When I first saw the video of Ken Robinson talking about creativity, I sat and nodded my head in agreement. Most of the people I show it to do the same thing. But then most of us go back to business as usual.
Is our current educational system even capable of addressing an idea as nebulous as “creativity?”
Do we employ creative teachers? Creative leaders? Is it even a trait that we value when we interview prospective teachers or administrators?
Do we have students who think of themselves as being creative?
I’ve said out loud before, ‘You know – I’m just not a very ‘creative’ person.” It’s taken me a long time to realize that what I really meant to say was, “I’m not really good at drawing things.” Because when we talk about creativity, that’s the first place a lot of our minds go: the fine arts. Sometimes we extend that into writing classes, but we rarely envision students being creative in Physics or Calculus.
Fortunately for us, though, Albert Einstein didn’t view math and science as a series of chapters in a textbook. He didn’t think that doing math meant doing “1-35 odd.” He didn’t have “science time” during which he thought about the Theory of Relativity followed by “math time” when he calculated how many dimes and nickels he had if he had 13 coins and 95 cents. His most important discoveries and theories came from having time to just sit and think and play with the interactions of multiple disciplines.
And Einstein knew how to have an idea and take action to push it forward; to focus on moving from vision to reality.
I like Ken Robinson’s definition:
Creativity means having original ideas that have value.
I would also add that it’s about knowing where to go from there. It’s about ignoring — just for a moment — the impulse to tell yourself, “That’s stupid.” Of course, not every idea deserves all that attention, but for those that do we need to know what to do next.
I know, I know. We would allow kids more time to be creative if it weren’t for [standardized tests, behavior, curriculum, attendance]. I know the barriers because I live within them, too.
But given all that, how we can support teachers, leaders, and kids learning how to make their ideas happen?