Tag Archives: Edutopia

Are you a lemon or a grapefruit? – Ten articles about creativity

I am a great fan of creativity.

Imagination and creative thinking are what inspire and drive improvement, innovation and progress.

I affirm my belief in the power of creativity in my header: ‘Create the possibilities . . .’

In this post I share articles and blog posts that discuss creativity. It is not an exhaustive list, just a few to get you started. You will notice that many, but not all, are from Edutopia, a website that is ‘dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process through innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives’; and TED, an organisation of people who ‘believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.’

  1. In this article on Creativity and education Judy O’Connell says that

‘Every student is creative in some way, and the job of educators is to release and support that creative talent in an appropriate manner.’

She adds that

‘Teaching creatively and for creativity entails taking students on a creative journey where their responses are not predetermined.’

In her article Judy lists some features of teaching for creativity and includes a video of a new school in New Zealand that she suggests fits the criteria. It is quite exciting and worth a look.

  1. In this article shared on Edutopia Do Standards Kill Creativity Claus von Zastrow suggests creative ways of teaching creativity while teaching standards.

Linking of subject areas, as we used to do through ‘themes’ in the old days, or more recently ‘integrated units’, before subjects were divided and each given their own slot in the timetable, was one suggestion.  A number of varied and interesting comments accompany the article.

  1. I have previously shared this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on How schools kill creativity here and here. If you have not yet listened to it, please do. As well as sharing a very important message, Ken is a very entertaining speaker. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

4. Following on from that talk is this article by Bruce Price shared on examiner.com Ken Robinson and the Factory Method of Education. The article shares an animated talk by Ken Changing Education Paradigms.

Bruce does not agree with Ken’s views and warns readers to be sceptical of information imparted by Ken. He says that Ken’s opposition to traditional schooling is unhelpful and argues that, unlike most others referenced here, that creativity cannot be taught.

5. In this article by Deepak Kulkarni Recreational and Educational Value of Math Puzzles shared on Edutopia the suggestion is made that creative problem solving can be taught using maths puzzles.

6. A variety of Techniques for creative teaching are shared on the Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching website which states that

in order to teach creativity, one must teach creatively’.

7. In yet another article shared on Edutopia, Andrew Miller states enthusiastically Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity! Andrew provides suggestions for recognising creativity as well as teaching and assessing it.

8. Also on Edutopia, Diane Darrow talks about Creativity on the Run: 18 Apps that Support the Creative Process.

9. In this rather long TED talk on his life, authenticity vs karaoke culture Malcolm McLaren postulates that ‘we’re living in a karaoke culture, with false promises of instant success, and that messiness and failure are the key to true learning.’ He talks about his own schooling and attitude to creativity.

10. Michael Michalki shared an article on Edutopia regarding what he considers the 7 Tenets of Creative Thinking, including:

Believe you are creative

‘While creative people believe they are creative, those who don’t hold that belief are not.’

Work at it and ‘produce an incredible number of ideas — most of which (may be) bad. He says that

‘more bad poems were written by major poets than by minor poets’.

Go through the motions – ‘Every hour spent activating your mind by generating ideas increases creativity’; visualise what you want and go for it.

On his own website Creative Thinking, Michael Michalko suggests many more ideas for getting you to think creatively.

The header of Michael’s website states that “A grapefruit is a lemon that took a chance.”

lemons and grapefruit

So which are you: a lemon or a grapefruit?

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post and let me know whether you agree or disagree with the value of creativity and if it can be taught.

Thanks for reading.

But I want it now! How long can you wait? The importance of emotional intelligence

marshmallow 5

In my previous post Life: a choose your own adventure – how do you choose I discussed the difficulties we may experience in prioritising options and choices, and the need to be self-regulatory in performing tasks and achieving goals.

The discussion reminded me of the marshmallow test I had heard about from Daniel Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence”.

The marshmallow test was a study conducted in the 1960s by Walter Mischel .

As described by Daniel Goleman, In this experiment four-year-olds from the Stanford University pre-school were brought to a room and sat in a chair in front of a juicy marshmallow on a table. The experimenter then told them they could eat it now, or get two if they were willing to wait until the experimenter came back from running an errand.

You can watch a video demonstrating the experiment here:

Some children could not wait and ate the marshmallow as soon as the examiner left the room. Others toyed with the idea of waiting, but were unable to resist the temptation. Others were able to wait and scored two marshmallows when the examiner returned.

While this study revealed certain aspects of childhood behaviour, follow-up studies into the behaviour of these children when young adults and graduating from high school revealed that Those who waited, compared to those who grabbed, were more popular with their peers, had less trouble delaying gratification, and scored far higher on achievement tests.”

A further study, conducted 40 years later, as reported by Sylvia R. Karasu writing for Psychology Today, found that the ability to resist temptation is fairly stable over the lifecycle and predictive of behaviors 40 years later!

Goleman talks about the important role of parents in supporting children to develop the ability to control impulses and choose behaviour. As children learn to internalise and choose the ‘no’ imposed by others, they learn to regulate impulsive behaviour. He calls it the ‘free won’t’, the capacity to squelch an impulse.”

Karasu supports this by saying that “The researchers also suggested that a family environment where self-imposed delay” is “encouraged and modeled” may give children “a distinct advantage” to deal with frustrations throughout life.”

Goleman says that the ability to curb dangerous impulses is an aspect of emotional intelligence, “which refers to how you handle your own feelings, how well you empathize and get along with other people. (He says it) is just a key human skill.”

He continues by saying that “it also turns out that kids who are better able to manage their emotions . . .  can pay attention better, take in information better, and remember better. In other words, it helps you learn better.”

It sounds like emotional intelligence is something that all schools should be developing, don’t you think?

Goleman says that the ability to delay gratification hinges on a cognitive skill: concentrating on the good feelings that will come from achieving a goal, and so ignoring tempting distractions. That ability also lets us keep going toward that goal despite frustrations, setbacks, and obstacles.”

Without that ability it may be difficult for any of us to achieve our goals. Saving for the future, studying towards a qualification, working harder now to have time off later; none of these would be possible without the ability to delay gratification.

But can emotional intelligence be taught? And should it be taught in schools?

It seems to me that if emotional intelligence is able to predict “success” in later life, then it is important to develop it as early as possible. This can begin in the home with parents helping their children learn to delay gratification, build resilience and develop empathy.

I believe it is important to make a place for programs that develop emotional intelligence in schools. Children need opportunities to internalise emotionally intelligent responses to a variety of situations. A very structured, force-fed, content driven, test based approach where almost every action is directed and monitored leaves little room for students to develop skills of self-regulation.

Discussions of whether emotional intelligence can, or importantly should, be taught in schools can be read here and here. The theory is that children can no more “pick up” emotional intelligence than they can “pick up” maths or English. To leave it to chance seems to be denying our children the opportunity to develop skills that will help them lead happy and successful lives.

What do you think? Would you have one marshmallow now, or double it later?

1 marshmallow      marshmallow 2

Please share your ideas.

 

You can read more of Daniel Goleman’s work at Edutopia, and hear his talks and conversations at More Than Sound.

 

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