      Instead of limiting this (which can pose a number of personal problems), however, maybe we can leverage social media.

      Think about it:
      -it can spread inspirational ideas quickly (like TED vids)
      -it can encourage student networking and cooperation
      -it can be an outlet for creative expression- photos, videos, writing

      I don't think the problem is social media but the way it is used.
      Parents and teachers can potentially have a profound impact upon the type of content shared by the child.
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        Oct 23 2011: Hi Albert,

        One issue I see with the use of Facebook and Twitter is in the very nature of the activity involved in these social media. There is in my opinion too much emphasis on superficial expressions of approval and too much scanning for novelty inherent in these forms of social media. So the structure of these social media tools channel the user to certain types of cognitive activities preferentially over others (e.g. deep reflection, debate). So the way social media is used may be far more limited than one may think.
        • Oct 23 2011: You bring up a good point that I cannot fully refute.

          Personally I don't use social media so I am not an expert.
          But I think that fundamentally it depends upon who uses it (which would probably be circular reasoning). Many of my friends use it to organize various social activities, or spark opinion or debate. It is also a good place for artist, writers and musicians to post content (and many of my friends do so).
          It's probably true that the way facebook/twitter is built doesn't optimize this. can anybody who is a facebook/twitter 'expert' verify/refute my statements?

          Thanks for the reply.
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        Oct 23 2011: Albert,

        You outlined three great benefits of social media. And by discussing this here, we are already proving all of them -we are inspiring others, networking and cooperating, and being creative:-)

        Like you, I don't generally use it but can clearly see a potential for the risks that Peter mentions. The need for approval and speed of communication can combine to cause serious damage. One only has to look at the news to see embarrassing cases, from top ranking politicians and international media moguls, to local teachers or well known students.

        But I'd argue that the problem is not in the technology, but in self esteem (excessive need for approval) and parent responsibility, in the case of students. Busy minds will not have too much time to fiddle with the phone. But can resort to it when a particular invite needs to be made, or a wide reaching question asked... As in everything, excess is not good.

        If anything, I think social media has brought to the light a big gap, a void that we will have to accept and deal with: several generations today feel lonely, undervalued, unappreciated, and hopeless. There is an inner vacuum that the sudden absence of social media, TV, games, etc, will not heal.

        I believe at the root of it all there is, if you will, a vast soullessness. Not universal, but prevalent.
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      Oct 23 2011: Peter,
      Yes, by all means parents, limit socialMEDIA and spend time to teach kids how to socialIZE.

      I find too many children that have learned to type at the speed of light, but are awkward in public, or do not know the subtleties of a thank you note or the need for a RSVP, nor can they negotiate personal differences before escalating into aggression or totally withdrawing...

      There should be an age limit for social media -wait a minute there is one! facebook started as a tool for college students -now the min. age is 13 (too young if you ask me)
      Parents need to be parents, I think that is what it boils down to, again. No rule or law will change the kids' will, if they are not educated into this since the early years.
  • Oct 23 2011: Maybe first place. So many children and their needs need some creative thinking. How can you help a child feel valued? Do the children you teach feel safe? If so how do you know?
  • Oct 22 2011: Ask a young student, and you would probably find that a common criteria of a "bad" or a "good" teacher, will be mainly determined by the level of "boredom" felt in the class.
    The teachers that I can still remember would be my second and third grade teachers.
    They were the ones that gave us our own little plays, every week, of the ideas we came up with the week before.
    I remember "very well," one of those I picked, and that was a scene on a boat in the middle of a lake, fishing. It seems like it happened yesterday!

    Creativity sparks interests. Interests sparks innovations. Innovations solves problems.

    Say that ten times fast!
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      Oct 23 2011: Dan,
      You are lucky to have had creative teachers that early... the first I remember were in high school...

      Creativity sparks interests. Interests sparks innovations. Innovations solve problems. Love that!
      How about, instead of saying it again and again, we follow the recipe and see how it come out?
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      Oct 23 2011: I think that also being curious and interested in our world sparks creativity which in turn sparks innovation. My son has told me upon several occasions that he has NEVER been bored. And I believe him because I have never seen him act as if he were bored. I think the fact that he is highly curious about everything around him and very observant leads him to wonder and wander in situations that the typical person may find boring.
  • Oct 21 2011: Creativity could be instilled in schools through proper lessons planning by the teachers. Good questioning technics and carefully selected teaching aids which emphasize on multiple intelligences could actually promote creative thinking among the students. Teachers will play the role as a facilitator, whereas the students will be actively involved in discussions, problem solving and decision making.
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    Oct 21 2011: Creativity plays a role. Nurturing the creativity in pupils helps them to make their own decisions in the future they will live. What is quite surprising about today's education is its a move towards building a openness of the brain for the youth's future. The question is how can this education be useful in a future generation when all of us who are building this education and these educational medias are not certain of what the future holds. With the way the world is transforming and with the innovations coming each day how do we know that education will be of any value in future?
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      Oct 23 2011: Hello, Emmanuel!

      You pose a big question here, "With the way the world is transforming and innovations coming each day, how do we know (or how do we make sure?) that education is of value in the future?"
      I don't have the answer, but many posters here have pieces of it. I hope that we can make sense of this puzzle and make it work, even in the small scale of our local towns... like Scott said, let's focus in one thing we CAN improve, and start doing something about it.

      Right now we know that in many areas education is just behind, not catching up even with the present time...
      In others, the tools are available (technology, books, etc) but there is not enough time to learn how to apply it, as you say the speed of change is huge.
      Yet, in the midst of it all, home schoolers and non-traditional educational approaches thrive and shine, staying creative, maintaining balance, and taking the future in their very capable hands without hesitation.

      How is the situation where you live? Same in cities as outside of cities? I see you are in South Africa, after all the political changes, how does demographics change the way children are educated today there?

      Is there something you would like to improve?
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        Oct 23 2011: If you see the other conversation on my profile, I am trying to come up wit ideas of how to improve the education in Africa. I am passionate about these kid's future. Africa suffers from lacks of educators and the student to teacher ratio can be as bad as 1 as to 50. Maybe put all these technological innovations to cement the future of the next generation's educational foundation.

        My history teacher used to say, "The account of history that we write today will build the future." I think i now understand it better because what we have experienced will become a starting point for the future generation, at least they wont start from scratch.

        South African education still needs a lot of effort and input. Its still far behind pass rates are so low. There is still so much needed to motivate kids and their parents. Most of Africa concentrates on putting food at the table rather than education.
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      Oct 23 2011: Emmanuel, Your question "how can this education be useful in a future generation when all of us who are building this education and these educational medias are not certain of what the future holds" interests me. I believe there is a way to provide education that will prepare our youth for the uncertain future. The way is to develop character, capability, confidence and cultivate values firstly and develop knowledge secondly. The latter is perishable meaning their relevancy is limited by time - some knowledge will "expire" very soon when they are proven inaccurate or wrong.

      The former is more durable.

      Certain values such as Schwartz's Self-direction, Universalism, and Benevolence (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/97/1/images/psp_97_1_171_tbl1a.gif) are likely to be worth cultivating in our young people to help them thrive in the future. These three have been correlated with a higher degree of creativity in at least one research study (see: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2007-12645-002 ).

      In addition to values, certain habits of mind (by Costa; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habits_of_mind) are worth cultivating in our youth - particularly the following:

      Creating, imagining, innovating – Try a different way.
      Thinking flexibly – Look at it another way.
      Responding with wonderment and awe – have fun figuring it out.
      Thinking about your thinking (metacognition) – Know your knowing.
      Taking responsible risks – Venture out.
      Questioning and problem posing – How do you know?
      Thinking interdependently – Learning with others.
      Remaining open to continuous learning

      In addition, the growth mindset is worth cultivating in youth as opposed to the static mindset. See Carol Dweck's book "Mindset" (http://mindsetonline.com/)

      Thus, education is not merely the conveyance of knowledge, but also the cultivation of certain values, the development of certain habits of mind, and the nurturing of certain mindsets. These will help youth prepare for the uncertain future.
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        Oct 23 2011: Wow, Peter.
        That's all I can say. Wow!
        Thanks for your answers -all of them, not just the last one. Thanks for pouring out your problem-solving skills and sharing your personal strategies to foster creativity in your own family, it is always great to see some parents took the bull by the horns and refused to stay in a pre-made mold. I am impressed at the amount of research you have done, and your keen ability to find the central idea to provide additional reading, resources, or solutions.

        Your summaries, like the one just above, are very educational. I hope you don't mind if I include them in the conclusions to the blog.
        Glad you honored us with your participation and wisdom :-) To be continued...
  • Oct 21 2011: well i just wanted to say that i agree with alot of whats said here and if you ever get to the action point let me know i would love to help however i can....
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      Oct 23 2011: Kevin, welcome aboard!
      Well, if you ask me, we are at the action point already. I think it has to be the natural outcome of thinking and talking, and we are 3 days away of closing this debate.

      I see you are a student, so you have first hand experience in this matter.
      What is the "state of the union" where you live? Do you experience creativity in school? Outside of classes?

      Do you see room for growth? Where do see (if at all) the biggest need?
      Just wondering, where you live, is education homogeneous or do you perceive it differently according to geographic or demographic areas?

      Stay in touch, as we are not finished here. I am looking to find areas of need and, together, make and follow a plan of action.
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    Oct 21 2011: Creativity can only be surpressed, never killed. Every generation is afraid of the future and what new ideas and changes the next generation will bring. So perhaps there will be a small amount of people that supresses creativity, but eventually through art, music, writing, ideas, etc. creativity will be let loose once again.

    Students are not like lab rats. There are many times where students are able to have creative projects/assignments, creative writing, science fairs, etc. Schools are not trying to surpress creativity, but they may not fully understand how to make creativity flourish.
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      Oct 23 2011: Jake, thanks for joining us :-)

      I love a comment you made somewhere else, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
      I am a little biased about it as I am a teacher too, but then again, who isn't?

      Thanks for sharing your ideas on education... You seem pretty satisfied with the way education is, so I assume it is meeting your needs (great!) I agree in that educators may not understand how to make creativity flourish -and that is very "curable"!!!

      I'd like to ask you what is your experience with education, and how is it where you live.
  • Oct 21 2011: Karina, I like this question and have been doing some thinking on it.
    I believe that discovery, growth, and self-realization comes more at a younger time in a students life.
    The first years of education should be the place to implement the three, and that leads to creativity.
    If a young student enters into the harder stages of education, High School and College, with out this creativity, you will find less of it in the out come of their education.(more programmable minds, and more dependent)
    We should put more thought on the creativity in those first years.
    More art projects, more field trips (outdoors and museums), more music, and a more variety of "creativity curriculum."
    Then we would not have to rely on learning these creative thoughts in the later stages of education. Because they will all ready be there and be used as tools to better guide ones education.
    Doing this, creativity can't be killed and will never have a predetermined outcome.
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    Oct 21 2011: Karina...listen and enjoy the creativity....


    if you want to make an autopsy of this masterpiece, is o.k......the beauty remains above all the theories and opinions.
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      Oct 21 2011: What a gift!

      Just beautiful, perfect for the end of the day... feast for the eyes and the soul, thank you for the thought :-)
      Buenas noches, Jaime y senor Castillo... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrj_90X2TKw&feature=related
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        Oct 21 2011: Well then for start the day this could be nice, I hope you feel this very deep ....

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          Oct 23 2011: Tante grazie, ma e ancora di notte. Ho preso una piccola vacanza di questo debate, e proprio allora tutti sono qui :-)

          Beautiful, perfect for this question! In the digital era where this could have been done with an expensive computer program, here you show us a very resourceful, original idea. Color dancing, light display, music for the eyes, and so simply done.
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    Oct 19 2011: Morning Peter,

    I believe the present disconnects between ethics and Science ultimately is a major reason for the increasing mass extinctions that are happening as we type. David Orr, E.O. Wilson and others suggest we are losing between 50 and 250 species a day. If ethics doesn't deal with these issues and the direction we are collective heading, what will? It is not sufficient to be taken by these labor saving advances if they leave us a planet which is uninhabitable. Or as Gandhi says, 'we are bartering away the permanent good for a momentary pleasure'.

    What do you think?
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    Oct 19 2011: Creativity and independent thought process is not a part of education. It is education.
    Sadly, today's education tends to focus on making "products" who can do "paper work".

    There is a long way in reaching a place where creativity becomes heart and soul of education. Classrooms should have TED-like platforms where students can share their ideas to teachers about what they are studying rather than just one-way process of rote-teaching.
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      Oct 21 2011: Sanket,
      What makes you think of education that way?
      Was that your experience growing up, or is it what you see where you are now?
      We had some comments like that from TEDsters in India, is it like that in Singapore as well?

      Please, stay in touch, as I have been thinking of the same "idea worth spreading" you had (time-based volunteering instead, where people can volunteer online for as long as they want by connecting with live people all over the world), specifically for this debate on creativity. Basically, to continue the communication online and, each one from where s/he is, make a difference, improve education/creativity...
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    Oct 19 2011: Karina,

    A creative solution that is ethical would deal with basic human needs and help to eliminate suffering. It would have to be inter disciplinary and integrated in economic, social and environmental constraints. An effort to identify creativity in education toward basic human need problem solving.

    I will repeat Tom Bender's definition " appropriate technology which reminds us that before we choose our tools and techniques, we must first choose our dreams and our values, for some technologies serve them while others make them unobtainable".

    Our technologies have created 100,000 chemicals with little understanding of the degrades, combination's or the long term effects. Chemicals being soluble have become present in all of us in increasing concentrations as bodyburden.org reveals. Nuclear waste provides the most daunting liabilities that last longer than we can conceive. Certainly automation has created structural unemployment and is also critical to this way of thinking.

    So is creativity disconnected from ethics? Is there a moral responsibility that needs to go hand in hand with it? These are exactly the kinds of questions we must be asking as a species, not just as countries or nations as technologies and pollutions know no bounds.

    Does that help?
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      Oct 19 2011: Well, if you answer with my same question, does that help?
      Just kidding...

      Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. I don't know what your background is, but whatever you have done in the past, you are equipped already with good tools to help in re-directing the course of action. It's either that or you sit down and watch... what would you rather do?

      So, having said that, and seeing that you care about how "creativity" has lead to some disastrous results, would you like to be part of the solution?

      My hope is that this debate moves to some more permanent online site where we can stay connected, choose a few real world problems, and begin to solve them, one at a time. Some will throw ideas, some will point to resources (links, books, experts), others may find $$$ if needed, others will be on the site applying the solutions.
      Maybe the solution is the publication of an article, a carefully written study/ proposition given to the local government, a service project at a high school (Dylan, did you hear?), or even better, we could connect that service project in California to the village in India, and have lesson plans put together, or a school built up...

      Now how is that for CREATIVITY IN ACTION?
      And how is that for creativity with SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?

      So, Craig, what do you think, can we count with you?
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        Oct 19 2011: Yes, Yes Yes,

        As we all share our stories and work it will become clear how our specifics.may blend. I would love to take this deeper and into meaningful actions. Count me in.
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          Oct 19 2011: Well sir, you are on board then.

          But the point is, this debate has an expiration date (6 days left) so I am looking for ways to stay in touch beyond that day.
          Pass the word if you know others that may have this interest and enthusiasm, and can bring with them valuable input. Scratch that, with interest and enthusiasm we have what we need :-)
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      Oct 19 2011: Craig,

      The issue of "is creativity disconnected from ethics" is interesting to me. The widely held definition of creativity is that it is something novel and of value to society. However, there is an on-going concern about creativity that is applied toward selfish goals. Robert Sternberg writes about this issue as WICS (wisdom, intelligence, creativity synthesized). See this: http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/55937/CPL_WP_05_06_Sternberg.pdf
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    Oct 19 2011: Can you identify a creative solution that grows out of education and benefits humanity? I'm interested is specific examples if anyone has some. I would caution that high tech and automation provide solutions for some and structural unemployment for others. Its not as simple as it sounds if we identify holistic solutions.

    How can we integrate our values into creativity in education and/or solutions? Or is that desirable?
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      Oct 19 2011: Welcome, Craig!

      A creative solution that comes out of education... Not sure what you mean here, educational system itself?
      I can answer, but you seem to have an idea already... Help me to see where you are going here :-)

      You seem to point out that human ingenuity may sometimes have less than ideal side effects, like in the case of robotics, which could leave 1,000's out of work due to automation... This is only one small area of automation, but none the less very real.
      On the other hand, Craig, consider that it can save lives, or significantly improve the quality of others. A simple, clever device can make a significant difference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rna03IlJjf8 Like any invention, really. Vaccines helped eradicate disease since the 19th century, Dr. Renee Favaloro invented bypass surgery 40 years ago, a researcher in Columbia University just came up with a credit card size testing lab to diagnose disease in site within minutes with a total cost of around $1.00 http://www.engineering.columbia.edu/prof-sia-develops-innovative-lab-chip
      Like Peter said earlier, let's not throw away the baby with the bath water...

      If I understand you correctly, however, the point you are making is an important one: is creativity disconnected from ethics? Is there a moral responsibility that needs to go hand in hand with it?

      OK, TEDsters, what do YOU think? The call is on you :-)
      Andrea? Mathieu? Mike? Jaime? Dylan? Walter? Give us your best here...
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        Oct 19 2011: Good morning Katrina,

        An idea for continuing this dialogue.

        How can education be holistic, inclusive/interdisciplinary, moral and ethical in it's applications toward a future with hope for children and grand kids? What are the trends and where is education leading us?

        How can we challenge our educational institutions to anticipate future conditions and not just teach to past realities? Where are the synthesis discussions revealing the interconnected implications of past, present and soon to be future realities?
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      Oct 19 2011: Craig just two examples in history. Here in Mexico in the first centuries of Spanish presence.....the Utopia from Thomas Moore was addapted by Vasco de Quiroga,a spaniard lawyer who develop a sistem to save and give to the purepechan a great hope to be alive and well. Today they are the most healthy indigenous group in Mexico. They follow the system that Don Vasco left, and they lives real well. Other example is the efforts to built 230 cities in Hispanoamerica in 80 years after the Columbus discovery. Build 230 cities (Mexico city,Buenos Aires, Santiago de Cuba, Chile,Maracaibo and others) is a great example of creativity and labour. The very first universities, printing press,astronomical observatories, philosophical scholls, hospitals, markets, farms and the whole sistem for a highest living standard in that years.And all that is creativity, technology, society, economy and education, with the integration of principles and values. The history is full of examples....you can go to your local library and search.
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        Oct 19 2011: Hello Jaime,

        Thanks for responding. You give examples that are new to me. Thank you.

        Can you speak to the specifics of the system Vasco de Quiroga developed? What were the elements of wisdom he incorporated? How did they combine creativity and wisdom in their process?

        How did education and the creation of those cities integrated into a conscious design where the wisdom of the design becomes self evident? Can you identify the specifics?

        Thank you.
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          Oct 21 2011: Craig, some few spots in the Quiroga's utopia.

          1 He transform terror in tenderness.
          2 He save a whole indian nation.
          3 He impulse the arts and crafts in all the region.
          4 He develop a sistem o work no more than six hours a day.
          5 He design the "Huatapera" hospital system in all the geography of Michoacan.
          6 He create the school system among the indians
          7 He use the Patzcuaro lake as a small mediterranean sea to create the trade in all the towns in all the shore of the lake.
          8 He design the social system based in the ancient indian hierarchy.
          9 He encouraged the preservation of the traditional indian values.
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          Oct 21 2011: Craig my theme in my doctoral studies is precisely theVasco de Quiroga Utopia in Michoacan. I've been studied the case almost 30 years in Mexico,Morelia, Patzcuaro and Rome in the Jesuit Company.
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          Oct 23 2011: Jaime,
          Thanks again for your explanation. Here you showed us practical application of that state of mind, state of soul as you call it :-)
          Great example of which you know very well!

