Creativity can come in many forms: dance, drama, engineering, teaching, problem-solving, writing, cooking, personal style, or other expressions. Creativity does not simply mean any new idea– it requires a novel thought that proves to have value. Creativity is made up of ability, attitude, and process. Evaluation is an essential part of the creative process.
According to Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, the Informational Age is over and we are living in the Conceptual Age. Creativity, intuition, and empathy are essential skills for the future. Schools need to make the development of these skills central to the curriculum. Unfortunately, author and thought leader Sir Ken Robinson makes a rather persuasive case that many schools kill creativity. How do we address this issue so we fully educate students for their future, not our past?
Most people have a working understanding of critical thinking. These logical thinking and reasoning skills such as classification, comparison, listing, planning, sequencing, or patterning are crucial to develop in students. However, many times schools get stuck in building only critical thinking skillsets and neglect the equally important development of creative thinking. Both of these types of thinking are necessary to solve problems. Critically analyzing the problem then creatively generating a solution are both requirements. It is not an either/or, but a yes/and. Divergent thinking is developed by brainstorming, imagining, and elaborating, as well as metaphorical and lateral thinking.
I think most of us agree that the challenges of the future will require remarkably creative solutions. We face profound changes in society, transforming how we access and process information, how we adapt to our environment, how we communicate with others, and how we solve problems– from healthcare to urban revitalization to global warming. Preparing students who are armed with critical and creative thinking skills is paramount.
While the Arts are not the only place where creativity can occur in the curriculum, certainly providing rich experiences in the arts is one way to contribute to a well-rounded education and gives students multiple ways to show learning, brainstorm solutions, synthesize concepts, and find joy.
Schools should value the arts as core to the curriculum and provide a path toward creativity and innovation for all students. Through dance, design, art, music, and drama, students can create original pieces and showcase their burgeoning skills. Schools should strive to not kill creativity, but rather nurture it in every student, ensuring that they will be better prepared to face the challenges of the future.
For More on Creative Thinking and Education:
How to Foster More Creativity in 21st Century Education – Forbes
Why Creativity Now? A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson – Educational Leadership
Introduction to Creative Thinking – Virtual Salt