Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Creativity Valued in Schools?

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseBy Amanda Rodriguez

So, Steve Jobs has no doubt impacted society in many ways. What about Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign, which promotes creativity, innovation, and that the "crazy ones" who succeed and break down barriers?

Masters in creativity and thinking outside the box ultimately are the forces behind innovation and progress, but it seems that this is really only a facade, a mirage, and emulation of our society.

Just look at our educational system and teaching methods. Do they really reflect the importance of creativity? Do they hold thinking abstractly, not logically in high regard? Why doesn't our educational embrace this perspective of thinking, and how will this affect innovation in the long term?

In my opinion, and based on my years in the educational system (I currently hold a bachelor's degree in urban planning), creativity is not valued. I say this because our educational system is based on conformity and acceptance of everything that is in textbooks and theories. There are few courses that really push out thinking beyond what is "already accepted" or known to be true.

In fact, when teachers were asked to describe the characteristics and qualities of their favorite students, the results of the study showed personality traits correlated negatively with the traits that creative students had, like being individualistic, less outgoing, more impulsive, and outspoken and emotionally charged. Teachers instead reported that they preferred conformity and basically students who did not question authority.

In reality, when teachers say they want students to develop their own consciousness and have their own voice, indirectly, they do not prefer it. This shows that creative students are not celebrated in our educational system, which cannot be fully efficient with students who go against the status quo. The idea of creativity is always encouraged, but as far as its actual manifestations, proves to be more disruptive than accepted.

So, do we really value creativity in schools? It depends on who you ask and what their motives are. If you ask some preschool kids, they want to believe that there are many colors to the rainbow, many colors to flowers, but teachers will teach according to a set of accepted facts held true. Roses are red and leaves are green. There is no gray area for discussion. Some people believe that creativity should be taught at a young age, when the child still is their own person, relatively unchanged from society.

Nurturing creativity and abstract thinking should be encouraged in schools and higher education institutions. It is the backbone of innovation and progress. If everyone thought the same way and believed the same things, we would remain stagnant at best. Instead of offering different perspectives, schools only reinforce primary beliefs, and facts established by the status quo.

Could our educational system add on another dimension to our curriculum? Yes. But we are restricted by a tight federal budget and increasingly, programs like music, art, and dance are being cut because in the eyes of administrators, they are lower prioritized and not needed. This is where students lack creativity because from the get-go, they are not exposed to another outlet to express their individual thoughts and artistic means.

The best colleges will offer creative courses and online creative degrees, which is a great supplement to our traditional educational curriculum.

Free-lance writer with a passion for Writing and Research.
Amanda Rodriguez
Creative Degrees Online

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amanda_Rodriguez
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