          Vasco de Quiroga seems to me a very creative soul putting his gift into action to make things better in his area... creativity can have a practical side...
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      Oct 19 2011: Craig,

      The issue of higher unemployment is interesting. With advances in technology, there will always be disruption to the industries being replaced or displaced. While those suffering unemployment as a result of such displacements are traumatized, many others in society may be benefiting from the same technological advances. "the first act of creation is destruction" goes the adage. The more challenging issue is whether we as a civilization can develop our wisdom at a fast enough pace to be able to use creative technological advances wisely. It appears we have lagged behind in this area for the past several decades but there seems to be an awakening to the perils of this imbalance recently.
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    Oct 17 2011: Vinay,You and I do not disagree. I believe that there are creative people in all walks of life, but as I live in Southern California, the majority of creative / talented people that I know tend to go into the entertainment industry. I was using that as only one example.Some of the most talented and "out of the box" thinkers that I know are self-educated people that might not necessarily even have any higher education behind them.I find your second point an interesting one. I see more and more what you are saying. The good teacher might not necessarily be a good administrator, etc. That can be true. I don't think technically knowledgeable people are the most creative. I find that some of the most creative people are the ones that do not have computers or cell phones or other gadgets that get in their way with thinking. They use their brains in different ways than simply relying on technology. Just because someone knows how to use technology, does not mean that they can explain the concepts behind that technology. I find often that outsiders find the most interesting ways to employ technology that not even the inventors thought of. That is creativity too. The inventor is creative one way and the user in another way.-Greg
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    Oct 16 2011: I just witnessed a BEST robotics tournament this past week in Houston and was very gratified to see the youth apply their creativity potential to design, build, test and operate robots to perform challenging tasks. Just as gratifying were the varied and creative displays/presentations created by the youth. As an adult adviser to a local team, I was particularly impressed by the initiative shown by the youth in their creations. This is but one of many programs in the USA that actively promote creativity in young people.

    Unfortunately, participation/attendance has been declining due largely to the unavailability of adult advisers to support youth teams. We used to have 16 youth teams compete. This year, there were only 8. Seems that corporate America is working their employees harder and longer to enhance short term profitability. This short-sightedness will cost the USA dearly in the next 10-20 years. We need to better understand how the entire ecosystem needs to work together to support creativity in education.
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      Oct 17 2011: Peter, let us be there too. Can you post a link to pics of the projects? It would be awesome to see what our kids can do :-)
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    Oct 16 2011: Since I am currently in the public education system (unfortunately) I think I can shed some light on this subject. I am a senior in high school and with each passing day I realize more and more how much the public education system is designed NOT to change. The real issue is not that we don't not allow students to be creative, but rather that we limit the level of creativity of our educators. There are solutions to every problem in the system of education, but we let only a handful of out-of-touch people come up with solutions as opposed to the many teachers we have. In conclusion I feel that the public education system works.....but for the administrations rather than the most important entity, the students
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      Oct 16 2011: Dylan,

      Institutions such as the education system are designed to survive but they can also evolve. What is one thing that you think you can do in your last few months of high school to promote creativity amongst your peers and teachers? I am not asking you to change the bureaucracy, but to change one thing no matter how small in the current situation.

      Could you gather 5 of your friends to start a club that promotes creative thought and creative problem-solving? Could you approach the lone creative teacher and work together to create awareness of the need to be creative?Since you're a senior, you might have a bit more time now than you did earlier in high school. So I encourage you to do something within your sphere of influence to improve the situation.

      Best regards,

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        Oct 16 2011: The evolution(?) of the educational systems is limited by his own nature. The bureaucracy IS the limit...and in that kind of system your proposal to start a club that promotes creative tought is an heresy.
        I'm glad to be heretic about the system....Peter we need more Peters....
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        Oct 17 2011: Peter,


        So glad to see that you are reflecting on what is going on and aware of the need for change.
        As Peter suggested, think of this as an opportunity. You may not (well, I can assure you, you WILL not) fix the whole problem, but you can contribute to a solution within a class, within a department...
        It will give you the satisfaction that you were part of the solution, valuable practice in problem solving and leadership, and it will also set you aside as an innovator -someone that will rather stand up and do something than go passively through the motions.

        But what am I saying? You already started, you are actually here, joining the discussion with mostly adults. Do not get discouraged, stick to it!

        Please, stay in touch. I'd like to know what you decide to do :-)
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    Oct 16 2011: Karina,

    I wish I had an answer. I only have two suggestions: one, hire creative people to bgin with. This might mean we might have to pay them more to lure them away from film/TV or other such places; two, allow teachers more time to develop creative lessons without panicking them into rote memorization just to get the students to pass tests.

    Creativity needs to be nurtured and developed and although the U.S. breeds many creative people, we don't have systems in place to support artists and other creatives like they do in Europe/Canada/elsewhere. As a nation, we need to take more value of creativity. You are talking major shifts in attitude here. Part of addressing this would be to bring back art, drama, creative writing, etc. to all the schools that have scrapped those classes. major work. This kind of change would probably have to start with the parents demanding it so schools will take notice.

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      Oct 16 2011: Greg,

      I agree that long lasting change needs to start with a candid reflection on our values and priorities. NCLB was a political move to advance the political fortunes of a politician first and an education reform effort second. I have posted earlier on this blog on the danger's of simplistic measures that pander to the typical voter's priorities. Politician's are particularly focused on doing that which they believe their constituents want. So we need to change the constituents' priorities and their capacity to understand the root of the current problem and how to address it.

      I don't think hiring creative teachers is going to make an impact unless we also change their working environment. When a good person meets a bad system, the bad system usually absorbs/neutralizes the good person. I think bringing back the arts is a good idea. I think we need also to show how creativity is important in all domains of experience and knowledge, not just the arts. Too many people think that arts is the primary place where one learns to express themselves creatively. I believe we need to help people view creativity as how they can approach all aspects of being alive. Then creativity will be become mainstream and less vulnerable to being cut when budgets/political ideology shifts.
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      Oct 17 2011: Greg,

      I see what you are saying, but wonder, if you were hiring how would you assess the creativity of the teacher postulant?
      As far as I know there are no standards, rubrics or fool proof ways to measure this quality. There is usually an assumption based on the variety and content of previous jobs and activities, but not a guarantee...

      Basically, I am positive almost any teacher can improve and bring out her creativeness, given time, freedom, and if necessary some training. Because, just like in the students, we have it inside (I know, right now you are thinking of those you know that have it deeply buried inside, but hey, it is there) You already know that there is more work involved in "unlearning" than there is in learning something for the first time, so it will take an effort, we will call it "intentional teaching" (c), but it is possible across the board.

      On the other hand, a very creative TV or movie director does not a good teacher make. Not necessarily.(also, refer to Peter's comment above about creative professions) But your idea of bringing the real world of different professions into the classrooms is brilliant!!!!

      Still, I think this is the easiest part.
      The difficult step would be to impact the system enough for it to allow change and release some control, allowing time for true growth.
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        Oct 17 2011: I agree with your points. If teachers are given the time and freedom, they can infuse creativity, but I've also witnessed the converse effect. I had a principal once that gave his teachers freedom and although many teachers rose to the occassion and our school showed phenomenal CST / AYP growth, we also had some teachers that admittedly got lazy because they had too much freedom.

        So how do we hire creative people? I think we should focus more on the diversity of a person's background when they are being interviewed. The only reason why I got hired was because at 6' 2" and an ex-Teamster truck-driver, my first principal thought I would be a strict disciplinarian. His view was that as long as I had the kids in their seats, some learning will take place. He never took into account my past background diversity which included journalism, working for radio, television, rock concert promotion, art, drama, etc. I was simply supposed to be a classroom cop. That kind of hiring attitude needs to change, but I still see some of it even today. Discipline is important, but if a teacher is creative and engaging, students will listen and be respectful.
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          Oct 17 2011: I slightly disagree to your point to recruit or Lure people from film/TV or other such places of art for teaching.
          Firstly I dont accept creative people are only in film/TV or art.There's creativity evrywhere.
          Even in a job of making a tea, you can be much more creative than any, cause the room for improvement is little.
          Secondly not necessarily good players are necessarily good coach.I have seen this go wrong very badly in my previous company were HR decided to held training sessions from technically very very sound people in our own company rather than recruiting outside Training agency.It was really a bad experience even though they new everything it was hard for them to provide a systematic and easy way for people to understand what they are saying.Again please dont take this as technical sound people or good players cannot be a good coach but not necessarily applies that in any way.
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    Oct 16 2011: This is a problem under the current "No Child Left Behind" (or is it "No Child Left or It's Your Behind"). The all-out frenzy for state test score improvement is approaching a fever-pitch. This has left little openings for creativity. We have more resources than ever, but teachers that know how to fuse creativity and the state standards into something viable are rare. I often feel as a teacher that I have to infuse my lessons with creative material in a covert way. Administrators often say that they want all teachers within a department teaching the same standard in the same way. I think part of this is to compare the effectiveness of the teacher, but at what cost? I know that whenever I act as a lone-wolf and do something creative (which engages the students...what a novel idea!) my test scores tend to be 10-20% higher than my collegaues, but I am technically not doing what is asked of me. This needs to change. Teachers must be allowed to use creativity to motivate and engage students to learn and not have to be afraid to do so. I continue to be a lone-wolf...
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      Oct 16 2011: Hi, Greg!

      So, you've been there, done that. What you tell us is pretty much what the majority has seen as well.

      Now, can you give us one (or several) ideas? How to tackle this? From inside, thinking outside the box? Or throwing away the box and making a new one, starting from scratch? Another approach? Either way, be specific.

      I had proposed that we make sure that we don't see this debate expire without coming up with some tangible action.
      It could take any form: an ongoing blog or web page where we remain active informing each other of what we or others are doing to effect change, maybe one or two radical concepts that we follow through adjusting them to our different locations -keep in mind that TEDsters here are from Asia, Middle East, Europe, Australia, South and North America, maybe the next TEDx... Can you think of another way to remain accountable and committed to creativity? This is a wonderful soup of ideas, let's put into practice what we've shared :-)

      Many here are already in education as consultants, home-schoolers, teachers, curriculum designers, teacher trainers, speakers, students, social innovators, etc. We hold the biggest responsibility. What will we do?

      I am reminded of a science lab... when you dissect an animal, there is a time to be precise and cut, to observe and learn. There is also a time to clean up and make conclusions. Let's make sure our debate doesn't stay too long looking at the dead frog, it will be stinky and useless.
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    Oct 16 2011: Dance Karina....this is an original human movement....from the real origin of the miths and rituals....the dance cames first of all because is not from reason.....born in will and emotions....the original dances in every culture are circular dances (movimientos onfalicos o alreddor del ombligo sagrado) and all the dances celebrate the genesic wisdom. Latter (milennia latter)...the humankind invent the concept of "sexuality". Above all any creativity manifestation is reated to the Eros of ourselves....the interior Eros and the exterior Eros....that becames intimacy (intimidad) and then born the contrast between the intime behavior and the public issues. As we all can see, the relation is very close. When both Eros are in consonance the magic begins in dance or painting or weaving (all nomadic arts), then architecture and sculpture, agriculture, urbanism and music.....
    The things that happens in the plaza are similar to the things that happns in the bedroom.
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    Oct 16 2011: Well was just some intuitive and innocent examples.......
    Creativity is goes out boundaries.....trace the path, being impractical and ourselves, ...Be daring, be different, against the play-it safers, the slaves of the ordinary, the creatures of the common place....(words from Cecil Beaton)
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    Oct 15 2011: Enjoy your chocolate....from mexican creativity.

    First we have to know the real meaning of the word.


    CRI from the old sanscrit (pre-dravidic age) means "pass through" , going from here to there...
    is the act to go, not to stay. Is a dinamic concept (CONCEPTION) who has life in itself. Is not the destiny or point to reach. Now if is just the way...which one? How we can walk the way...step by step, running, in our knees....in bike, in a Ferrari at high spedd?.....

    CRI is also for crisis...the status of transformation (not change)

    CRI is also in english for CRY the first crythe new born baby....

    My english is bad so....te lo digo en español.

    La creatividad es un estado superior del ser que reside en el "anima animus" el alma.. La confusiòn surge al pensar que es mental...la mente es el lugar donde las confusiones residen. En la creatividad intervienen la inteligencia, el intelecto, la intuiciòn, la imaginaciòn y los sentidos (sent: del snscrito que significa "ir hacia algo").

    La creatividad se expresa en la obra terminada, fìsica o metafìsica. Y siempre refleja el fondo en la forma.
    Hay que descubrirla, no enseñarla, eso es imposible. Los maestros solo son facilitadores para que los discìpulos (afines a la disciplina), descubran por si mismos que sus capacidades tienen sentido y fructifican. El alumno (a- lumen= sin luz) debe transformarse en discipulo, para luego ser Maestro.

    Sigue con tu chocolate...yo seguirè con mis flores.
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      Oct 15 2011: Jaime, you have so much insight, thanks for sharing it! (And your English is great, by the way, thoughts is what counts here)

      With your permission I will translate part of what you said because is richer than pre-Columbian chocolate.
      You give us a new aspect we had not considered before that can benefit everyone, very philosophical. We did cover the teacher as a facilitator in the student discovery process, as in the Socratic times, and you make a nice link here.

      "Creativity is a superior state of the being which resides in the "anima animus", the soul. The mix up is to think that it is mental... the mind is where confusion resides"

      "Intellect, intuition, imagination, and the senses, all are part of creativity."

      "Teachers are only facilitators so their disciples can discover by themselves [...] alumn: a-without, lumen light"
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        Oct 15 2011: Karina the common idea for creativity is something weird or uncommon, or strange...the Traditional concept about cames from the antique cultures (China, India,Greece ,Egypt, Rome Empire) ...our modern idea is a missconception that creativity i something strange that happens to artists, painters, musicians, achitects...but not in the office with the bureaucrats, account managers, clercks, or common people as everyday street people. This wrong focus has eroded the posibilities of creation among the real people.Creativity is not a virtue, is a human force. When creativity is inspired the nurture is a divine presence that enlight our kairos (the time in no- time) and we need absolute concentration in the real center to focus our vision (from sanscrit: UID, the same root for vision that means the inmaterialpresence of the future).
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    Oct 15 2011: Creativity is not matter of faith, so we don't have to believe in creativity, and nobody has to convinced us to believe in that....there is....inside us. Use the creativity. We all have our creativity.....
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      Oct 15 2011: Wait, wait, I am still enjoying my chocolate...

      Yes, use the creativity you already have, I hear you.
      While earlier postings here suggested that "teachers should teach creativity" I think we all concluded that even when from the outside one can teach processes, efficient steps, and how to maximize resources, creativity itself cannot be taught. It is inside, it is part of human nature, we are born with it (regardless of IQ) and better yet -it cannot be killed, regardless of how primitive or controlling the educational program is.

      This is a relief, if you have the chance, like I do, to be surrounded with teachers and students of all ages and not seeing much in either...
      I've been seen lots of ability, time and memory skills committed to video games on the part of our kids, but just the bare minimum to academic learning or real life problem solving...
      I've seen lots of training and new methods introduced to educators, but little or no change inside the classrooms, or in the communities they are supposed to serve...

      I say with you: you have creativity, use it!!!!
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    Oct 15 2011: with present system no creativity can be seen.
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      Oct 16 2011: So if the "system" is not the system....you can create your own system...... creativity ......
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    Oct 15 2011: I'm still thinking it might be good to begin algebra with some practical demonstrations of what various terms mean. For example, what is an "unknown" and what logical steps allow us to arrange an equation so that we can solve for the unknown or unknowns. Another example, it was never made clear to me that a ratio is a proportion and when one solves a ratio problem, one is comparing one set of two objects to a different set of one object and one unknown. It was also never made clear how many unknowns can be solved for given x number of knowns. Had the teacher written on the black board 1 + 1 = 2 and then taken a sheet of paper with X written on it and placed it over any term in that equation, a light bulb would have gone off in my head.
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    Oct 15 2011: Karina --

    Tried to post this to your Q on another conversation, but kept getting blocked Fits your response here a bit, so trying again:

    My iteration of my participatory research is participating in processes while also observing them and then communicating the qualitative research.

    So, for example, when I work with a group, I might be of use for guiding the process and/or strategies, but I interpret the work as a co-constructive, co-creation of the outcomes. I seek to “Do” (participate) and not just “Tell” (findings). Though, I do tell the story of the findings.

    You can find some examples on the DynamicShift blog, which contains theory and practice efforts of mine.

    Here's the link: http://dynamicshift.org

    My main interest is positive social contagions. So when I observe and experience on a first-hand “micro” level and convey in macro realms, this is another example of my participatory role. And, in turn, amplify to others how co-created participatory efforts can achieve constructive outcomes across different groups, sectors and interest focuses.

    A close colleague of mine -- and my first coach for this style -- (William J. Doherty, PhD) terms this Citizen Professionalism. Which basically means putting ones expertise to work as a partner to civic groups and environments. Not as an outside, detached expert who knows better what the group needs, but as a person who views the groups wisdom as equally expert.

    Beyond that, I have produced co-authored phenomenological research for academic journal publication. Though, I hasten to add just this week, it got rejected by the first publication to which we submitted. (Ouch!) So, I have more learning to do to meet of academic research publishing standards.

    Hope this helps explain my adapted participatory researcher moniker a bit better.

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      Oct 15 2011: Andrea
      FYI, I had the same happening with the reply button, waiting for TED to help us with that... it worked this time.

      And now for the WOW!
      Your job definitely gets a new dimension once you describe it. I am so impressed at your skills and the very creative way you apply them. I have noticed from other conversations your keen eye and deep perspective, so in a way I am not surprised. You join the customer's journey as a consultant, sorts of a "process maximizer guide"... is it any different from program evaluation? I first was puzzled by the researcher part, thinking it might be a solo work in a lab or office. For what I see now, there is a lot of analyzing that you do as you dissect the situation at hand, but it is clearly not research in its traditional interpretation.

      Thanks for including the link for a closer look into what you do. I was particularly attracted to your article on Civilized Compassion, where you mentioned how the presence of a spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama in an university setting was an evolutionary sign of sorts. I rejoiced in agreement remembering how 20 years ago my alma mater invited him for a commencement... weren't we way ahead of the times? he, he...

      I guess, connecting our dialogue to this debate, it is in the efforts of people like you, that we can still have hope in change, hope in our youth finding within themselves the creative energy to overcome the deep pitfalls of the system in which they are growing and maybe the very motivation for it. We probably have to realize, and remind ourselves, that they are way more capable than we imagine to affect change, overcome and take flight.

      "positive social contagion"... one contagion I wouldn't be afraid of :-) Thanks for enriching us with your thoughts, Andrea.
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        Oct 16 2011: Karina --

        I think you are spot on regards reminding ourselves that children are more capable than we imagine they are for affecting change and "taking flight." If, to carry your theme -- as the saying goes: we give them good "roots" via the best nurturing we can offer.

        Another story, more related to your great question here. This about how two very unlikely children taught me powerful lessons about "What students can teach academics."

        Here it is: http://www.minnpost.com/community_voices/2009/11/16/13456/what_students_could_teach_academics_and_policy-makers

        The catch? I had to get creative! I hadn't ever been taught how to tutor, and even if I had, I have a feeling these two little guys would have "schooled" me on how inaccurate adult methods can often be..

        Another lesson they taught me: that creativity is not something that can be taught by telling, but rather is something that can only be "learned" through experiential doing.

        All things I knew at some level, (as so many fellow adults/experts do) but in our attempts forget. And only in the practice of them, became far more aware of their power.

        I was delighted that many academic and policy leaders saw themselves in these two little boys. But remain impatient to see more leaders practice what they know -- by abetting the creativity and leadership abilities of students.

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          Oct 16 2011: Kudos to the teacher in you!

          Awesome example of resourcefulness in a tired educational system. Ultimately what you do, weather consulting or volunteering, is effective problem solving.

          And you just hit a key issue that schools confront today, which we only touched on tangentially here: TIME.
          Students of all ages are not given time to process, turning the learning experience into a rot memory competition.
          On the other hands, teachers do not have enough time to prepare, plan, adapt and analyze, often repeating the same old song, applying the same old methods again and again. "Open your books to page..."

