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Karina Eisner

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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?

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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?

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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: 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,

          Peter

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