support or stifling? / creativity at school

Is there support for creativity in today’s schools or is it stifled and labeled as self indulgent activity lacking in focus?

Undoubtedly, both supporting and stifling of creativity are in action in today’s schools. The elementary environments I’ve encountered recently appear to have the task of applying rules and rating systems (in an attempt to simplify classroom dynamics) to an essentially esoteric endevour; where art guidelines insist on a structure which requires (for example) ‘crayons only’ art projects.

Stifling, yes.

But from another broader perspective, isn’t the essence of creativity, to take what you are given and use it to maximum benefit for the creation of a unique product? If an instructor had the knowledge-base to relay this information, how would these art projects differ? If a teacher could show students that there are many ways to use a crayon, instead of just one, could they transfer this method of multifaceted problem solving or creating to other  projects?

Those who excel creatively see challenges from a perspective that is altered from that of the majority. Can the courage to hold or seek an ‘altered perspective’ be taught at school? Could such lessons be effective if they received no support or understanding from outside the school system (i.e. in a home setting)?

From my own experience it seems the bottom line (in school and to date) has been in developing the persistence and courage required to find and maintain my own perspective despite the naysayers. I can hardly imagine the challenges faced by the elementary student attempting to do the same.


-janet bright


originally posted  2010/01/25

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