          Thanks again for sharing, and that goes to both of you. This is energizing and motivating.
          When I see my Paul and Robert on Monday, I'll too bring new props. For them I think it will be a soccer ball... Pablo y Roberto juegan al futbol.
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        Oct 16 2011: Karina --

        Paul and Robert are the first names of two college presidents in Minnesota. My little way of reminding myself -- and alert readers -- of the "hidden" (and fun, in my mind) connections between brilliant children and brilliant academics.

        And, love your Pablo y Roberto juegan al futbol adaption!

        You energies have a kinetic effect -- triggering more themes for me, again! This time: an essay re: how over-scheduling in youth sports undermines children's academic, emotional and physical development. There are mentions of local sports leaders who might not be familiar, but also of national "stars" you'll recognize.

        Hint: the names Barak and Sarah are involved --


        Over-teaching rote skills can have a converse effect on learning. Besides that it dulls children's curiosity, as you note, without time to process, and I'd add: reflect and dream, our children might never reach the creative or professional potentials we'd not only hope to achieve -- but need them to -- because they'll be our future leaders.

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          Oct 16 2011: Andrea,
          Expanding the topic of over-scheduling beyond sports, I ask if you've seen the movie "Race to Nowhere" (http://www.racetonowhere.com/)? It is a poignant look at the disastrous impact of over-scheduling on youth in our country.

          One comment about your article on over-scheduling in youth sports: your article seems to emphasize the pivotal role that sports coaches play in creating/sustaining the over-scheduling phenomenon. While I agree coaches play a significant role, I believe their visibility as coaches makes people focus too much on their role in this problem. Less obvious are the expectations of parents who support these coaches. If our local parents don't support their children's coaches' over-scheduling behavior, that coach would be out of a job. I believe coaches reflect the values held by the parents. So we need to reflect upon what we parents value and how we live these values.
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        Oct 16 2011: Peter --

        Youth scheduling in all realms is a systemic problem. In US culture we are bought into the more is better concept, which pervades all parts of our lives.

        A connection to "Race to Nowhere" is Balance4Success, the initiative the essay was posted to. B4S (www.balance4success.net) launched with an event titled: Beyond the Rat Race.

        At our public launch (covered in the book: Citizen Solution by Harry Boyte), parents articulated the pressure they feel to sign their kids up for everything, or risk their kids being left behind.

        B4S was planned with many groups in our community. Including not only the parent leaders, but also academics, (early childhood, K -12 and college educations) pastors and faith leaders, pediatricians, sports medicine, public safety and other civic groups. All on the same page.

        We led a voluntary boycott of youth sports on Sundays, so parents could schedule "down time" with family..

        It got a lot of press, which triggered a reaction. Including, threatening letters from presidents of local athletic associations. And coaches of girls softball teams discussing having their players throw "walking tacos" at Doherty and I, who they viewed as naive about the complexities of youth sports.

        (Actually, all parent leaders are/were athletes, coaches and even NCAA players.)

        I wrote the coach essay after a meeting we invited the coaches to. They weren't happy walking in, and insisted the issue was parental pressure. But, after feathers were unruffled, all but one of the four acknowledged they are caught in a veritable institution that transcends linear "to do or not to do" decisions by parents.

        One, originally the most vocal, eventually shared how big money interests influence little kids sports participation. Even though many youth sports coaches are unpaid volunteers.

        All why it's important, in my view, to see the spectrum of culture as complicit in issues, and to engage same for solutions.

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      Oct 16 2011: Andrea maybe you already know this but if not..enjoy.....


      A practice and effort to your dinamic shift. Dance is creativity and emotional motion...a really positive social contagion......
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        Oct 16 2011: Jaime, you go from creativity to cooking, to music, to dance. What a dynamic process!

        But I ask you, what was first, music or dance? :-)
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        Oct 16 2011: Jaime --

        Magnificent, magical, and -- mathematically mysterious, too. Has me wondering about the "wonders" of number 5 and, maybe even: why blue vests? As were children who wondered what the heck I'm listening to. Which, of course, is part of the magic of musical creations. The ability to draw all ages together.

        Merci beaucoup, mi amigo --

  • Oct 15 2011: Creativity is the response to the inquisitiveness in each person,
    hence it can never be killed.
    Apart from basics of reading, writing and arithmetic the purpose
    of education should be to question everything and seek the truth.
    The fear of future is main reason that stops the creativity in man.
    The fear of future can be removed by developing SELF CONFIDENCE.
  • Oct 14 2011: In my opinion, Creativity should be the basic foundation of a formal education. The information that is doled out in the name of education creates just intelligence. Wisdom to be created must be assimilation of Intelligence. Without Creativity, the process of creating Wisdom will be difficult.
    Creativity will do wonders to education!
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      Oct 14 2011: Rasik, I don't believe education fulfills its purpose if it is "one size fits all" model.
      However successful a system or method may be, one cannot simply drop it from a helicopter in diverse regions and expect the same result...

      I wonder how do see creativity being applied in your area? How would a regular school day look like?
      What do you think is needed there, what could be applied to your local cultural frame?
  • Oct 14 2011: Karina....without offense let me pose a slightly different set of goals inclusive of yours. First the primary purpose of school should be to "teach one to think". That process requires 3 items....base knowledge (in the discipline we perceive as our future "job"), stimulation (the creative bones) and access to information (as opposed to rout memory exercises we all forget post exam cramming) the vast majority of which is now available courtesy mankind's greatest collective invention....the internet or the sharing of all knowledge. If that is accepted then back to practical matters....the first being what is education today. Currently the majority of academia is bluntly mired in the past (and until recently resistant to change) with various glib names for the various programs touted as the best (no child left behind), which come together in a class room of anywhere from 15 to 500 students. These school environments are mass education but actually just one of many methods (and not the best). In truth It is the master / apprentice (or apprentices) relationship that works best for most of us. An example is the mentoring relationship some of us may have had with our fathers or mothers or, to use a simpler example, the blacksmith and the blacksmith's son. In other words, applying the best learning technique ever used, far older than traditional schools (not a class with 30 students who do not participate but rather a class of x size, even one) and one we humans can relate to. Academia (and government) seems to have lost this concept which now is both technically and financially possible (at less cost than conventional education), The objective . Essentially where an individual can learn at the maximum rate they choose to in the field they choose to (in today's world). Back to creativity now. Given this environment could the task be to invent a better horseshoe? Why should problems be posed of a significant nature to students of all ages. End....as space ends.
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      Oct 14 2011: Welcome, Stephen!

      Thanks for giving a new spin to the debate.
      Your post is juicy and I am on the way out, but for now I will quickly highlight the following because it is a new proposition on this conversation:

      "In truth It is the master / apprentice (or apprentices) relationship that works best for most of us. An example is the mentoring relationship some of us may have had with our fathers or mothers or, to use a simpler example, the blacksmith and the blacksmith's son." Excellent point, rings very true. It was the preferred method all the way through the early medieval times, when the concept similar to university was introduced. Still many continued to operate on this simple system. While we still have it today to a certain extent (e.g. voluntary or required internships, shadowing, etc) it is not the backbone of education.

      Interesting! I believe the Waldorf Schools operate on this principle since the early years; very hands on, practical, one on one...

      Hope to hear more on this from the rest of you!
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    Oct 14 2011: Yah, but most of those sorts of field projects are extra-curricular. I should modify my comment somewhat since vocational arts- shop and home economics, are hands on instruction. I can recall being bored beyond belief in algebra class. I still don't know how and why quadratic equations are used.
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      Oct 14 2011: "most of those sorts of field projects are extra-curricular."
      Walter, not in my county. Many, many of those projects are actually part of the curriculum; teachers worked them in to meet the requirements of the state mandatory objectives, and got kids and the whole family involved. There are also after school, extra curricular ones... And again, for homeschoolers thay are part of the curriculum because class happens 24/7 ;-)

      You mentioned your experience with algebra. Mine was similar. But then I had one of my best teachers ever in my junior year. She had a passion for math and thinking, and it was infectious. Her classes were never the same, she rearranged tables, made new groups each day, did debates, quizes, surveys, practical problems. She taught us the magic secret: math actually has a real application to real situations!

      FYI, I just attended a math conference 2 days ago, and all teachers were trained in PreK-Kindergarten algebra. No kidding. From what it seemed child's play with patterns the child can easily deduct n+n-1=s . This was a sample lesson that I will incorporate next week, guiding children from concrete to abstract thinking, generalizations (formulas) And this is the beginning, 4 more training sessions on algebra coming up...

      Bottom line: Many adults sadly becomie "allergic" to math, and this drove them away from science, technology, statistics, engeneering, but there is a growing awareness of that deficit and a more visible effort to teach our young the thinking process, and what I think is more important: they are making learning relevant by making it real and hands on...
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    Oct 14 2011: OK, after a creative exchange today, I stole an idea (look at October 12 list)
    Another possible outcome from this debate, if anybody wants to stay in touch and turn ideas into a reality, in your own place, one issue at a time.


    It is spreading like wildfire.
    Not quite networking, but working together over coffee/lunch for a few hours and getting things done face to face, or side by side.
    Something each one of us can start in whatever community we are today, to begin change as it pertains to the specific needs in that place based on the dissections and deep analysis we are doing here.

    It is going around, some places have several per town, they are goal/job specific. That's today's 2 cents.

    So... did I tempt you? Do you want to start a creative group in your area? Would you like to post here locations so others living nearby can get in touch? You'd be amazed, you may have more TEDsters around than you imagined :-)

    Or, do you have a different idea?
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    Oct 13 2011: I believe creativity ought to be applied in lesson planning/curriculum design by teachers and exercised by students in situations where their teachers encourage it (which should be often). Some aspects of the education system may be designed to develop certain skills that do not necessarily require creativity. Following instructions, for example, may be one of the criteria for a lesson and 'being creative' with such commands may produce undesirable results. Dangerous activities may require creativity to remain idle (working with vehicles in shop class, using certain chemicals in Science class). Some areas of a person's education would benefit from a greater number of opportunities to be creative (debate class, personal journals, fine arts, music class, business, computers).
    Be careful not to act the alarmist and paint current education standards/systems with a single, broad stroke. There may be trends that are controversial or clearly foolish, but it's almost a living thing, education. Always changing, trying to keep up, under the miserable reigns of the budget, and now more likely to be compared to a different system (grass is greener).
    As a teacher, I include as many opportunities to be creative as I can, try to adjust exercises and stay in touch with current information/methods/trends, yet remain focused on having my students produce what I wish. Sometimes that enables great creativity (ex. discussion questions, debates, opinions, art class, students choosing what activity they want to do, synonymous language, developed answers), and sometimes I need regurgitation (grammar forms, practiced vocabulary, review/recall activities, comprehension questions from readings, etc.)
    I am definitely an optimist when it comes to the education of students today. I hope teachers are supported. I hope teachers do not grow complacent and lazy. I hope students put their hearts into the activities we've worked hard to provide them.
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      Oct 13 2011: Hi David, Great to hear about the many steps you take to integrate creativity into the learning day for your students. It is my hope that parents will reinforce at home what you do in the classroom. When there is that reinforcement, the students benefit. When parents seem indifferent to what goes on the classroom, students get mixed messages. Like you, I am an optimist and will go on promoting creativity in the classroom, at home, in the workplace, etc. Thanks for doing what you do for your students.
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      Oct 13 2011: David, adding to Peter's comments, I share with you the view of education as an organic entity.

      It has the ability to change, and it is great to hear that you are doing your part to keep it relevant!
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    Oct 13 2011: Creativity or rather the experience of being and feeling creative has a great deal to do with the sense of well-being. Creativity is a fundamental human attribute, it cannot be killed, though our education system in Britain and the States does a great deal to suggest that children suppress it. More important than its powerful economic or perrsonal learning functions, I believe opportunities to express ones individuality and collegiality in creative activity makes for personal and community well-being - everything else stems from this dual sense of wellness.
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      Oct 13 2011: Absolutely agree that humans need the opportunity for creative expression to be healthy.
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    Oct 13 2011: That's because schools don't teach problem solving, they teach facts but not the application of facts to the real world. It seems that in the extra curricular activities- sports, clubs, band, cheerleading, etc. is where actual problems are engaged.
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      Oct 14 2011: Walter, The good news is that more and more programs are becoming available that challenge students to solve real-world problems. There are numerous robotics competitions that challenge youth to solve contrived problems. There are also many service-learning programs that challenge students to learn about an academic subject through the provision of a service to the community. For example, learning about the eco-system through books and labs is learning. Learning about eco-systems by engaging in the design and execution of a bio-remediation project of a local polluted estuary is service-learning.
  • Oct 13 2011: Karina I actually had to take some tiime to answer your question. As an adult I agree with Mr. Han, I could seriously get into imagining my life away so I do construct boundaries, but for my children even at this age not so much. Nothing so buzz killing as saying your creative thinking time is up. About every other month we do something new, eating at an Ethiopian restaurant,who new my son would love it and buy a cookbook and make us all suffer through hot hot hot lentils? Anyway I find that new things get them out of ruts. Also according to my children I am very embarrassing to be around but I act like Forrest Gump and that has enabled us to meet and be mentored by fabulous people who show us new and exciting things. Exposure is the key for me at this point and I do not feel it is the schools job but the parents . Also books bought and laid on my bed side table are always looked t, we are currently learning the button knot. Why? I have no earthly idea.
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    Oct 13 2011: OK, everybody, please, listen up... a little parenthesis here:

    Today Amira Makhlouf, from Cairo, points out the critical situation in her own country after the January revolution, and the fact that we here mostly stay in the realm of lofty ideas. Posts from India, Canada, and around the corner agree that their situation is tough today on a very real context.

    I initially asked "what place does creativity have in education". As many of you considered that there was little or no creativity, the debate shifted towards educational reform.
    Even though there is a very recent debate on TED that dealt with just that, it is OK to move in that direction if the interest is still there. While the philosophical side is always welcomed, let's also move further into the practical aspect of things.

    It does no good to us, or to the current state of education, that we spend time simply criticizing it. As Peter said, we absolutely need "problem-finders", that is where solutions are born. But we also want to come up with effective action.

    So, TED problem finders, I'd like to request that in every entry you will make the effort to propose solutions, resources, links, examples of successful interventions, keeping in mind that we don't want to fill several virtual pages with theory, nagging and bitterness.

    We agreed that we are all equipped with creative skills, so hone in them and share your best!

    At the end of our debate, what could the outcome look like?
    ...set up of an online network that remains connected (doesn't expire) and researches solutions, organizations, resources to make a difference in local communities;
    ... the creation of an even wider survey of ideas utilizing our current online social networks,
    ... the organization of a non-profit of any scale to address improvement
    ... (now it is your turn to type)
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    Oct 12 2011: Yes, you can !
    Thanks for the comments.
    The concepts I summarized are the base for a methodology I use (we use...as a Coaching/Consultant Company)in large multinational company when they want to improve and or change their innovation processes and they want to do that through people, without imposing a new model or structure but let them design and decide, according to certain strategic issues set by the Top, of course. We facilitate the change with an innovative coaching process which is both individual, team and project.
    Anything else you need please do not hesitate to ask !
    my best regards. Renzo
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    Oct 12 2011: Perhaps if we ask the reciprocal question we might find more insight. What prevents creativity from being more common place in our educational experiences? Let me offer a few thoughts for consideration.

    1) We are clueless the difference between data and wisdom and how each leads to very different conclusions.
    2) Our top down approach tends to impose ego based criteria/evaluation instead of 'conscious based' synthesis and evolution.
    3) There is very limited mechanisms that allow for exchange of ideas and solutions if one is not a card carrying member of the masters or PHD club regardless the amount of research and experience one might bring to the table.
    4) Thus true synthesis and evolution is impossible as personal egos and fiefdoms rule with impunity.
    5) Creativity flourishes in a level playing field and not in programs where getting a PHD is more about 'ritualized obedience' instead of open and creative synthesis.

    My two cents....
  • Oct 12 2011: I love this discussion and to input my thoughts, I have to say that a lot of students are waking up to the reality of how bad the education culture really is. When I say education culture, I mean everything with regards to the process of education of a child right from the system, the teachers, the parents and their attitudes, the society's views on what education must achieve etc.

    I've seen quite some initiatives by students to rebel against the poor philosophy behind education. A good example is 'Stop Manufacturing Us!' www.stopmanufacturingus.com These students are passionate about changing the dynamics of hte education culture so that they can make tomorrow a better place. They even have a discussion forum on the site! Check it out!
  • Oct 12 2011: The point about the issue with creativity in education lying primarily with teachers, not the system, is an interesting one. It's certainly true to an extent. But I strongly feel that these teachers are generally a product of the system, not the other way around. Schools generally operate under to interwoven paradigms. The main paradigm is the Teach-to-the-Test model, a subset of which is the Memorize-and-Regurgitate model (which is perfectly conducive to a teach-to-the-test environment).

    Because schools are focused solely on higher test scores, an emphasis is placed on what the student needs to know, as opposed to the actual process of learning (Before I delve into the implications, it should be noted that the emphasis on testing isn't unique to statewide standardized tests alone. The curriculum for AP and IB classes is primarily constrained to material that is supposed to give students the best possible chance of perform well on said examinations). This is counterintuitive, because if the actual process of acquiring knowledge is emphasized first as opposed to what should already be known, then knowledge (i.e., what the student should know, what the student is tested on) will naturally be a direct consequence.

    This is undeniably true; the Greeks didn't learn by memorizing or taking the teacher's word as indisputable truth -- they were taught to question and be critical until they finally arrived saw the light. The same goes for every single concept we now study in physics. Newton, Einstein, etc, constantly experimented and questioned until they discovered and experienced the truth for themselves. I could get into my issues with how physics labs at universities and high schools are generally conducted, but I'll save that for later.

    There's not really much room for creativity within the current system. We are stuck with a rigid, one size fits all piece of crap that is supposed to build the next generation of leaders. But fret not, I'm working on a solution!
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    Oct 12 2011: I am a High School senior in Canada. It is funny that I came across this article, because I was just thinking the other day how schools almost completely block out all forms of creativity to students. For example, every time we have an assignment, there are usually strict criteria that needs to be met. On top of this, teachers often share with the class examples of previous assignments handed in from previous years. It seems to me that teachers have one perfect example in their head, and anything less than what they have in mind is considered not ideal, and marked as so. What I would love to see happen is the criteria of assignments and even everyday work to go down, while of course still maintaining the appropriate curriculum.
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      Oct 12 2011: Thanks for sharing your views here. You are, just by stopping by, giving us hope that the young are awake, that there is hope!

      And you didn't waste time either, right to the core. You are correct, while some very hesitant student may benefit from an example (hey, sometimes I need that too) open ended assignments are usually much more fruitful.

      A student I know had a government project; she was given a subject, elections and voting, and 2 weeks. Granted, a few students did a traditional paper or powerpoint, but most produced amazing results. This girl took advantage of a family weekend trip to another city, interviewed people on the streets there, also faculty at her school, students, and members of the community, and finally turned it into a video clip with rap song.
      A far cry from a "300 words essay, double space, show bibliography" type homework...

      Do you have at least some teachers that are receptive to change and originality?
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        Oct 12 2011: First of all, thanks for the feedback on my comment. This was actually my first TED conversation, and I'm going to start becoming more involved in others.

        To answer your question, the answer is yes. I should have been more specific, because not all teachers use the boring method of teaching that I was describing. I have 3 courses this semester, and only one of the teachers is truly open to creative and open ended assignments, and that's my gr. 12 University level English class. My teacher enjoys seeing what students can come up with, and is pretty much open to anything as long as it stays on topic. I like this, and to be honest I also enjoy seeing what other students are doing with their work. It keeps things interesting, and the quality of work is for the most part substantially more effective in my opinion!
  • Oct 12 2011: It seems as if children are overflowing with creativity untill they reach middle school age. I think one potential reason is because as they reach early teens they become more carefull about allowing thier creative side to be seen by thier peers. In the first few years of school most children exhibit wonderful imagination and spontaneous enthusiasm for everthing.
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    Oct 11 2011: well i saw the site and read about it...and yeah...someone is concerned and is taking the initiative but in a country of over a billion, just someONE is not enough...we need such initiative on a larger scale...across INDIA not just in Ahmedabad. One may argue that it'll happen, it takes time and all that...but think about it...does it need to take so much time ??? If only the initiative was taken by the government authorities....but you cant trust government either...we all know how the government works....
    So the solution that i see is that its upto us...the youth...we can just go to a school with suggestions and let them decide to follow it or not...the schools may send the word to the governing authority and something may turn up..
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      Oct 11 2011: Thank you for your input!

      Lots of information here, most of it validates our conclusions on this conversation, scary state of affairs...

      Since there is so much data, it would be nice to look ahead and find out what is the "prognosis", at what rate change is happening for different variables, how soon modifications need to be made, and in what direction. Wait a minute, if the surveys of teachers were already made, whoever is looking at that data should be doing some projections.
      Who backs up the NCEI? Whom are they doing these surveys for? Wouldn't you agree?

      Your post makes me feel all has been said. Do you think there is hope for the young? They are now like the pigs in an assembly line, about to be slaughtered and turned into identical sausages...
  • Oct 11 2011: For me my biggest revelation is how much we depend on schools to foster creativity. As I have home schooled my children for 10 years I always made sure there were art least 2 hours of boredom. No tv n, no computer, no activity BE BORED. Let your mind wander everywhere. Stop scheduling every minute. Take responsibility for your child's creativity.You can not see a movie until you have read the book. Watch the clouds
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      Oct 11 2011: Interesting, 2 hours of leisure... Thanks for sharing that, Terry from the Wilkinson School Of Knowledge :-)

      Tell me, how is that working for you, what do the children chose to do during that unstructured time? Do you have parameters? Do you see an increase in creative activity as a result?

      Mr. Han posted here below an idea he applies himself: he observes his outgoing/incoming creative ratio, making sure the balance is always on the side of self started creative activity. (hopefully I paraphrased well) Do you think something like that would be useful in your family, how would you quantify creativity? Can you, would you care to, does it matter?
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    Oct 11 2011: Having had the chance to teach in Schools in different parts of the UK- East Yorkshire and the West Midlands- and in colleges and universities in Ghana, I have come to the conclusion that the problem is with the teachers and not the system. Creative Teachers do creative students make. A creative Teacher can spot and groom talent and even advise parents on the creative orientation of their kids.

    I was creative as a kid but my Dad wanted me to be an engineer because i was brilliant. He refused to allow me to follow my passion in music, foreign languages and creatice arts. I grew to hate anything Science and chose Business Studies in College and Humanities for my first Degree.

    Eventually i settled with foreign languages, mixing it with my Dad's tweaked vision of a creer in the United Nations or International Domain but i got depressed after a Master's Deree in International Law and Politics. I took another Masters in Hospitality Management and I found some creativity in that industry.

    My desire to to speak out for the lot on issues affecting them due to their vulnerability led me into Consumer Protection. However, my work in Business Development Advisory Consulting revealed how most small Businesses both in Birmingham-UK and Accra-Ghana see creativity as a very big risk, especially if it is coming from someone creative and not from 'them' [the business owners].

    I have seen creative people 'die' on the job as their creativity is stiffled, and they are declared 'non-performing'.
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      Oct 11 2011: Jean, Your comment that the problem with creativity in education is the teachers and not the system is interesting to me. I can imagine individual teachers who stifle creativity in class and have had some myself. But to be fair, I have more frequently seen talented creative teachers completed defeated, denied and demoralized by school administrators and system administrators and state policy. Teachers in many public systems today are so overworked and overwhelmed to "teaching to the test" that they have no time and room for creative play and lessons in the classroom. I prefer to take a systems view of this issue which looks at the complex interactions amongst many factors that cause a lack of creativity in the classroom. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, politicians, the media, employers, etc. all make up part of the system and all play a role in either promoting or stifling creativity. So "correcting" just one factor such as teachers, won't be enough to create lasting change.
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        Oct 11 2011: Peter, again you make a very sharp X-ray.
        So, if it is such a complex issue, and it involves so many failing factors world wide, are you suggesting there is nothing to be done? I want to hold on to hope, please, tell us how would you, then, deal with it.

        I am sure there is a way out, a better way, a better answer to needs that right now aren't met anyways. There has to be. The world has never been perfect, with many areas in need of improvement, yet good, positive learning happened.

        There has to be a place where we can start...
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          Oct 12 2011: Sorry, there is no hope. The problem is too complex, too intransigent, too ingrained. Just go home and forget about it.

          Just kidding. Of course there is hope. My point is that the problem is multi-faceted so the solution must meet the problem at those facets. Not necessarily all at the same time and maybe not all needs to be met. We need to find the "vital few" pivot points and focus our energies on those. I think a one of these pivot points is:

          The current political system rewards candidates who can point to simple to understand metrics of school performance that show "improvement". No Child Left Behind is such an example. It grossly oversimplifies the challenges facing the education of our youth. But it does provide simple metrics that politicians can point too and either take credit for "improvements" or at least show the public that they have a tangible plan for improving education. The general public seems enamored by such simplistic metrics because the general public seems to have neither the stomach, the will, or the patience to delve into the complex reasons for our education system's failures. So the general public rewards "straight talk", simple metrics, and specific goals based on such metrics. NCLB has done serious harm to our country's education system but it was seen originally as a strong drive for action to address a vital and intractable solution. I have seen this phenomenon repeated many many times in large complex organizations. Oversimplification sells votes but it is rewarded by the audience.

          I believe to guard against being swayed by oversimplication, we need to equip our youth with the fundamentals of systems thinking. Systems thinking training will prepare our youth to delve patiently into the complex cause-and-effect dynamics, distinguish between correlation and causation, distinguish between science and pseudo-science, distinguish between opinion and fact, guard against false attribution, and finally develop a scepticism for easy fix.
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    Oct 11 2011: good to know that so much is going on to improve education...
    i'm just not sure if its enough...here in INDIA nothing is being done it seems...
    perhaps we must do something here...and yeah at the end of the day it all comes down to individuals...if you have the will to do it....the "HOW" reveals itself..
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      Oct 11 2011: Vishnu, Although it seems nothing is being done in India about promoting creativity and youth empowerment, there are some highlights. Are you familiar with Kiran Sethi and her Riverside School in Ahmedebad in Gujarat? My teenaged son and I visited her at her school for several days last year and saw first hand the many efforts undertaken at that school to promote creativity. Kiran started a campaign called "Design for Change" that has been adopted in many countries. Kiran was a speaker at a past TED conference. Also, Ritika Arya is promoting creativity with her school called the My India Empowered school in the Sanjay Gandhi National Forest in Mumbai. Look up her name and her NGO My India Empowered. myindiaempowered.ning.com In a country of over 1 Billion people that invented "jugaad", there has to be numerous innovative initiatives in education in India. I expect Indian innovation in education to vibrant just as in its innovation in management practices.
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    Oct 11 2011: Education can change a lot....but yes the creativity portion is not proportionate enough in the schedule....
    We do need to have a more practical approach...Universities like Stanford, oxford, ...etc can and must be brought at school level where everyday everyone learns a new lesson. not just a new chapter in a text book...
    students shouldn't have to worry about exams. that kills the creativity...we need a new exam pattern..
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      Oct 11 2011: Hi, Vishnu Narang. Good to have you here.

      Did you know many universities are already doing plenty?
      Duke, for example, has a program that involves all high schools; it scouts some students, trains them in many different fields in the summer several years, and upon graduation those students have a sure spot at Duke (which I think comes with scholarship)
      Brown has a large, but more regional, reach out department that includes college students teaching in the community, professors involved in short term high school programs, and tutoring in elementary schools.
      Rice University and others have programs that train and motivate teachers.
      And why top universities, when all of them are "institutions of higher education"? Our local college works closely with the high schools, in fact many high school students take several classes there and receive credit for it.

      I personally think that pretty much is up to you if you chose to learn a new lesson each day...
    • Oct 13 2011: @ Vishnu, If we remove exams how do you go about assessing performance? I agree, exams stress students out but what the alternative? We give exams to assess student knowledge and competence. Without this assessment I think we as educators would be negligent, putting practicioners in the community without the skills to accurately assess patients. There can be a paradigm shift in testing but there needs to be some way of assessing performance and competence.
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        Oct 13 2011: well i'm not saying to remove exams completely...of course assessing is necessary...but the system can be modified...the stress part is also important as i understand...but the reason for that should not be exams...if the teaching method is changed...i believe children wont need to be stressed for exams....they'll actually enjoy the exams....
        any joker can also learn an answer and write it in exam to get marks...does it make him smart...nope...
        no use of assessing....that is why the point is that teaching should change...exam pattern should be modified...mugging up answers should not be required...
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    Oct 10 2011: I first learned about TED TV when my art instructor at the University of Missouri sat us down one day, within our drawing class, and introduced us to a few talks on TED. Elizabeth Gilbert was the one that gave me a profound "AHA" moment when she spoke of the genius that we all have. I recognized myself and the rest of my classmates in her thoughtful insights and was comforted and inspired by her fresh perspective on creativity.
    The second "AHA", was listening to Janet Echelman on Taking Imagination Seriously. It struck me, as I saw her amazing net sculptures undulated in the wind, that my favorite art is the art that is accessible and visible to the general public. It catches people off guard when they notice it while in their rush to cross town or in their short lunch break, and it can have a deep and lasting impact on them within just a few seconds of noticing a new image, form or performance. It's this kind of art that derails the left brain train so that the right brain air balloon can lift them above the caos to a heightened view of the beauty around them. I am in the Grad Art Ed program at MU in Columbia Missouri and my hope is to open up future students, my potential school and community to appreciate the importance of nurturing both our intellect as well as our genius so that when the spirit of pure creative potential comes flying by we will grab onto it's tail and be confident that it will lead us to greater perspectives and new discoveries we all can benefit from. Conceptual art that sits in galleries or museums is interesting yet I dont see it's purpose or contribution if it's important ideas are lost in translation or kept a secret to only the privileged few that understand it's history and codes.
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      Oct 11 2011: Maria, thanks for sharing your very artistic perspective, and welcome to the discussion!
      How lucky of you to have such open minded art teacher :-)

      You addressed creativity mostly in the arts, and it seems you have great ideas for the future. If you read the thread a little bit, you'd see that there is a bit of a consensus about a certain apathy in the educational world, a lack of stimulus, not much freedom for students to follow their own compass... It is refreshing to read that you want to step in that world and make it more meaningful, connecting with the community.

      Why don't you tell us how you plan to mix intellectual activity and art as an art teacher? Do you see it happening in a conventional classroom, a studio, or somewhere else?
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    Oct 10 2011: A related topic is: is creative behavior punished or rewarded in the classroom. The most "creative" students in a classroom can also be the most time-consuming, labor-intensive, headache-provoking students for the poor overworked teacher. On the best days, the teachers may feel invigorated and inspired by the creative behavior of such students (asking questions for which there no ready answers, proposing ideas that may not fit with the teacher's pre-set schedule, etc.). But on the many days when the teacher is overwhelmed with work, such creative behavior may be seen as irritating, annoying, disruptive, and undesirable.

    I recall a recent incident at a STEM camp where the class completed in 3.5 days what should have taken 5 full days to complete. The head teacher decided to cancel the remaining camp and send the teachers home early. One stunned student proposed that this was the perfect time to allow the class to create their own technical challenges to solve and to share the learnings with the developers of the STEM camp curriculum. The rest of the students voiced their enthusiastic support for this new proposal.

    The head teacher's response was not supportive. He had already made up his mind to curtail the rest of the camp and had already dismissed all the teachers. It wasn't until the students and a few parents in the camp pleaded and offered to help fun the camp that the head teacher relented and only reluctantly. In this example, that creative student was very likely seen as a trouble-maker by the teachers. The boldness and conviction with which he spoke was unnerving to those teachers used to compliant students. The creative nature of his ideas were infectious. The other students instantly saw the fun involved and jumped on the bandwagon. So in this example, such creative behavior may be undesired and even punished by those in positions of formal authority in the classroom.

    My point is that we need a realistic/balanced view of how creativity is viewed.
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      Oct 11 2011: Ouch, your example pains me, both as a teacher and a mom. I have no words, that head teacher, what an oxymoron. In fact you can take the oxy and still it is true.

      But can there be such a thing as a balanced and realistic view of creativity?
      I don't know. You tell me first what is reality. Who defines it, and do you agree with the definition? Is what we see, the corporate world, the seemingly obsolete public education system, corruption in leadership, rampant drugs and crime, abuse and excess, is all that reality? Is it the same reality for the villagers in some place in Somalia dying of hunger, or the students in a humble hut Mumbai, or the refugees in Japan fearing the radiation of the leaking reactor? And for the polar bears in the North and the pinguins in the South, and hundreds of species in between, that are dying because of reckless and avoidable human activity? And when we covered all that, is that all there is to reality?

      If one answer can fit them all, you spell it -I will keep silent.

      Could it be that the answer is as diverse as there are problems? Could it be that we have in our hands a global issue that affects us all, an issue so diverse that will take all of us to solve if we are to survive?
      But not "us" as in "the US"; also not "us" as in you and me. I mean "us" as everybody waking up to their potential, and the urgency, taking responsibility as tenants in this beautiful world of ours and putting hands to work, each in their capacity, like Steve, to the fullest...

      I don't now, I am just thinking aloud...
      Gosh, you make me think too much, Peter. Thank you!
      I hope this dialogue we are all having (where is everybody else, BTW) will bring forth some actions. It is already making me do a lot of soul searching and goal setting...
      • Oct 11 2011: "Inn some way I believe that "what is his name's pyramid comes into play. If you are not sure about basics such as food water and shelter it is very hard to come to the point of self actualization (Ah yes Maslow) But I have come to question self actualization in America I now see it as a 50 /50 deal actualization or absorption. I saw the Olson twins are selling out of their 39,000 dollar back packs actualization or self absorption? Have we as advanced societies passed that part that hungers to be creative because we have so much? Watch Ukraine's got talent the winner will blow you away
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    Oct 10 2011: Another idea that may have surfaced already is how creativity is rewarded or punished by the context within which is found. We are discussing the role of creativity in education because we want to develop creative future citizens and because the education system is a vital contributor. However, it would be beneficial to discuss the larger context beyond the education system. Upon graduation, many youngsters proceed to work in entry level positions within large corporations. Just about every corporation proclaims to value creativity and innovation in their "human capital".

    However, many corporations and especially the more traditional ones, want a certain type of "constrained creativity" from its employees. They want employees who are manageable, predictable, low-maintenance, not bold revolutionaries who disrupt the status quo, who ask difficult questions that make senior executives uncomfortable, who are not afraid to lose their jobs in pursuit of their ideals, who can generate widespread support for grassroots movements that are contrary to the corporate mandate, who disdain traditional hierarchies based on tenure/political alliances, who are willing to take bold risks that may unsettle the comfort of those around them. These employees in these traditional organizations are deemed "trouble-makers", "non team players", "disloyal", "unstable", etc.

    Imagine what it would have been like to have a dozen Steve Jobs in one of these traditional organizations. It would be a senior executives nightmare. I bring this issue up because sometimes we forget that creativity is not universally rewarded despite vigorous proclamations to the contrary. Having worked 20 years in 5 major industrial corporations that were traditional in nature despite proclaiming to be progressive, I have witnessed first-hand this phenomenon.

    Implications for creativity in education? Perhaps explain the different ways creativity is valued in different parts of society. Emphasize social EQ skills
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      Oct 11 2011: You are giving us a very good challenge here. I hope someone else will also give their views, but for now I'll take the bite...

      Yes, you describe the corporate culture painfully well. With promises of professional growth, social promotion and economical success, it lures the brightest leaders, but eventually in its hunger for control it demands the sacrifice of the very individuality and creativity that it attracted. But remember, creativity cannot be destroyed. In fact, if it weren't for that ridiculous micromanagement, many would have tolerated it and stayed.
      As for the future of that culture, I want to stay hopeful and keep in mind that the generation Y has already broken many molds, and it is a force to be reckoned. They played with technology in the crib, connected with the world before they went to school, learned several languages, and now create their own jobs. They are fearlessly stepping out to take on big causes with civic commitment and social responsibility. Poverty, the environment, HIV, the superconductor, genomes, overpopulation, tyranny, you name it! This is an "I can" generation that won't surrender easily...

      "Imagine what it would have been like to have a dozen Steve Jobs in one of these traditional organizations. It would be a senior executives nightmare." Ha, ha, ha... absolutely.
      But my view on that is, it couldn't be. There was only one Steve Jobs, and he risked to follow his call to the limit until the very last day. My point is, instead of a dozen Steve's clones out there, I am convinced there are many more than 12 John, Peter, Sam, Mary, Arlene, etc. Many more individuals capable of comparable innovation that haven't yet fully taken the plunge, haven't checked their "daily creative ratio" to try to maximize it. While Steve was good, yes, very good, we'd do better looking at ourselves and go for OUR max.

      Creativity is not for elites, it in all of us, and it is waiting. Will we dare?
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    Oct 10 2011: Hi Karena...A "we-go agenda" simply means that getting to great places requires the ideas, great energies and even sacrifices of many. The success of the human race is depends on our ability to understand a very simple fact - that relationships are the ONLY human-generated source of energy on the planet, so we better learn how to value them and manage them well.

    In our organization for kids, we focus the youngest members (age's 5-7) on discovering the value they bring to themselves and their families. The middle group (ages 8-9) are focused on their value to their neighborhood, school and community. The oldest are focused on the value they have the power to add to the world. The progression is: "I...You...We" and throughout, we are forever reminding them that they are unique while simultaneously similar and connected to one another.

    A "we-go agenda" is all about developing the emotional intelligence required to be appropriately independent and interdependent. It's not all that hard but it does require deliberately focused attention AND parents and educators have to be as willing to learn from children as they are to teach them. TED member Adora Svitak is a wonderful example of what Gibran was talking about - she is also the reason why I joined TED. Any adult-led organization that provides thought-provoking children with a platform is my kind of environment.

    Children have a great deal to teach us about tomorrow and we, in turn, have much to teach them about yesterday. Our respective perspectives concerning today are worth continuous exploration and exchange - that's a "we-go agenda."
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    Oct 9 2011: Kahill Gibran reminded us to provide children with the environment and skills to image and create a new world, as opposed to teaching them to recreate our past and/or our current world. Perhaps there should be prizes adults who focus on ways to do so. Of course that involves moving from an "ego agenda" to a "we-go agenda."
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      Oct 10 2011: Kahil Gibran was a wise man, one of my favorite authors. Thanks for increasing the depth of our talk :-)

      Education needs to move "from an "ego agenda" to a "we-go agenda." I like the WE in that!
      Maybe you can tell us more about what this means to you.
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    Oct 9 2011: I know, I took liberties and provided ideas from the thread that could well be synthesized. No time, too many irons in the fire. 1. Approach education from the child's perspective, what they would find engaging. 2. Make the developing the child's curiosity a major aim in education. 3. Lead kids to an awareness that they have a mind and that it can feed itself.
    • Oct 12 2011: Thanks for the points. I agree. If you haven't already, you might enjoy reading "Freedom to Learn" by Carl Rogers. He is my heroe))
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      Oct 12 2011: Yes, I agree and would like to spread Raghava KK' s very similar idea that he elaborates in his talk "Shake up your story" although I partially also agree with the idea that "schools kill creativity"
  • Oct 9 2011: No I am not talking about the mentally handicapped. I am talking about the sevn levels of intelligence. Do You think one Gavrilo Princip could have been equal to Einstein? Or maybe Madam Curie could have her work duplicated by one man with ADD? Was Nobel just lucky or did he use extreme intelligence to turn from Dynamite to a great benefactor? We need basic education to start the discovery of ones own ability, we need education to allow students to grasp the basic idea of development of the mind, competition to perform on a higher playing field than the Gridiron. Team sport is good for the mentality, it is great for the entertainment of others, it is usually good for your physical fitness, it does not impact the mind so much. Most sucessful athletes are trained well, few have devised the plays they are running on sunday mornings. Education is not the Rah Rah of fans attending, it is the process of developing the means to get there. Like the saying goes anything less thana 60 IQ is a moron, anything more than 130 is a prodigy anything at 160 is a Genius. So do not confuse education with the creative side of things, without the basic education, we would still use bow and arrow, bronce axes and fires that never go out. These tools were part of the creative process, and were developed by a few intelligent forefathers and so we progressed. Maybe Oppenheimer was right when he said, "we have created amonster, now we have to create the cage to keep it in!"
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    Oct 9 2011: ------------------------ + ----------------------

    It is with great sadness I share with you that one of our beloved community members, LUIGI VAMPA, passed away recently in Rome. His input here and other boards was always sage, profound and witty, clearly reflective of his Jesuit background and deep convictions, in whichever language he chose to post...

    I wish I could do more...These are his last entries here, poingnantly exposing his full approach to life: live today!

    [Talking about time and the urgency to make a difference]

    LUIGI: "per l'anima noi abbiamo la eternita. Il tempo umano non e niente. Sempre abbiamo tempo. Ma non il tempo cronologico. Il tempo sacro senza tempo: Kairos. Il tempo del anima." (For the soul we have eternity. Human time is nothing. We always have time. But not chronological time. The sacred time without time: Kairos. The time of the soul.)

    Karina: "[Si, ma] Ancora, c'e qualcosa si puo fare ora?" ( [Yes, but] is there something we can do now?)

    LUIGI "Si puo vivere il presente." (One can live the present.)
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    Oct 9 2011: To Karina,

    Was his account deleted? Or did he simply remove himself from this conversation. I admit I had a good chuckle off of his comments. It appeared as if he was attempting to teach us about his apparent superiority complex. Unfortunately those 500 classrooms a year, didn't teach him what it meant to teach. Teaching isn't about telling the student the answer. Teaching is about guiding or teaching the student on how to find the answer on their own. That also doesn't mean a teacher can answer a question with "figure it out yourself" or "ask a classmate". That is hardly guidance. I was shocked (and slightly horrified) when a coworker of mine started complaining that her sons 3rd grade teacher was responding to questions, by telling his students that the answer could be found in the back of the book. When a student doesn't understand what 25 divided by 5 equals... You do not respond by saying that the answer is 5, and are confused as to why the student needs any further guidance. I pity the teacher that had to teach that class the following year.
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      Oct 9 2011: Hi, Mike, missed your ideas for a while. Where have YOU been?
      Not sure what happened to our visitor... I was reminded that respecting each other's views even while totally disagreeing will grant you the respect of your peers and a long life (virtual or otherwise)... I was mostly reminded of the urgent need for GOOD EDUCATIONAL REFORM ;-D

      Mike, we were at 1/3 of the 30 days of this debate, and I had invited all to conclusions so far (read the edited debate question)
      ...counting your ideas...
      1. Teaching isn't about telling the student the answer
      2. Teaching isn't about answering a student with "figure it out yourself","ask a classmate" or "look at the back of the book"

      So, without knowing it, you almost did answer the call. But I am sure from what you shared with us before, that you have better things to point out as conclusions. Wanna play?
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        Oct 9 2011: I read slowly, and have therefore been avoiding your very successful conversation. I love to play though, but unfortunately do not have a conclusion at this point. What I do have, is a new question that does not seem to have been addressed yet. We have been focused on bringing creativity to teaching, but especially in teaching the academics. Why teach creativity, when an art class is already creative. Except that Phillip McKay left me with a huge unanswered question.

        How do you grade a class, which is based off of creativity?

        I couldn't imagine being an art teacher, and being required to place a percentage upon a piece of art. How do you define something as being correct or incorrect, when there is no correct answer? Perhaps this is why so many teachers at my highschool employed a "grade yourself" philosophy. Where the students were required to give themselves a grade, and write something as to why they felt they deserved that mark. It felt flawed back then, and it still feels flawed now. So I'm left with the same question. How do you grade creativity?
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          Oct 9 2011: I didn't expect less from you!
          Gosh, I am an artist, and I am glad I don't have to deal with that choice! You are so very right, how do teachers decide? How fair can it be? Who knows which Dali, Picasso, Kandinsky or Miro might be budding or blooming already in class?

          One of my favorite books is The Dot. Strongly recommend it to you personally.
          As you said, there is no correct or incorrect, right? So repeat with me, "I am not artistically flawed, because it is impossible!"
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          Oct 10 2011: "How do you grade a class, which is based off of creativity?" from Mike Euverman.

          Here are my thoughts:

          If the objective of grading creativity is to acknowledge and encourage continued development and expression of creativity, then I would not provide a "grade" of A, B, C or 100%, 90%. I would not label the person using such "grades". Instead, I would describe what I perceived to be the person's growth in exploring new territories, boldness in experimenting with new forms and perspectives, diligence in honing his/her techniques, openness to candid feedback from a variety of sources, resilience in the face of failure, novelty of expression compared to peers, agility in crossing from one domain of knowledge/experience to another, profundity of thought in discovering repeating patterns across these different domains, willingness to challenge one's assumptions, integration of the person's diverse talents and experiences in their creative output. These are just some of the items I would use to describe the person's creative development NOT for the purpose of assigning a rank or label but rather to help the person understand their progress and continue their creative growth. By the very nature, this type of evaluation is very time-consuming and requires a great deal of skill, experience, and wisdom.

          If the purpose of evaluation is to assign a rank, percentile, score, grade for the purpose of measuring the individual to reward/punish or to segregate for differential treatment, then I might gather a group of diverse, accomplished individuals and ask them to subjectively rate the creative output in terms of novelty, boldness, value to society, etc. in relation to peers. The peer group might be local as in the other students in the same class or as broad as the most celebrated creative works across time and cultures. It really depends on the goals for evaluating the creative output.
        • Oct 12 2011: Mike, you touched a very sensitive and controversial issue: assessments. The whole point, to me, seems to be an authentic and tangible change. Dont we want to teach teachers to teach creatively( excuse the tongue twister). Why are we trying to hold on to one of the fundamentally problematic elements of all traditional educational systems? Shouldn't we creatively find a new system to deal wilth learners progress and development? I believe that bringing traditional tests and measures into the land of creativity, would be like bringing a virus into a children's hospital ward..... fatal.
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    Oct 9 2011: Karina,

    Pardon my ignorance, but I'm not sure what your response means.
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      Oct 9 2011: Sorry, perhaps too brief...

      :-) is a smile sideways.

      I very much liked your quote, "You cannot depend on your eyes, when your imagination is out of focus". I personally try to sharpen mine often...
  • Oct 9 2011: Creativity has many a place in education, and in itself, is everything educational.
    Animals are creative everyday and continue to be in finding many ways to obtain food. I don't believe that this is without learning either.

    Place a man in a Kayak out in the middle of the ocean with a lap top... The man is food for the sharks! I believe that if either the man or the shark use their creative instincts..... One of them surely will outlive the other.... Or maybe even live in a peaceful harmony.....
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      Oct 9 2011: Oh boy, I disagree.
      Let's think outside the box, please.

      Let's just go to one of your sentences:
      "Place a man in a Kayak out in the middle of the ocean with a lap top... The man is food for the sharks!"
      Not really, it depends... what brand is the laptop?
      :-D (my humble homage to Steve Jobs, whose Mac can do anything in the world! And yes, in contrast with any other book out there, the Mac will outlive the shark!
  • Oct 9 2011: Thanks For those willing to have only one income home school allows you to take your child's education wherever they want it to go. By the way Dr. Raymond Moore wrote a book called better Late Than Early. He believed formal educstion should not start to thirteen or fifteen. Boy wouldn't that just blow the ept of Ed mond
  • Oct 9 2011: Hi folks, sorry to come in just at the point when you are synthesizing but I am interested in a couple of other areas that havent been mentioned yet (I think).. For example, what roles might out of school organizations play in fostering creative learning, even inside schools! In my area of English education, for example, in secondary schools what does creativity look like? I would say versatility and flexibility with language, confidence, capacity and skills to experiment with form and content, to craft for best effect in the context of audience and purpose, and dispositions to use language for all sorts of reasons including imaginative, speculative, persuasive, analytical .... Ideally with pleasure and enjoyment at least some of the time! Although I am in Australia, I was lucky enough to visit 826 Valencia for a day last year in SF, the writing centre for kids started by Dave Eggers. I brought away a few kilos of their publications and was impressed by the deep learning that was evident in the children's writing and in the wonderfully imaginative workshops that were run there for children, as well as homework help and SAT test coaching. Their big publication each year is always the result of a partnership with a class in a public school where they work inside the school over a period of time as students work up a text for publication. Two things I was struck by that we were told on that day. 1. EVERY child is part of the project - there is no possibility that only the best kids in the class get their work included. Some kids might take longer and need more help along the way but the assumption is that everyone has a voice and something important and unique to say ('personalized learning') 2. When I asked how they got into schools to work this way, the throwaway comment was 'under the radar' .... I wonder what possibilities open in school / creative community organization partnerships and how much of their impact sticks and in what ways in schools?
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      Oct 9 2011: Welcome!
      And FYI, we only used 1/3 of the "life" of this debate, I felt it was useful to wrap up a couple of conclusions before we forgot those points altogether, since this discussion got way bigger than I imagined... so there is plenty of room for growth. Come and stay!
      It is tremendously refreshing to see a different view altogether, thanks for sharing yours :-)

      Without altering the fabric of the current system, you bring us to the inside of the classroom, and even inside the teacher's mind. What is seen as creative at the high school level? What good things are out there?

      How wonderful it is that you went to 826 Valencia, thanks for telling us about their innovation in writing and collaborating with schools. For those that didn't hear about Eggers, he won a TED prize, here is the link http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_a_school.html
      I am curious, was that a personal trip or were you sent by your school? Were you empowered to make changes in your own practice?

      I attended one of Erin Gruwell's presentations. She is a teacher in California that dared to make a difference, and now, besides teaching, spreads good ideas around the country as a speaker, and through the Freedom Writers Foundation. Her story was made into the very inspirational 2007 movie Freedom Writers.

      There are many other local success stories, anyone wants to add to the list?
      • Oct 9 2011: Yes I've read her book. Im a teacher educator now in a university after 15+ yrs as a teacher in 3 states and diverse schools. My students are enthusiastic and committed but come back from practicum sometimes despairing as teaching and learning seems to be hijacked by preparation for high stakes national testing ( eg NAPLAN) or because of obvious discrepancies in resourcing eg kids can't take books home in English because 3 classes are sharing them simultaneously. I popped in to SF on my way to a conference last year. I'm beginning to work with a wonderful non profit organization here called the Red Room Company http://redroomcompany.org/ which has an increasing school program of poets in schools. Incidentally, in the UK for five or so years 'Creative partnerships' funded schools and NGOs to work together to reform curriculum especially in the arts and in disadvantaged schools and found that such partnerships could reengage students, revitalize curriculum, extend teachers' skills, broaden pedagogies and improve outcomes (Thomson & Sefton-Green 2011 Researching creative learning). You have been better in US than here in supporting teachers develop innovative practices in my curriculum area because of your long standing (and under threat?) National Writing Program where teachers over the country spend their summer holidays developing their own writing and their skills in teaching writing to young people.
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          Oct 9 2011: Great link! I can think of 10 people right now (no, not 10 facebook friends) that I'll share it with. Poets and writers are always exploring new horizons...
          It looks like you experience kids' creativeness first hand through the red room, and while writing is only one aspect of many where creativity can and is applied, this is great to know.

          Do you believe that the possible outcomes that you mention as a result of creative partnerships signify a real, long term change or a temporary cosmetic appeasing of the masses, entertainment in a way?
          I ask this because I see many large scale programs that supposedly focus on creativity and are often times connected with the arts, yet detached from the students daily realities. Hence, after the collaborative mural or inter district quilt is done, they go back to square one as far as their thinking process. On the other hand, those that are practical and require for them to find solutions for real situations help them to think positively next time they have a challenge.
          In my area, for example, Destination Imagination (over 30 countries world wide) partners with schools , proposing open-ended challenges that lead to team work, creativity and problem solving.
      • Oct 9 2011: Hi Karina, re your question below about the long term impacts - I don't know yet but am hoping to find out. I'll follow up the Destination Imagination lead though I'm interested not so much in scale or transportability of a program eg to 30 countries ww but to the specificity of each context and how each partnership adapts and varies to its unique context and conditions.
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    Oct 8 2011: Following Karina's suggestion that we distill some salient and practical points from this thread, here are some ideas I found here that imply some decent problem solving approaches-

    "Creativity is given to those who are lucky enough to be claimed creative, not those who ARE actually creative. Some of the most brilliant minds will die without more than a hand full of people knowing who they were. "

    "Monumental changes need to take place in approaches towards education. It's a vicious cycle of production lines producing consumer zombie youth. More concerned about being criticized than creating good criticisms"

    "Filling heads with dogma is like administering anesthesia to the naturally creative, imaginative minds of humans. "

    "However, the true mark of originality comes from the process of imagining, which is similar to but differerent from being creative."

    "The brain loves to create - you will never supress it though our environment will dictate to a large degree what we can and cant do"

    "I have found that creativity is not in the lesson plan"

    "...nothing changes in education, it is the stepchild of any government."

    "Ironically, this is a point that was already made in ancient Greece - when philosophers tried to explain that they weren't all knowing, but in fact were only able to come to their conclusions by reducing their perspective to that of a child, knowing nothing, and asking themselves questions about everything!"

    "With time independent modular and computer based education systems the student can have a choice as to their pace"

    "Mentoring programs offer the best creative thinking if the mentor is a confident person. "

    And part two of the request- real life solutions:

    A govt. pilot program with software writing grants for devising an engaging game that teaches a high school class in American history (or the history of your country).
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      Oct 8 2011: Hey Walter, that's not fair! I was going for synthesis here... Repeat with me: 1-2-3. Three ideas, sir!

      (In the spirit of the old outdated school system, "I will let it go this time" since you are the only one so far taking the challenge, and you get a sticker for collaboration ;-)
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      Oct 9 2011: (It is KARINA. I am far less powerful and destructive than Katrina, believe me!)

      If you read the thread from the start, you will find that lots of people came to some of the same conclusions you shared. The idea of a system that decides what to think instead of how to think, and the possible "programming" of our young was brought to the table.

      Now you also give it a political spin. You propose that any improvement in education giving place to free thinkers so to speak, will not benefit "the ruling elite". I beg to disagree.
      Tee Cee, do you have electricity? Do you use a phone, drive a car or get cash from an ATM? Well, all of those innovations came from individuals successfully problem solving in creative ways, regardless of the ruling party or the school system they endured. I will say that everybody benefits from out of the box thinkers.
      Besides, an educational overhaul is not our discovery here on this board. It is a well known fact. And politicians will be the first to benefit from a crime free society, saving billions that would be used in expanding overcrowded prisons, juvenile programs, rehab sites, police force increase, etc.
      But I agree, someone go tell them, please ;-D At a recent TEDx I attended, the presentations' common denominator was educational change and revolution, and I wondered how many attorneys were in the audience. They were singing to the choir -as long as we let politicians decide what and how to teach, education will not change! We need to take responsibility, roll up our sleeves, and BE THE CHANGE we want!
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          Oct 10 2011: Tee Cee,
          Don't ever apologize for having an opinion! Much the least on this debate, about being creative and thinking for yourself :-D And you are not off topic, it is a related aspect, I think, if we are going to have a real-life conversation.

          Nobody had dwelled much on the political side of it (beside me, probably) so I welcome your expanding on that. Of course politics, currently, have a lot to do with education (I abstain from commenting here) but you bring up an incentive to actually send the youth to prison? I'll have to look into that, it just sounds so backwards! It is from Pennsylvania, where the social fabric has been so fragile in several cities... it is possible that there is a factor we overlooked here, let's look further. I wanna see the half full glass...

          There are many teachers out there, good AND bad. Most of them basically good, but untrained, outdated, demoralized, etc. It is good to know you value teachers, but in general, and despite what we may hear, the same rule you mentioned applies in this profession: just follow the money. Or rather, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be." Teachers are way under payed as compared to many other countries that are believed to be "behind" the US.

          FYI, there was no pre-charted outcome for this debate, it was intentionally open ended, that's the spirit. It is defined by everybody's input. So give us your best :-)
      • Oct 12 2011: What we have experienced here in Egypt was just that, an educational system which depends on memorization of facts and data, and an assessment system based on how much you can regurgetate on the test paper. All attempts to question, critically discuss or disagree were dealt with harshly and the result: everyone who couldnt afford a private education, fell in rank. The result, a population of millions who played along to get by, but who went out into the streets to topple the tyrants when they got the chance. So maybe, the system worked after all ;)) Isnspite of my total support for our amazing revolution, I can still see many who are unable to think out of the box or leave their comfort zones. Creativity is what we really need now, in every shpere of life.
  • Oct 8 2011: Karina Eisner...I have seen Unanima Theater four years ago in Manchester, it was a special effort to teach them to be part of a play, true! Now lets look at the facts, the group consists, at that time 18 members, forteen teachers if you will call them that. The fact is it is not teaching these people undertake, it is training of one specific part at the time. This is not education, education we could afford and would severely be in disfavour with any normal being. Yes it is commendable what has been achieved, but in the end it is also a losing proposition. Education is meant to separate the wheat from the chaff, allow the creation of workers and managers, all according to mental capacity. We have Genius, we have Intelligent, and we have average, going down to savant and handicapped. All are living being, all are supposed to develop to the best they can be, lets not discriminate ever, but one old saying is, give credit where credit is due! Creativity is not for everyone, parents must start at home with it, should forget the so mundane world of being entertained, videao games and TV. Show their children what can be and what their capabilities are, then they will be prepared to attend elite schools. Just dont make the rest of the population pay for your own shortcomings. Knowledge is part of creativity, how can you be a writer if you have no experience assembled from others writings, how can you be a painter if Chagall is of no interest, Van Gogh is just a one eared man from long ago? Creativity has to be following knowledge, and learning the menial aspects of any creative vein you may have.
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      Oct 9 2011: I'll let Unanima Theater (our TEDster here, not the actual program) answer this...

      For now, it is good that you are aware that learning cannot be a "one for all formula", and that we are all different. Up to that point I agree.

      "Show their children what can be and what their capabilities are, then they will be prepared to attend elite schools." Any thoughts on this one, anybody?
  • Oct 8 2011: Schools cannot teach creatively, they have to carry the speed that is slow enough to allow the average student to follow. There are institutions that teach over and above the normal criteria, institutes where students with exceptional ability are accepted others simply will not ever be entered. Harvard and Yale, Oxford and Swiss school of Science. The ones that built the huge cyclotron in the alps. Specialised elements will allow higher end education, if you can afford it. We have politicians that have no idea who crossed the Potomac, and where Bosnia is located. How do you expect such slow witted lawmakers change education. Maybe Sarah Palin would respond to that. Some education is for geniuses only, other live for the rhetoric, Profeessors and Deans tout creativity, but can barely manage to keep a ordred desk. I know, I have seen too many, from here to Rome and Azerbaijan, nothing changes in education, it is the stepchild of any government. Like Leave no child behind...you have to, most teachers have been left behind decades ago. I am sorry but it will not change, not in our lifetime! You must have the mental mechanics to disect a problem and resurrect reasoning.
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    Oct 8 2011: So, my friends, it has been 10 days and 167 contributions full of hard thinking, deep soul searching, honest sharing, even brave recapitulating, and above all selfless sharing. Thank you for playing, you make it fun!

    The initial question took us from creativity in education to the very nature of education itself, and at times overlapped with another conversation focusing more on reform (now closed). But that was great, as the two boards collaborated and learned from each other!
    We have 18 more days to go, and I can't wait to see where this journey will take us. Here is an idea:

    Let's post, within the next 24 hours, the 2 main "aha's" that came out of it for YOU, and 1 thing you (or all) could do as a result.
    So, 2 main "revelations" you received in here, and 1 real life solution or application you take away.
    And Luigi, you can post in any language you want ;-D
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    Oct 8 2011: I wrote what i thought was an extremely creative essay at Uni once and failed - apparently i didnt address the question. I learned to write the correct answers and my marks imporved. Give them what they want but even that can screw you. I was told at half term (Fine Art) That my works were best when they were minimal. At the end of year the same teacher told me they were a bit too minimal ( thats not to say i didnt do any) That was a real mind f f@#k.

    The brain loves to create - you will never supress i, t though our environment will dictate to a large degree what we can and cant do. Secure and safe are enemies of creativity but paradoxically we need these to thrive creatively. Though some creativity comes from down low, i have also found myself forced away from creativity when life is a struggle. Van Gough wasnt a great artist (if you believe he was great at all) because he was going mad. He was great because he loved painting. Make the school fun and exhilirating. Find the right teachers and creativity will flow.
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      Oct 8 2011: I think, Van Gogh was not a great painter but it was a great artist.
      A great artist you can define as someone that loves what he or she does and does it with heart and soul as to become one, the person and the action.
      Sometimes a child can be that artist or even a businessman and that becoming, the blending of object and subject, you find back in the paintings of Van Gogh.

      The same I see in Vermeer but he is much more subtle and a fine craftsman.
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        Oct 8 2011: Frans, I love the thought of children feeling that deep connection, oneness, with what they do... in fact it sounds like that's how it should always be.

        In painting and designing I have experienced it, starting with the first idea and throughout the creative process. But there is also a time to let go, eat and sleep again, and recover your health! If doing it means I am not a "great artist", well, so be it. But the world needs me for better things yet ;-)

        After all we only have two ears, and to sacrifice them for our passions will only leave us with less resources for the next project...

        As a follow up, did you begin writing that essay on creativity? There is a lot to learn in that department, you can be part of the solution... Send it my way, I'd love to read it!
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      Oct 8 2011: Phillip:
      Yes! While keeping in mind that the scope of creativity in the main question was across the disciplines, and creative thinking can be experienced everywhere, I love this detour and want to stay here for a while :-D

      Phillip, I know what you mean. When I was in the school of architecture, we had biweekly pin ups/critiques. All our work, finished or in the making, was up on the walls, and all the big heads of the department as well as visiting professionals would gather around and tear them down. It was a rather one sided, cold blooded, thorough annihilation. At one point we didn't know if our projects were terrible or they considered them worthy of improvement and brainstorming... However, I did learn a couple of things with that cruel approach: I had what it takes, because I endured it, I stuck to my basic axioms not matter what (I learned to identify those), and then I also learned to detach myself from the work up to a healthy point in order to survive.
  • Oct 7 2011: I have found that creativity is not in the lesson plan. Creativity is just not a class. We've never had a class on being creative because we know there is no time for it. But for children to find their inner talent and let their brain think of the imagination itself, education must encourage it more. Right now, schools try to expand horizons by giving many classes, and that in itself is being unique, yet kids refuse to. Why? I think it is because they find creativity as a wrong doing. Sure, you hear teachers say "Be creative," but what are they really saying inside? Most teachers, I think, are saying "Get the work done in a way I'll appreciate it." But that in itself is very hard task for children.
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      Oct 8 2011: "I have found that creativity is not in the lesson plan. Creativity is just not a class"
      Yes, others are bringing up the same issue, we don't teach creativity, we let it grow, we nurture it, we develop it.
      Or we let it be buried under tons of data, mostly devoid of real applications.
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    Oct 7 2011: In school, we have so many teachers througout our lives spread out over at least 12 grades, my belief is that at least one of them will touch a child's life through creative thought and teaching. That's the kind of teacher every child should have at least once. One that will inspire beyond the scope of their being.

    Teaching to the test, and that sort of garbage does nothing but stifle and subdue the love of learning. This battle is with ourselves, and our futures are at stake.
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      Oct 8 2011: What you share resonates with many on this board, thanks for stepping in!
      Hmmmm... Teacher=inspiring motivator. Good point!

      You brought sweet memories of those giants in my own life... and made me think of something I can do today, right now, without having to wait until the whole engine of education gets redesigned in this debate ;-D
      Let's reflect for a moment on that "one in a life time teacher". Being so unique, passionate and creative, how easy do you think it might have been for her/him to deal with the immediate environment that in many cases constituted a constant obstacle to the positive impact she/he desired on each student? My point is, wouldn't it be fulfilling for them if some of those grateful students would come back after a while to let them know the great inspiration their teachers have been?
      I am planning on doing just that. Never mind how far away life events took you, actually even better if that's the case, in today's global community we have no excuses.
  • Oct 7 2011: I believe that creativity has an enormous importance in education. That is a pity that we value creativity in the early childhood education but as the student gets older its importance starts to fade.
    In Brazil, in high school creativity does not have a lot of importance, that is a terrible thing...
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      Oct 8 2011: Adrianne, I'll be happy to learn that in Brazil early childhood education values creativity. In the US public system the trend is not only to assess profusely and often through standardized tools, but more strikingly against all research, to not provide it at all. Every year the attention goes to weather early childhood programs around the nation will be canceled or severely cut or underfunded.
      There are several non profit organizations working towards increasing awareness of the need for early childhood interventions, presenting new and even better proof of the many advantages to the individual and the system, as it saves billions in taxes and later efforts to bridge academic gaps. There is also a clear link between social problems including crime, and lack of Pre-School programs. http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/node/41578
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    Oct 7 2011: Im surprised Andrea Kuszewski isnt on this.; she just published some articles on this area


    We are all different in our disposition to learning styles anyway, and the teaching institutions vary in what hierarchy they are trying to train you for. Fact is a lot of learning requires a robotic copy and paste component to get you walking. Even if you are highly creative. My personal problem is that when i started walking if interested enough I could pick up to a rapid gallop and the uni whatever were not having it.

    With time independent modular and computer based education systems the student can have a choice as to their pace. If they are engrossed they can finish a years worth of modules in a few months instead of the linear optiion. I personally find the latter can become torture and put you of the topic for some time AND the good grades, ideas spinoff are often destroyed in the process.
  • Oct 6 2011: I am a student in the german public school system, graduating this year. I never had the feeling that creativity had a priority in school - I learned how to be creative from my tutor outside of school, who helps me in a lot of subjects.
    When I first went to him, I was so fascinated by how much he knew - he could just figure out anything! But when I asked him how he got there, he simply said "Because I know nothing". That was probably the most confusing sentence at the time. But, now working for him, I know exactly what he means - when you don't know how to solve a problem right away, you start working on it as if you knew nothing. You write the information you have down and build everything you need on top of that. And it works - you get creative!
    Whenever I can't solve anything, I try to start from zero - and I think exactly that is the problem our school systems have. Schools, especially in Germany, try to give you this huge fundamental knowledge that is supposed to help you be creative - all those years, I thought you could only be creative by knowing. But I learned the opposite with my tutor!
    I'm most creative when I know nothing.

    Ironically, this is a point that was already made in ancient Greece - when philosophers tried to explain that they weren't all knowing, but in fact were only able to come to their conclusions by reducing their perspective to that of a child, knowing nothing, and asking themselves questions about everything!

    Free thinking and exploring of ideas can only be accomplished when you are free of guidelines and "useless" knowledge - and that certainly is not the case in schools.
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      Oct 7 2011: Yes, sir! Totally in agreement, and thanks for joining the debate!
      Many among us in this page had to take the same educational journey to arrive to that conclusion you pointed out: we really don't know.
      I like what you said, "I'm most creative when I know nothing."
      We need to start from zero... We can achieve the impossible!
      Here is an example of how just one of us can impact the world when going to the basics and daring to walk the talk:
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    Oct 6 2011: Fair enough. But this is conversation, not a peer reviewed journal, so I'll stick with my take on jocks from the point of view of someone who has mentored young people most of my life and who is in touch with their issues. My punk friends will be happy to verify that in their parlance jock = bully. I even patched one up after a jock encounter years ago, being an ex hospital corpsman. I don't think they even know who the APA is.

    Anyhow, my take is that creativity is not so much the substance of discourse as it is of action, a learn by doing thing. At my alma mater, UC Berkeley, the architecture faculty awarded a prize for anyone who could construct a container from a sheet of mat board and a roll of scotch tape that would deliver a raw egg intact from the top of the campus campanile to the pavement below. Those sorts of fun challenges work as a team challenge as well.

    Next, you have to decipher your Marcel Duchamp avatar for us.
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      Oct 8 2011: Ehem, Walter... where did our friend with the Marcel Duchamp avatar go? I also was curious...
      He left you talking to the hand...
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        Oct 8 2011: The guy erased all his comments and bolted. He was an oily head case who tried to play ideological traffic cop until his manipulations became a little transparent when he tried to imply that anyone whose ideas threatened his ideas was a "hater". Interestingly, he had zero info in his profile and his avatar was a little creepy. I tried to get a magnified view of his avatar and there was no photo of it in his profile. He apparently linked the image to a remote site rather than upload it to TED. I also did not like the way he tried to enlist you in his campaign as moral jurist. Strange behavior, not a typical TED contributor.
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          Oct 8 2011: I know... That's OK, this is the beauty of the world wide web... we have all sorts of contributors, some come and stay, some find better venues for their ideas -hopefully having learned something during their visit.
          You handled it like a champ, though.
          And I insist: I'd like to do an obstacle course in P.E.! He, he, he...

          Walter, look at my proposal for today, under the main question and give us your 3 main ideas (weather they were originally yours or you agreed with somebody else here) I might change the deadline to give ppl more time to actually read it and respond...
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    Oct 5 2011: Regarding creativity, if perception is in the eyes of the beholder and the medium and the message, then I think back to Mr Mark Twain when he said, "You cannot depend on your eyes, when your imagination is out of focus".
  • Oct 5 2011: We loose most of our creativity by the time we become 18. The main cause is , we are made to do mugging . Our education system has became Exam-oriented which is supposed to be knowledge oriented. This is resulting in poor quality of graduates who are not able to undertake difficult challenges & solve problems in their careers. If we do not bring creativity in the education system , we would have a living computer & a non-living computer on this earth
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    Oct 4 2011: Mentoring programs offer the best creative thinking if the mentor is a confident person. Mentors should encourage thinking outside the box with the assurance that the mentor will provide grace, guidance and coverage to the student. I think we are missing that in America. I am aware that we have many programs that offer mentoring but somehow it remains limited as a bucket of water in the ocean.
  • Oct 4 2011: Creative teaching methods are important in the classroom, especially with the changing landscape of social interaction, but shouldn't we be focusing our creativity more on solving the lack of funding as a result of cuts to education budgets? Creating solutions that don't rely on a one-time corporate donations, but rather organic and lasting sources to fund our programs?

    Although government should be assisting public education quite a bit more than they are, we cannot solely rely on their funds. PTA involvement is becoming increasingly necessary for schools to thrive. Here is a solution that was birthed from PTA parents in NYC with hopes of solving deficits in their kids programs. www.justschoolit.com . No spam intention.

    Hope some ideas sprout from this, and that we can creatively find new solutions to fundraising for our local schools.
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      Oct 9 2011: Coming up with the money for today is a valid need, no doubts about that. Although creative solutions to underfunded school districts include taking your child from the school and joining a home schooling network, babysitting coop, and other community based ideas... Are we ready to take charge of the education of OUR children?

      We are trying to think ahead. Beyond today's budget, beyond borders, beyond the political goals for education in our leaders in turn, beyond temporary reforms.
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    Oct 4 2011: You take my idea of providing kids with problem solving role models and morph it into an implicit if unwitting subsidizing a fascist police state. So find another example of a role model who takes what he finds at hand and improvises his way out of a jam, thus illustrating the power of a person with technological knowhow and and understanding of physical principles to synthesize a new solution on the spot. THAT's the message to my medium, a message that I'm having trouble finding fault with.

    As far as P.E. instruction goes, just end the humility for kids who weren't born with coordination or physical attriubutes normally needed for competitive sports. And while we're at it, let's do away with competitive sports in favor of cooperative sports. There is no similarity between boot camp and Outward Bound other than a natural outdoor setting and a set of challenges to be overcome. If it helps, think of a high school gymnasium with climbing, balance and coordination apparatuses instead of basketball hoops and grand stands, where you compete only against your last week's statistics and progress is rewarded via group approval. In this way, the physically least developed kid can win the game by demonstrating a greater margin of improvement than a kid who is a jock.
    • Oct 8 2011: Do away with competitive sports? Why? I agreed with this for years and then I was told that dodge ball and kick ball were out. There are those who believe that nerds reverse bully jocks,make them feel bad about their ignorant
      selves. I have been told ( no joke) it is all part of the pass fail stuff passing for education today.But I must say the thing I sense in your letter the most is bitterness.I am sure you are right but they have forgotten and gone on and some how you seem to be stuck there.
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    Oct 4 2011: The point I was making vis a vis "McGiver" was that the theme of the program is how creative thinking can be practically applied to solve problems. You would be free to cut out the violence if you feel the need to avoid the reality of human conflict.

    Outward Bound was a program whereby city kids were taken to a Summer camp where they were physically challenged via a series of obstacle courses which built confidence, self reliance, team cooperatioin and goal attainment. P.E. in high schools is a nightmare for kids who don't have physical coordination, are over weight, are sllight of stature, yet are forced to compete for a team position where they will be considered the weak link, be avoided during play and other humiliations. In Outward Bound training, you get the physical exercise but the goals are relative to the ability of the child, everybody improves their skills and wins peer approval. Also, there is no competition except against one's self image as an underacheiver, while it teaches cooperation as the more able students are made into mentors and helpers for the less able.
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    Oct 4 2011: Creativity is commonly associated with the arts, but we would do well to associated it with any mental function that shows kids that they have a unique mind that sees the world differently from everyone else and that it can originate ideas that have never been on the planet before. I'm waiting for a movement of non conformists that don't conform to their own outsider status, i.e., you can't tell they are outsiders until you explore friendship with them. Being "creative" often brings with it a standard set of cliche dress and thought parameters. People need to stand alone without all the props and crutches.
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      Oct 4 2011: And that's the creativity we are talking about here, original thought and problem solving.
      "People need to stand alone without all the props and crutches." Yeap! I think almost all of us get there eventually.
      There are many more than I thought around, you only know it as you said, when you get closer. Good to know, though.
  • Oct 4 2011: Creativity does not = Education but it is a variable in the equation. However, the equation is different for each and everyone of us, like a fingerprint. For some creativity plays a greater role in our development but for others, learning by rote, understanding concepts can be a more important factor. Engagement of the right side as well as the left side of the brain are crucial as the different sections of an orchestra. The horns, the brass, the strings could each stand on their own, but when they play together, then we have symphony.
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    Oct 3 2011: Karina per l'anima noi abbiamo la eternita. Il tempo umano non e niente. Sempre abbiamo tempo. Ma non il tempo cronologico. Il tempo sacro senza tempo: Kairos. Il tempo del anima.
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      Oct 4 2011: Profondo... ma lasciammo l' eternita per un'altra volta, si? (una voce dentro dice, non ho tempo adesso -joking)

      Ora, davvero... d'accordo, abbiamo tempo, Kairos. Ma se fossi uno di quei ragazzi che sanno che non sono pronti per il futuro che e gia qui, credo che il tempo cronologico sarebbe piu importante anche per te.
      Ancora, c'e qualcosa si puo fare ora?
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        Oct 5 2011: Karina si puo vivere il presente.
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    Oct 3 2011: An argument can be made that creativity IS education. Any form of abstracted learning that is divorced from immediate real world application, such as on the job training or apprenticeship, is automatically creative. Students are exposed to ideas as separate units divorced from immediate context, so that the ideas then reside in an cognitive realm where they can be rearranged and reassembled into new conclusions. This act of rearranging and reassembling is what needs to be taught.

    The TV series "McGiver" should be made compulsory watching every year starting at grade 4. There also should be some serious work done on breaking the dictatorship of peer pressure and influence among the young. Public schools should dump all P.E. sports and focus P.E on outward bound obstacle courses with group and individual problem solving elements included. Problem solving IS creative thinking.
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      Oct 3 2011: Almost everybody has had a great suggestion on how to change education to put creativity at the center, the great question is how? Is a transition possible or are we so far off the target that's better to start from scratch?
      Good luck with the peer pressure thing... by our very nature we are vulnerable to opinions, it takes a lifetime to overcome that for those who can... they are young, they will be vulnerable.
      But I do want to be in your PE class!!!! Great idea, everybody would love it!!!
      My 2 last years of PE in highschool were inside a classroom taking notes on the rules of different games and the set of muscles supposed to be worked out in each.
      I had been volleyball and basketball captain, could imagine how it felt?
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        Oct 5 2011: I don't feel that an entire overhaul of the education system is required. Just some tweaks here and there. The information being taught is good, it's just the way that it is being presented that needs an improvement. A complete overhaul could improve upon many of the fundamental beliefs that the system is built upon, but I feel a more evolutionary process would be more beneficial. Drastic changes cause ripples which lead to unforeseen results. Start with small changes, and then slowly build upon them. My first change, would be to teach teachers how to make classes more interactive for the students. More discussions and debates. The difficulty for the teacher is how to get the debate to lead towards a predetermined goal, within the alloted time limit.
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        Oct 4 2011: Was your comment to Walter or I?
        Because for the record, I agree with you. !st, my comment IS as narrow as ONE, is my opinion on PE class, I'd like an obstacle course! Just the opinion of one.
        About others enjoying organized sports, I was a captain(in the school team, not outside), I know what you mean, I loved that.
        Not good to force anything really, I like options. So your comment helped improve the idea. Let's have the two options. In fact, others as well, like track and field, rowing, swimming, etc. Better? Now that's creative colaboration!
        About McGiver, I won't even go there for more than one reason, main one is, as I have never watched it...
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    Oct 3 2011: @ Christa Hollis
    Thank you for sharing your experience, and for your suggestions. It looks like you are very excited in your school. I am curious to learn more about it (like I told you, trying to catch The Met in action this fall -from your school sytem on the east coast- and see it first hand)
    From your description it sounds like it is for upper grades only (you mentioned internships...) Is it so? Or does it start from PreK - Kinder? If not, who qualifies? I mean, is it open to all or just to those that fell through the cracks and were not "successful" in regular public schools. What is the outcome as compared to other sytem, and how do you determine success? What is the teacher turn around?
    I know, I know, I'll stop there ;-D
  • Oct 3 2011: i believe that creativity is the most important thing that Sir Ken Robinson is trying to improve because while learning no matter if you are in middle school or high school if you can keep your creativity you can learn in any education system.
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    Oct 2 2011: i agree Karina.......what i meant was that creativity is part of an education process......if there is no creative approach then it is not a real education. Involvement of creativity interlinks you conscious - mind - and physical expression of an individual. In the absence of creativity, the expression gets limited to physical. Commercialization of education sector has probably left behind certain fundamentals of education process and needs urgent attention.
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    Oct 1 2011: I agree.

    Just out of curiosity, do you actually see any positive change in this regard, even in germination stage?
  • Oct 1 2011: I wouldn't say they're becoming a way to program the masses...they have been designed and intended to program the masses for a very, very long time. The way we have been educating students for a long time has hinged upon the need to produce compliant and orderly workers for manufacturing and industry. Only offshoots like the Montessori method, and more recently ideas like the Studio School in the UK and Big Picture Schools in the US have begun to tackle how to integrate real learning (which includes, to a significant degree, creativity) into the school systems that have been systematically failing. Standards-based education has been operating largely to the exclusion of creativity, primarily because it's challenging to transition that left-brain "list and check off" mentality into one that is more organic and acknowledges that learning doesn't occur in sequential, ordered steps all the time.
    I don't think it's possible to kill creativity, but it IS possible to create generations of children who are completely dependent and passive. Creativity becomes rather rare, then. Creativity becomes unnecessary to the things the system treasures most (high standardized test scores), and thus, unnecessary in the educational setting. As a teacher, this is one thing I struggle with every day. I teach in a Big Picture School, and it is like pulling teeth to get my girls to step outside of what I tell them in order to create their own ideas. They fear being wrong, and in many cases, it doesn't even occur to them to come up with another--their own genuine--idea (even though that's at the heart of what we do).
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      Oct 2 2011: Wow, love your input, Christa! And I love the approach of your schools -can't get enough from their website (thanks again, TED!!!)
      Teaching students how to fish instead of giving them the fish, how to think instead of what to think, there are several right answers to any given one question... Yes!
      I thought all that was utopia in the US, thanks for sharing!
      In which school do you teach? I really would like to visit one in The Met, I will be in Rhode Island around Thanksgiving
  • Oct 1 2011: Creativity is at the core of the learning process. What we think of as creativity is really our brain acting naturally - predicting the future and outcomes as best we can.

    What creativity really is, is a technical set of skills applied to synthesizing predicted outcomes. Traditionally, we've been very narrow about these sets of technical skills, by applying it to areas of thinking that are less... data oriented... but really, at the core of creativity, it's just us been us.

    To suppress creativity is to suppress thinking, and to suppress the building of the tools, skills and technical expertise that allow us to achieve outcomes that we predict.

    This idea of creativity, in this sense, also ties into notions of human freedom. To be free is to be free to express, free to predict and impose on the environment before us in a manner that allows us to match our predictions - without unnecessary constraints that we recognize can be 'easily removed' given a different set of circumstances.
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      Oct 1 2011: Theory is good, but is any of it a reality in public schools today? Does the majority actually get to experience the high ideals that we discuss here? What is the actual place of creativity nowadays? Do you see it happening in your 'hood?
      • Oct 2 2011: In the context of what I've mentioned above - creativity is a reality in public schools in so far as it is an automatic and necessary part of the learning process. But in failing to understand the nature of creativity, we inadvertently end up suppressing the very mechanisms and tools that our brain uses to learn. Our education system focuses on rote learning over everything else - and while we are capable of rote learning, it is only a single facet of how we learn.

        On the basis of the idea that creativity is prediction and the ability to meet those predictions, key to the process of creativity and learning is iteration and feedback. It's intrinsic and intangible to the process of creating art and music, but among the maths and sciences, its importance doesn't even register.

        As a result, the sad state of creativity is such that it is poorly understood at best, and as a result not well practiced.
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    Oct 1 2011: A lot of people (often those who are *not* creative) seem to worship at the altar of creativity... but there's another side. Being creative involves bringing together things not normally associated with each other, bringing dreams to reality, twisting things into novel shapes, and substituting new things for the old. Whether for good or ill, most humans do NOT embrace change very readily. Perhaps this is because so much innovation causes pain for those around the creative individual. (Think of the vast number of factory workers who have been displaced/discarded because they simply couldn't adapt to the world resulting from the 'computer revolution'). Trivial 'creativity' as that involved in television advertising or in sculpture can attract a following. Creating a new society (e.g. Soviet attempts to create 'a new Socialist Man') can result in the deaths of millions. I'm not suggesting that we all join The Borg Collective, but the worship of 'creativity' without knowing the costs is -- in my opinion -- unwise. Personal experience seems to indicate that more often than economic or social success is not the normal result of personal creativity. The usual outcome is ostracism and a lonely trip through a life amid hostile and suspicious neighbors. Wishing for one's child to be 'creative' may be as much a curse as a blessing. ... And besides, who wants a creative accountant or lawn man or ship captain. Some stations in life demand stolid, boring, placid types who spend their entire lives doing their jobs reliably and without doing a single creative thing. The Japanese may not have a monopoly on truth, but there's a lot of wisdom in their saying that "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down."
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    Oct 1 2011: Its like asking what place does light has in the process of seeing....!!!!!..Trust that explains..!!!!
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      Oct 1 2011: I agree, the idea was to brainstorm weather it has a place in today's education... if you thought it did, which. If you thought it didn't, should it? Is there a need to change it? What can we do about it?
      After reading the TEDsters' input, I am beginning to think that maybe we need to re-think the term education altogether... maybe we need to move away from education as something that comes from the outside and is decided and imparted by others, and really consider instead learning as an active process that starts from the individual and is open ended, with teachers as guides, not instructors. Sort of what is expected in grad school, from preK. And yes, it is possible, but more importantly, it seems urgent!
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    Sep 30 2011: The key component of ALL education - especially pre-school and grade school - should be developing the critical thought process, not just the instillation of foundational information.
    • Oct 1 2011: Unfortunately, Keith...that's not what we have. Legislators, administrators, and the tax-paying public press for standards and measurable tests to determine how closely students have complied to learning goals outlined by the list of standards. Critical thinking is not addressed in any way in the standards (at least in the three states I've taught--and in the common core standards that will be adopted by every state soon). Therefore (because teachers are under the gun and can lose their jobs if students don't perform well on the standards-based work) critical thinking, synthesis, evaluation, and other higher order thinking skills are pushed to the back. Many teachers simply feel that there isn't enough time to make that happen.
      It's to our detriment as a society, but change comes slowly to education.
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        Oct 2 2011: Yes, accurate x-ray of the sad state of affairs!
        Yet, there has to be a way out. I am not a top decision maker in this field -just one small player like yourself- but I believe the public, the consumer (parents and students) have a power that they aren't aware of.
        I am not talking about protests on the streets, I really think that they won't work here, and most importantly, there are better ways!
        But are they here, in this forum? Are they aware of the inside story of the educational system where they children are being shaped today? Are there organizations already working in this direction?
        I know very few...
        • Oct 2 2011: The school I teach with now in Downtown Los Angeles is part of Big Picture Learning, and our entire model is based on internship and project learning that encourages creativity, finding and following their passions, building skills that are both functional and wide-ranging, and placing control over learning in the hands of the student. We're out there...just not all that easy to find. You can check the concept out at www.bigpicturelearning.org. Our school was able to have our learning model approved by the state of California--I can't see any reason why other schools can't follow the same progressive move. Well, no...that's not true. There are a million and one reasons, none I would consider legitimate considering the 50% dropout rate in LAUSD schools.
          It's a transition, and a re-imagining of roles. Unfortunately, many of the teachers I have worked with or been mentored by prep out their lectures and homework assignments and then don't want to touch them again (at least until it's time to teach it again). It's not all that easy to get the kids to embrace the idea either. They've been so long indoctrinated in the "make me" model of education that they're really uncomfortable taking control of their own education (and their own outcomes). There are growing pains, but realistically students can't leave high school and find themselves unprepared for anything more than taking standardized tests and sitting in one place waiting to be force-fed information.
        • Oct 3 2011: Karina, if you have not already, go see "Dolphin Tail". The main character basically sets up his own internship outside the bounds of the school structure, but what he actually does...that's exactly what we help every one of our students find. Ashley Judd gives this speech early on that talks about how her son is having an experience that is "so much richer than anything he could get in a classroom"...that's at the heart of how Big Picture Schools operate.
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    Sep 30 2011: "Collaboration is the stuff of growth"
    What we do here, hopefully what we take from here to our respective realities...
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      Sep 30 2011: Oh I don't know if I agree about collaboration is the stuff of growth. You can have collaboration as in "it takes a village" or you can have collaboration as in Helter Skelter. But I do agree individualism is a scary thing to educators. That being said, we are all a little inately afraid of what we do not understand. Perhaps in this regard, we should try to understand students and each other as individuals and nip that problem in the bud.
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        Sep 30 2011: Well, I for one am growing a lot throught this humble collaboration here, encouraged to think more critically, and to consider many more different points of view than I imagined in the first place. To that extent it works for me.
        Thumbs up if you think collaboration is better that individual/geek like work or research.
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    Sep 29 2011: Creativity and Education are kind of linked..... once a person is educated he or she tends to rationally approach a situation rather than being a bit creative, moreover it doesn't necessarily mean loss of creativity.

    It may not be exactly that people are being turned into some problem solving machines but rather they are just being more focused on solving a particular problem directly. The education system has particularly no role in such conversions rather its the social world that impacts such thinking procedure.

    We have companies signing bonds with people for certain amount to actually work to solve a particular problem. Rarely a bond states that it needs a creative solution to prevailing challenge. this makes people to become more result oriented. (can consider OOPs concept in real world).

    Now this prevents further investigation to the problem after a certain solution is found. Hence its not that we are afraid of where original thinking can bring us..... rather we are not interested to think further. Its not being afraid of change.... its non willingness to change if things are working out.

    And those who think out of the box may not be very succesful at the initial but their hard work does pay off. Hence I concluded that no one is killing creativity.... at least not the education system. But the current social trend might be diminishing it slowly among fellow humans.
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    Sep 29 2011: I do not think creativity has ever been merited in any educationals system. But it is making it's way slowly. Creativity is the ability to come upon something new and give it value. The terms could be that one would make something new, or be introduced to something new, and idea, a thing, whatever,... but the individual accepts this idea as new and gives it some value. Why wouldn't this be appreciated in an educational system? Perhaps it is too hard to mainstream, to linearize (I made up that word) or to quantify. There is growing pressure on teachers to produce performance, as their should be. As parents we know that taking the time to encourage creativity is also encourages learning. Being creative is relevant in University and should be encouraged long before then. Teaching/Administrators just might not know how to leverage creaivity and keeping performance scores. Who can say, and yet is there an educaitonal system internationally that is focused oon creativity?
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    Sep 28 2011: There is little or nothing that I could say better than this talk by Sir Ken Robinson: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
    However, I would make a great case study...

    By the way Karina, you live in the same town as a brilliant man named Bob Zarate, If he is still around meet him. and say hi from me... worth the look and time!
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      Sep 28 2011: Thanks for posting the link. It is very good, I also like the studio schools in UK http://www.ted.com/talks/geoff_mulgan_a_short_intro_to_the_studio_school.htmlI hope our local TEDx that we did last week gets posted on TED.com for all of you to see as well -it focused on education and re-thinking the whole "box" ... great presentations.Well, Christopher, I do live in the same town as many others ;-D Seriously, I haven't met Bob, and unless he shows up at TED, I don't know how else I would. Is he in this field? What makes the man brilliant?
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    Sep 28 2011: I'm suggesting like many before that we must educate our children for THEIR future, not ours, as theirs will be substantially different. Generally our models of teaching look backwards, not forward. Thus the disconnect.

    Regarding the target, it must incorporate environmental health, economic vitality and social equality or the triple bottom line. Unfortunately as David Orr so eloquently points out in his seminal work, Earth in Mind, that when education isn't fundamentally grounded in all three the results often undermine future generations as our present situation testifies. Until we understand holistic life cycle costs and unintended consequences of our past choices and the trends they manifest we have little opportunity for conscious evolution.

    I believe there is no time to perpetuate the old myths. They must be challenged so that we can learn all the lessons of the past with the hope of synthesis.
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      Sep 28 2011: Hmmm... let's see: while I believe we need to do a new "box" instead of thinking out-of-the-box, I don't think everything that brought us here is trash.
      In fact some schools out there (independent, private) strive to bring back some old principles that worked very well in the past, such as classical studies from elementary school -the way the greeks did it: organically, outdoors, inquiry method of discovery as oppossed to memory and traditional instruction. I mean, they go back thousands of years, not decades.
      Others attempt to go back to nature and hands on exploration, focusing on crafts and self guided science. I believe they are all way ahead of the pack.
      Now, are they the answer? Are they preaparing our kiddos for the jobs they will have to choose in 15 years? I don't think so, we are moving too fast, more is needed. Actually, is not quantity, is just that different content is needed.
      Craig, I don't know much about the approach you talk about, but I do know something: history has showed us that the worse thing that can happen to a society is amnesia. We need to learn from mistakes while being aware and acknowledge where we came from. Do not do away with everything that is in the past, people need to know in order to avoid falling in the same trap.
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        Sep 28 2011: Creativity, in its basic understanding, is comparable to the birth of a newborn. True creation is the emergence of something entirely new in the physical and material dimension that we perceive. It can not be solely the result of logical reasoning. Creativity can take place only upon a penetrating vision of something that was previously unknown. It requires an intuitive ability that enables a leap in the field of mystery before integrating it into the domain of the known.
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          Sep 28 2011: Creativity implies risk! Deep thoughts here :-)
          "Creativity requires an intuitive ability that enables a leap in the field of mystery before integrating it into the domain of the known."
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        Sep 29 2011: Karina,

        I certainly agree we need to learn from the past, but do we? When Forest Science, for example, refuses to understand the cause and effects of past management, how do we learn from the past? When we give lip service to holistic systems thinking or life cycle cost analysis yet allow externalities and unintended consequences to continue unaccounted for, how do we learn from the past? When people like me without an advanced degree gets marginalized and not invited to the discussion (generally, not here) in large part because our society doesn't support or respect comprehensive thinking and experience instead it rewards specialists how do we evolve?

        Our education system is perpetuating many myths and half truths without much understanding of where it is leading. Take automation for example largely embraced as increased productivity and progress. Yet who is paying attention to the structural unemployment that follows in its wake? How long will the social order remain civil, in the face of the obvious trends on so many fronts?

        Where is the synthesis and creative thinking that understanding all these constraints and interdependent consequences that lead to environmental health, economic vitality and social equality and build upon them? I keep looking but not finding much. Have you found this level of integration? I'd be very interested in knowing more.
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    Sep 28 2011: Creativity is vital nowdays. We have to imagine our future, to imagine our jobs, to imagine ourselves being happy and successful. We have to create not only gadgets but feelings and emotions and have their feed back.
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    Sep 28 2011: Without a target, any path will do.

    "We are drowning in data, while starving for wisdom" E.O. Wilson

    When short term profit, conspicuous consumption and greed define the cultural norm, its no wonder why all systems are in decline.

    When schools teach to the future realities and not those in the past, it too may become relevant and wise.

    But first we must move beyond our cultural denial.

    me thinks...
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      Sep 28 2011: Without a target any path will do, schools teaching for the future not just from/about the past, cultural denial. Those are some big issues, Craig.
      Are you suggesting that the target should be "prepare the young for the future?"
      While it seems critical for curriculum developers to wake up to reality and grasp the fact that 60% OF THE JOBS AVAILABLE TO OUR CURRENT ELEMENTARY STUDENTS DO NOT EXIST YET, if the fundamentals of how education is organized and delivered do not change, nobody will be able to jump on the waggon, even if you change the goal!
      Teaching for the future is key, I agree. And that is why I proposed to think about creativity. I believe that we are at a point where change is so fast, THERE IS NO TIME to organize the body of knowledge we desire to impart or deem useful, and then analyze how to deliver it. It is time to stop feeding our students, let's teach them how to fish by themselves, how to creatively problem solve, let's give them universal principles that will enable them to tackle whatever comes their way.
      Any thoughts?
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    Sep 28 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CwS60ykM8s&feature=youtu.be
    This talk is something most teachers should aspire to!
    It reminded me of this and how much I love being in the classroom:

    Let's grow roses in the concrete!
  • Sep 28 2011: Even the brightest of us are seldom creative, which is why our knowledge is so fragile. We often don't recognize a truth even someone expresses it in a way different from what we are used to. The creative person is the one who sees the substance behind the words and numbers and can gain new knowledge based on this insignt.
  • Sep 28 2011: Okay, I may only be a mere twenty years old, but I've been critically and creatively thinking from a very young age, mostly due to how I was raised, and one awesome Gifted & Talented teacher I had in Elementary school that was passionate and fostered some creativity in her classroom where we spent one hour a week in...

    But I've realized by going through the education system that it seems more like they're trying to produce obedient, conveyor belt consumers more-so than anything else. Creativity is not fostered at least all the way through to high school. I'll give a basic example, in Texas minimum passing credits for HS is 24 credits with only 3.5 credits worth going to something you may actually have an interest in learning (outside of required courses like math, science, social studies, and english, as well as PE credits and a couple of other menial things), and with recommended and distinguished program for graduating high school you need 26 credits with only 2.5 of those going towards 'want to learn' items, and requiring language credits as well from students.

    Another issue is that there's a no child left behind program (I don't care who created it and for what reason), and the idea is actually decent in theory, the problem you'll find though is that in the classroom there's a tendency to teach for the lowest common denominator amongst the students, as well as to teach for the state standardized tests, which can leave some students who want to move forward and learn more in somewhat of a rut, and some very talented students may lose the desire to learn. Another issue too closely involved with this is that it's not uncommon for the lowest common denominator to have issues passing these tests, which can cause others to not learn what they need to, and want to learn about.

    I say there should at least be more course choices starting from middle school on, that cover wider ranges of topics, pull that away from being a college only ideal.
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      Sep 28 2011: I feel your pain, Joseph. I teach in Texas. Not only that, but if you manage to stay out of the mold and take as many AP courses as you can (college level) and pass them with top grades (5), you will probably arrive to college thinking, at least I saved a year or two, because for the last 3 years I have been taking exclusively college classes. Wrong! Colleges only recognize but a few of them. Ouch!
      I agree with what you are saying, you are obviously very aware of the situation from your own experience...
      I wish the solution were simply adding choices to the "cafeteria menu"... but it will take a lot more than that to take our students off the conveyor belt and into the driving seat of their own learning experience, as you cleverly put it.
      To equip our youth to handle life challenges effectively, learning has to be relevant (connected with real life situations), practical (not taught), and purposeful.
      And if you are gifted, be strong... This memo circulated for teachers recently: "For teachers with gifted students, all that is required is to provide one project per period. There are simple guidelines to follow. Basically, the students are required to produce one project (aligned to the TEKS) each nine weeks. Student work should be evaluated through the use of a rubric. Both projects and rubrics are provided." So, if you are an identified gifted student, as you stated, you will receive exactly the same instruction and content as everybody else, with just the addition of one project, predetermined for you (no input, no choices) Basically, you are penalized for being gifted by getting additional work.
      While this doesn't have to be, and it is NOT always like this, unfortunately it is the daily reality of many. Real life is more than tests, learning more than grades. But take heart, even though this looks murky now, it just needs problem solving, a creative mind to design something that works, that truly responds to the needs of today's students...
      • Sep 28 2011: While in High School I had at least one AP class all of my four years, but even with those classes, which I learned a great deal in, and a good portion of the knowledge I have is greatly attributed to what I learned in those classes, I didn't learn enough to suffice a decent grade on the AP tests to get any credit in anything but Environmental Science. But I don't believe those tests are much more than a ton of trick questions and bad answers...

        An example of a menu item that would've been nice in my opinion would've been a semi-professional writing class that could count as the fine art credit requirement. I think the fine art credit fields are way too limited, it's all music, theatre, and art, some schools have dance, but fine arts includes writing.
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    Sep 28 2011: Everybody, I have to share the news, this is fresh from the press and hits right at what we have been discussing about the future of education:

    I have just been invited to a "shared visioning session" to [...] discuss the current state of the college and look at future directions the college should consider as it continues to grow and meet the needs of the local community."

    WOW! What an honor, and what a pleasant shock! Haven't we talked on this debate about education of the people by the people? Community participation in decision making, curriculum, and policy? Significant changes to serve the current needs?
    I feel really excited and hopeful for the college move. Maybe there is enough awareness out there to rescue the future. Somebody said we were just entangling ourselves in words discussing these issues on this board. Maybe all it takes for each one of us to turn this passionate debate from a mere discussion into action is to go back to our own environments and affect change, in whatever capacity we can -one person at a time. Let's!
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    Sep 28 2011: thanks a lot Karina , Thank you very much Rosie , I am so happy that I talked about it here , was really heart warming :)

    You know Karina, Sir Ken Robinson or so many other people talked about a revolution or a new way but the actual way to do it is still a missing link and mostly vague , like Agricultural model that Sir Robinson pointed out. I believe this method could be used effectively ( at least as a beta Version ) and I totally believe in it with all of my heart . I won't stop trying and the beauty of it is , it can work on internet , as an app on phones, the use of Xbox Kinect can give it a whole new perspective , and it could be very fun , Many people told me education should not be fun , why? I don't believe in that . As you said I should take it to a new place were people actually like new ideas. Thanks for the tip.

    Rosie thanks you very much I appreciate it a lot , I would love to present this project at TED and actually make it available to the world , This still might need a lot of work but for sure it is up to date , very fast ( like kids themselves ) and fun.
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    Sep 27 2011: Creativre thinking cannot be killed. It can be silenced in many but not killed. There will always be someone that will be brave enough and hungry enough to express themselves. The day this stops, the day we all think the same and live with only established norms is the day we become, forgive the Star Trek reference, Borg. Mindless drones that are highly efficient but of one mind and thought but with no individuality. And with Borg the only time change comes is when the higher mind directs it.

    Many public schools would like to do away with penmanship in public schools and focus more on computer skills from the beginning. In my opinion this would be the start of the loss of individuality. This is a more terrifiying thought to me.
    • Sep 28 2011: Often times though, it seems as though many things have been put into place to silence creativity, and though it's not all the fault of education, it falls mostly on our failing system I believe really needs to be re-vamped soon, or I'll homeschool my kids...

      On a semi-side note, in the Doctor Who Universe there's this group of aliens who are called the Ood, and they operate on a hive mind that can be controlled, and are used as slaves be humanoids in the series.
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    Sep 27 2011: Hi Karina - I am convinced that creativity is at the heart of everything that is different and innovative. Education needs teachers that allow children to find their own niche(s) as well as the fundamentals. We need to be able to inspire children to do things that are different and useful - this happens with a healthy amount of understanding of the basics and a lot of creativity. Inspirational tutors are what we need. I think we are afraid of the fact that few are able to inspire.
  • Sep 27 2011: This is the first time a write, and i am not yet very into the talk, just i would like yo say that we talk about creativity as something which seem to be forced to come up. the only thing i believe about creativity is that it will be around u, teacher and students when we get back the esence of human being,loving anything you have around. Creativuty is part of the human nature but a our human nature, human feeling, human esence is being killed anytime when we have to think that we have protect ourselves from the others. Creativity depends on freedoom, and we are not free in this society we live afraid because other pleople thinkings etc.
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    Sep 27 2011: Apologies, I am catching up here....Karina, you asked in a past post "An individualistic society afraid of the individual!? Could it be?"

    You have hit upon a claim I have had been making for sometime - the school system seems set-up to move kids toward the median not to becoming exceptional. Where does creativity fit into this dialogue - ? By policy, we have decided that creativity is not important and does not have a place in creating the “middle class mind.”

    I believe there has been excessive value put upon the social aspects of advancing by age rather than by capability - whether it be termed “IQ” or “creativity.” In the U.S. (where I live and went to school) the current testing scheme seems to support my claim – not because of what we test but because of how the outcomes are used. Rather than identify talented, creative individuals (or children who need more intensive educational therapy), the results are used as carrots and sticks for teachers, administrators and schools. We have decided, through our elected officials, that the purpose of the public education system is to prepare workers for a middle class life. If we want to prepare them for an exceptional life, then the whole system will have to be changed to support exceptionalisim.

    I don't think it is a fear of the individual so much as an undervaluing of them.
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      Sep 27 2011: This is getting very interesting! Thanks for stating where your educational experience comes from.
      * Education is moving kids toward the median -not to becoming exceptional.
      * Creativity has no place in the education of the middle class mind.(woohoo, we are talking ideology here, scary)
      * If we want to prepare them for an exceptional life, then the whole system will have to be changed to support exceptionalisim.
      * I don't think it is a fear of the individual so much as an undervaluing of them.
      Lots to think about, I can wait to read responses, if there individuals left out there ;-)
      • Sep 27 2011: I just want to jump in on the individualism thing. Yes, we fear the real individual. We don't really push for the exceptionally creative mind.

        I do not want "hive mind", but creativity can also blossom in groups. The creative social power has been untapped. I am not talking about social media here, but rather the synergy that can come from others. We need that.
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          Sep 27 2011: You mean THIS synergy ? :-D
          It is stimulating, I agree, but way better when it leads to action!
      • Sep 28 2011: Yes, by the way, TED serves nicely for that function. I do agree that taking that thoughtful creative process into practice is key. But then again we live in Texas, with the Texas Board of Education....medievalists all of them, well mostly.

        But even back then, creativity found a way.
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          Sep 28 2011: Howdy! At least I am not a lone rider in the lone state;-) Yes, I hear you, but who dares to call the Board archaic? Almost every year we receive a new set of standards, give the assessments a new name, and send teachers to the same old training with a new amazing name. And hopeful teachers go... again. Every year is a new start, or is it?
      • Sep 28 2011: There is a difference, and a telling one at that as pertains to this topic, you can write ten books, or one book ten times and still have ten published.

        And yes I dare call them archaic.

        Time to tear up the box, not just think outside of it.
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          Sep 28 2011: Michael, I was being sarcastic, of course it is archaic!!!
          Start from scratch, I agree.
          Where do we start?
      • Sep 29 2011: Karen
        I got the sarcasm. I am afraid the Texas Board doesn't.

        One place to start I believe is teaching about true cross-cultural communication and understanding. It should start early, like kindergarten. That would include foreign language learning at that age also.

        One can understand real creativity better, if one understands a totally different way of thinking, living and being in the world.
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          Sep 29 2011: Good ideas...
          Also against the grain (why am I not surprised?). Your position is diametrically opposed to the current race for specialization in which we are. We have been convinced that a wide base of knowledge is no longer needed since computers can store most of it, and sort it for us in a zillion ways. Instead, a small area of knowledge and expertise is favored to obtain coveted positions and climb infinite ladders.
          Cross cultural communication in school, wow, this is revolutionary. Really. Do you think anyone will care to slow down, expose the children to many cultures from the beginning, and open their eyes to the true differences that makes us one? I think it would be wonderful, tell me where is happening -I am packing...
          And you bring up languages -I assume from the beginning as well... Now we will have to make choices (remember there is a political price for that). Will they be dead or alive ;-), with green card or without, determined by national security needs or international economy trends?
          Or can we just take a break, sit around a big plate of spaghetti or Crème Brûlée and just indulge our senses with Italian or French? I vote for that! Yumm, my next debate has to be on food and language...
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    Sep 27 2011: We are humans, we are born to create creativity in our lives. Its something that comes with our human skills, to survive in this world and to make the best version of ourselves. Imagination makes you/us unique.
    Education is part of creativity. by being educated doesnt mean our sense of imagination and creavity is less, most of the cases education can improve creativity. Whoever created education THANK YOU, now we can be successful people by using our creativity and education.
    Every individual is different but we all have a brain and mind and the mind has no limitations, i dont think education is affecting our creativity,.. from where do you think all this technology come from? from someone who has been educated and also added their creativity to create amazing things like computers etc...
    also for example part of our education is to learn how to write, then the art of writing poems comes up, poetry is art and creativity and some education is need it to perform that.
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    Sep 27 2011: Currently we have certification model , where creativity is almost of zero importance..
    • Sep 27 2011: Totally agree. Until the education system is changed, there is no hope of creativity in classrooms.

      That said, there are actually creativity occurring all the times in classrooms everywhere. The fact that a student can commit a new piece of information into memory is a potential act of creativity waiting to be encouraged and nurtured. . The information may have been known for sometime, to the student, if it is new, it is a creative effort to remember, understand and explain that piece of information AND one needs to create an explanation in order to commit into long term memory.

      A side story: I can vividly remember the look on the faces of some of my students. I was heating up some water and asked the students to record the temperature of the water at equal time intervals. When the water started to boil, the temperature did not rise any further. The disbelief in their faces were mesmerizing. They have discovered a fact they did not know before. Now came the creative part when I I asked them to explain the observation.

      Of course, among all the answers, few were valid. As a teacher, my task was to help them to find good/valid answer - by testing the prediction of the "theory" with test result.

      I would argue creativity is NOT a random act and can be taught. Edison's creativity is sometime we should encourage. de Bono's creativity sounds good in theory, but must be backed up by hard testing.
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        Sep 27 2011: Creative students are mostly dropped out from our current certification system.
        Thanks Albert for sharing the side story of your individual passionate initiative as teacher, which is still there in different places that's why creativity didn't face complete death yet there.......
        • Sep 27 2011: Yes, many creative students are dropping out. That's very unfortunate both for the student and the society.
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      Sep 27 2011: Interesting... creativity could be killed by creativity itself in the hands of ego... we are getting philosophical here, let's! Why not explore this branch too?
      Ego IS the individual, the "I" in us; creativity should come from and serve the individual even if it does have a higher, common purpose... I do no see how can they be separated in everyday life. But I think maybe what you intended to say is that creativity could be killed by egotism, the interest of self above everyone else... do we dare say pride? Creativity vs. pride...
      Any thoughts?
  • Sep 27 2011: Yes, agree because creativity is a latent trait that is so hard to measure. What defines the construct of creativity? Well, even till now, there is still research work debating on whether creativity is domain specific or general and if a piece of work is being judged, it could be measuring that domain specific aspect of creativity, but what about the other aspects? Are we accurately assessing the creativity of a child if we just look at only 1 product? If not, how then do we know what are the other aspects of creativity to measure? Perhaps, if there are more evidence from research on what constitutes the construct of creativity, and what are the criteria to define creativity, it might turn out to be good to first put the idea of measuring creativity on hold first before judgements are being passed on whether a child is creative or not.
  • Sep 27 2011: The big concern over creativity in education system is if it can be really taught, it is the biggest barrier lying ahead of creativity in education system.

    Secondly, Creativity (thinking creatively) is first step; the second important step is to act creatively (innovation); only creative thinking will not pave the path for development at individual and organizational level.

    In other terms to promote development, you need to consider both of the important steps in educational systems. Convincing education system that creativity can be taught and providing students with some resources to pave their creative thinking as exampled by Mr. Mike with apples in the class.
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      Sep 27 2011: Objection.
      I believe weather creativity can be taught or not is not a concern, not an issue. Creativity can be UNLEASHED, because everyone is capable of it given the right environment and the trained guide/facilitator/teacher.
      When you attempt to "teach" creativity, you indoctrinate, you decide there is only one way (or however many you establish as correct creative ways) to approach a problem. You set limits, you cage and squash creativity.
      That creative thinking has to be followed by creative action is unavoidable. Once you unleash creativity, there is an uncontrollable, unstoppable need for action. It is natural to be inspired to apply it, and you simply cannot rest (however simple and mundane the creative experience may be) until you have translated that creative force into a result or a series of results. Hence, tiresome unending scientific research, mathematical analysis that takes years to progress, ongoing meticulous analysis of the space, etc, etc.
      • Sep 28 2011: However, with the many restrictions on what one can and cannot do in education as well as many other outside factors the resources are obsolete in order to give way to the 'unleashing' of the creativity. A few resources being competent, compassionate teachers, time, upbringing, mass media, etc.

        Sure, I took English and found I have a passion for writing poetry, but what happens when someone isn't given the options or resources to strive to find a passion? My school also had an auto mechanics class, swimming, and photojournalism class, but not all schools have the resources to let the students explore a wider range of interests in order to find where they are most creative, because not everyone can find their passion (which often breeds creativity) in the core classes.

        I'll bring up an old saying that's easy to grasp, hard to find, and even hard to keep with:

        "Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life"
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          Sep 28 2011: Sorry, I missed your comment, and it was a very good one! The way this board rearranges postings is kinda weird, new ones may appear at the bottom (maybe we can suggest improvement)
          Anyhow, yes, it is difficult to unleash creativity. Lack of adequate external resources aside, I think the mere pace of the present times makes it very difficult to find room within yourself for it to happen. While creativity manifests itself in different ways to different people, one needs to take time to be free of outside constrains to focus on the task at hand. The current motto is, "go!", and I think that we are doing away with the necessary time to process things. When we are rushed we stay on the surface and are less creative...
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    Sep 27 2011: Karina, where I live and have worked, this was most clear prior to high school rather than during high school.
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    Sep 27 2011: Hi Karina Eisner
    Wouldn't you agree with me that ALL the debates and discussions on education avoid the issues of highest priority? Why are we afraid? It seems to me that we have to start all over and plan what education should be for. What is its purpose? What do we want? What is the best-case scenario for the outcome of every student?
    Creativity won’t mean anything as an ingredient in a rotten recipe. I might as well ask what place education has in creativity. What about tinkering? I don’t mean anything trivial but rather the fundamental application of scientific and artistic creativity to the real world of boredom, complacency, and global crisis. Can we acknowledge where we are on our human path of growth, maturation, and improvement? We watch 5 hours daily of TV on average. We let billions of people starve and hurt each other while we busy ourselves with trivia. I’m sorry if I rain on anyone’s parade, but I’m convinced we need collaborative creative power, applied with empathy, just to survive the century without major extinctions. We need to go back to the drawing board (creatively.)
    We need to go back to square one and rethink everything. Debating is not the problem. The problem is that we are not debating enough. We are not digging deeply enough to explore what we want and what we can do. My guess is that most people here would agree that educational goals should not be based on industrial growth models or GDP or salary. What is the organic answer? I don’t know but don’t you think it ought to involve real research, instead of the current excuse we have for “research-based learning?” My point is that no matter what way we use creativity in our education model, we don’t yet have a model that speaks to us with a passionate heart-felt affirmation. Of course creativity should be a part of it, but the real question is: Where do we want to go now? It’s time for exponential creativity.
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      Sep 27 2011: Mark, you bring sooooo much to the table here, thanks for your input!
      Yes, I believe we are afraid, fear is a factor, and by the way it has always been the ingredient of failure.
      Yes, I think TV is an issue, but then again, isn't it one of the best tools of the educational system?
      Ehem! Real research? Do you dare question millions of dollars invested in educational research so far? Are you asking for more? Just think for a minute here -where does the money that funds that research come from? Now, do you really expect a different outcome?
      But I think inadvertently you did bring up the central element in this issue, and who knows, it could hold the answer as well:
      Isn't it possible that the problem is not "them", whoever they may be, but US?
      Isn't it possible that first we need to ask ourselves who WE are, what do we want to become, and how much are we willing to invest on it? I am not asking existential questions here, or how much $$ is it going to take. I am referring to the "we", is there a WE in the first place? If so, how strong and determined is it? How much energy and ability to discern has been left undamaged in order to tackle education from the roots? Can WE truly take responsibility for education or do WE prefer to delegate the design of our children and our future on others that already demonstrated at best inept at the task? Are we so comfortable and sheltered in our computer games, TV programs, and 8 to 5 jobs that we will not want to bother and step forward? Do we dare invest our free time, sacrifice a football game, lead a class ourselves, initiate a curriculum analysis committee in our town, network and organize ourselves until it is finished???? Are we ready to rescue the individual before we all become a mass, like those chubby balls in the movie Wall-e????
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    Sep 27 2011: An after thought: While reading your input I noticed that it would be very useful for all of us if your answer includes the country, province, or state where your experience in education comes from.
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    Sep 26 2011: Hegel once said something down the lines of "creativity is the key to progress"....From what I've observed, it seem like those who are able to go outside the norm and the ones that can really change the world, bring something different to the table.

    As valuable as creativity is, no one seems to embrace it...perhaps one does not have time or just does not care. A professor of mines once that creativity is lost or going downhill and you can see this when you listen to people talk and realize that what they said is no more different than their neighbor.

    A reformation of the educational system or a higher respect for nature would be my opinion of cultivating creativity. But this is a process that must start at a young age
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    Sep 26 2011: The emphasis on creativity varies greatly, I am coming to understand, by school or school district. My experience is with one urban district and one private school.

    One popular type of instruction now is inquiry-based instruction, in which students respond to questions that cannot be approached by an algorithm and in which there are often multiple ways to make the journey to a solution. There are opportunities for students not just to choose their own approaches but also to put forward conjectures of their own and to test them.

    Teachers work on their skills in promoting discourse rather than standing in front of classrooms and imparting knowledge through lecture. This is not to say that lecture is disappearing but rather that teachers work on guiding discourse among students and try to create a climate in which students share ideas of their own (without fear of being "wrong") rather than repeating back ideas a teacher has conveyed to them.

    From where I sit, it seems the focus in students' writing at least up through eighth grade is on creative writing and personal narrative. I am not a writing teacher, but, for example, writers workshop sort of programs seem to aim for all students to think of themselves as legitimate authors of their own narratives.

    While many students may go many years without an art class in some places, art is often a large part of projects in almost any subject until eighth grade, as far as I can see. There may not be instruction in art technique as part of this, but students work with materials to portray their ideas in a visual form- each differently.

    Just to identify my sources, I am the mother of an eighth grader and have taught years of seventh and eighth grade in public school, though I am not teaching those grade levels now.
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      Sep 27 2011: Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.
      Traditionally we tend to think of it as inherent almost exclusively to expressive fields like visual and performing arts, writing, etc., yet creativity is fundamental in science, mathematics, philosophy, soccer, business management, oil exploration, historical analysis, finances, politics, software design, space exploration, DNA experiments and nanotechnology... we can go on and on.
      To come up with something different than what we already have, we need creativity.
      It is great that such a seemingly open ended approach is taken in your area. I wonder if this is mostly at the end of high school, sort of an introduction to college, or throughout the whole journey.
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        Sep 27 2011: Creatividad, innovaciòn, invenciòn, ingenio, asombro, ....Karina este es una asigntura pendiente en la mayorìa de los sistemas educativos. En la antiguedad preclàsica de Grecia existia una instituciòn llamada "skole", de aqui deriva la palabra "escuela" y el significado original de skole es "ocio creativo" que estaba asociado al concepto de "kairos" o tiempo del no tiempo, la oportunidad creativa para no buscar la aguja en el pajar sino incendiarlo para encontrarla. Gracias por tu tema, absolutamente necesario. Felicidades
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          Sep 27 2011: No se si leiste mi comentario a James Kindler, donde mencionabe precisamente eso, la escuela socratica y el fenomeno del descubrimento, opuesto a lo que sin darnos cuenta nos hemos sumergido ahora -el indoctrinamiento.
          Interesante, la historia nos demostro claramente el error de esta modalidad (efectiva para propagar ideas, si, pero equivocada y negativa) Sin embargo, como la hierba mala, resistio debajo de la tierra y ataco de otra manera en poco tiempo: el rigor. Tanto es el contenido, que no hay tiempo de procesarlo, tantos los requerimientos, que no hay tiempo de analizar, tanto lo que esta en riesgo (el acceso a una universidad, la carrera futura, el salario ideal) que no hay tiempo a calificar el contenido. y una vez que el sujeto se enceguece en la carrera, la mitad de la "batalla indoctrinadora" esta ganada porque el sujeto ya perdio su habilidad de razonar, su capacidad creativa...
          No se, es una idea, y honestamente espero que este equivocada!
  • Sep 26 2011: I was creative in school in the 1960s and 1970s. I used humor as my outlet and was quite witty, I found it made the other children laugh which we desperately needed do have in such a serious place. I was constantly punished for it and one teacher early on even made me stand in a closet. Another made me stand with a pile of books in my hands with my arms straight out, very hard on the back. I can't count the number of detentions and paddlings I got. So squashing creativity is nothing new, I never did learn to behave and was punished throughout my school days for being funny and seeing things in a light way. All they needed to do was let the kids laugh for a minute and get on with the class, we would have all been better off having and learning about humor. I could see that this could be disruptive but we were all bored anyway.
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      Sep 27 2011: And you are not alone in that... sorry that sad memories came back, but it looks that you, the inner you that could not be squashed, came out victorious. That to me is success, regardless of how much money you make today, or how much respect you get because of that... What is amazing is that we cannot even excuse those methods by saying that there has been an evolution in education, and those were the early years. The early years were in Greece, back in 400 BC, when Socrates taught small groups of willing students outdoors, under the trees, or during walks. They discussed issues and motivated each other with challenging questions.
      Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”
      THOSE were the early years of education... is this what we call progress?
      • Sep 27 2011: Thank you for telling me that story about Socrates, that is the way it should be. I'm doing very well at my carrer no thanks to my education and the abuse that came with it. In my spare time I go to the forest and relax which is why the story rings so true. Thank you again.